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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Design on the dotted line

As we have noted on this blog for many months now, one thing that government is the Portland area has way too much of are p.r. flacks. Willamette Week recently conducted a survey that showed an annual government propaganda payroll of $7 million in the area, but we think even that understates the size of the bureaucratic p.r. machine.

Another thing Portland government spends way too much money on is design. We appreciate the need for sound design and planning, but our bureaucrats take these matters to ridiculous lengths. For example, the public has spent $130 million so far designing and planning the new I-5 bridge to Vancouver, and so far we have neither a design nor a plan for the thing.

Another example is the Portland Memorial Coliseum. How many hundreds of thousands has City Hall blown in the last few years designing and planning changes and improvements to that building, with nothing to show for it? Whatever the number is, it's about to go up by another $2 million:

Portland’s city commissioners will examine Wednesday whether to steer new design and engineering funds toward renovations of the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

The $2 million in urban renewal funds would help the Portland Development Commission determine design and engineering needs at "high confidence" levels.

What folly. With the Rose Garden right next door, there's not too much use for the Coliseum, except as the home of the junior league hockey team. For that purpose, the building could use a new heating and air conditioning system and an exterior paint job. Beyond that, all other talk is nothing but hot air in this economy. But the design and planning juggernaut rolls on. No wonder the city's going broke.

Comments (11)

Can we assume not many WW staffers will be scouting for Flack positions in the near future?

You've hit on what constitutes the real power of this cabal, misinformation management, and they are simply building up their army so as to make it easier to bury any detractors in managed "P.R."

What happened to that idea of a private group turning it into a sound stage?

But, but, but...

This is "job creation".

Why are we complaining? Just because it is all happening using our tax dollars and these people are doing no real constructive work, and are just fancy word-spewing BS artists...

Oh never mind.

But they just cant get the facts out...


Oh, and you forgot the "design premium" on the tram. At least double the cost, if not triple +

I respectfully disagree. It's natural to be skeptical of the Coliseum process given all the inactivity and red tape of the past two years, but saving it from the wrecking ball is both economically and culturally the right thing to do.

Memorial Coliseum drew as many events as the Rose Quarter last year. The one-two punch of dual arenas has helped attract major events (bringing economic investment) like the Dew Tour.

Memorial Coliseum is also a veterans' memorial, not just the plaques outside but the whole building. Hence support from Oregon veterans groups and former governor Victor Atieh.

I know modern architecture isn't everyone's cup of tea, but the Coliseum is also the only arena in the world with a 360-degree glass view. Poet Allen Ginsberg called it "The New World Auditorium" in a poem about seeing The Beatles there.

Look Jack and everybody, I'm trying to write this comment with respect for your points of view. We don't want to waste city funds, especially at a time like this.

However, I urge you to reconsider the notion that the Coliseum should be bulldozed. In honor of my grandfather who landed at Normandy, and my beloved Blazers who won a title there, and with economics substantially in mind, I say we need a scalpel here and not a sledgehammer.


---Brian Libby


I don't really see this thread as advocating for bulldozing the Coliseum. We all just want to stop the unlimited spending on plans, planners, design, designers, et al

PR is a too-broad term for the kind of analysis it has gotten here. WW's list is misleading, and its editors were smart enough to include a paragraph that explained that it was, but just a paragraph.
Portland Public Schools, for instance, needs a press agent to explain the board issues to a stream of new-in-town TV reporters. It can use another one to push favorable stories, preferably someone who knows the school system. and I recognize a listed name as someone who does. The higher paid people on that list may well be -- and at least one I am sure is -- in that job in part to represent a particular community or problem. That level calls for skills that go far beyond writing a press release or blog item. With more than 50 people earning $100,000 a year and up, the entire district has too many high-pay people, I think. and should lean out the number at that level. But there is, or at least should be, a big difference between routine press relations and community relations and winning friends and support the schools need to have even a shot at success.

Don't worry, they're bringing in Big Blue to do the planning now: http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/08/10/0549213/IBM-Plays-SimCity-With-Portland-Oregon

This information needs to be made public in a big way.

It will also probably tank the local real estate market, which is why it will probably get very little exposure.

Hey! It just hit me... the sheeple of Portland... all the suspicious behavior control crapola... they're building... Landru!

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