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Jack Bog's Blog, by Jack Bogdanski of Portland, Oregon

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October 2012 Archives

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Voice your choice

This trick-or-treater got a lot of attention on our annual rounds this evening. You were supposed to drop the candy into the slot above the name of your favored candidate. Given that he was in inner northeast Portland, we suspect that tomorrow he will need a visit to a chiropractor to correct an imbalance in his shoulders. Nonetheless, a great costume:

Spirits in the night

17th and Beech, Portland.

Election porn, Clackistani-style

Speaking of the southern rebels, they do have a way with campaign literature:

Drunk Timbers killer, fugitive to plead

Whatever sentence she and her partners in crime get on Monday, it won't be enough for some of us.

"I'm not going to leave"

Willy Week has a most interesting profile today of the guy who's bankrolling the Clackistani rebels. Surprisingly, he's all about land use laws and lumber, saying he "couldn’t care less about the fate of light rail in Milwaukie or anywhere else." But fortunately for him, Tri-Met has the county up in arms.

Happy Halloween!

Buehler throws some mud back -- but not much

We wondered aloud yesterday why Knute Buehler, the Republican candidate for Oregon secretary of state, wasn't being more aggressive in criticizing his opponent, incumbent Democrat Kate Brown, over her spotty performance record. We got a blog comment, and a note later in the day, from Joel Thomas, Buehler's campaign manager, in which he pointed to this video; it does contain some pointed criticisms of Brown.

It's an interesting clip to watch on YouTube, but on last night's late news, there was another kind, gentle Buehler ad and another Brown attack ad. If there's a negative message being generated about Brown, it's arriving late and not too loudly.

Thomas was upbeat in his e-mail. He notes that there are still many undecided voters, and he thinks Buehler can get a good majority of them. He's got our vote, and he has a decent shot for a rookie, but the machine has rolled out big money to keep Brown in place. Heaven forbid that a Republican -- or anyone else who might question government employee pensions -- should ever hold statewide office, ever again.

Proud Mary keep on burnin'

We got some election porn yesterday from the Mary Nolan camp. It was an odd size -- folded out in three parts to 9-by-24 -- and so it's tough to scan. But here's the general idea:

It's funny that Nolan says there's "one clear choice," but then quotes Willy Week, which jumped ship and endorsed her opponent, Amanda Fritz, in the runoff election.

But we gotta hand it to Nolan -- she's got a card that no one has else has played. Yes, I'm talking about the 2 of Obamas:

Overall, it looks kind of Wiener-esque, but it's tired Wiener-esque. For all the money Nolan got to burn from her buds in the Goldschmidt Party, she's put on a pretty tepid campaign.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Clackistan crazy never stops

Here's a 62-year-old woman being banned from Damascus City Hall for saying "Off with your heads" to the city council at a meeting. Meanwhile, the water district childishness descends to a new level. Things are wacky in that part of the world. We'd say it's due to the full moon, but it seems to go on all month long.

Jersey Shore is flat on its back

God help the people along the coastline of the Garden State. Just one example: Here is Lyman Street in Mantoloking as of the other day. Here it is today.

There are no words

But there are pictures.

A very good grade

A 3.5 is a B-plus -- and it's also the point spread for many of the pro football games this weekend. Players in our charity underdog game have these options:

11 ARIZONA at Green Bay
10 BUFFALO at Houston
9.5 KANSAS CITY at San Diego (Thursday, pick due at 5:20 p.m. Pacific)
5 MINNESOTA at Seattle
4 DALLAS at Atlanta
3.5 PHILADELPHIA at New Orleans (Monday)
3.5 PITTSBURGH at New York Giants
3.5 CAROLINA at Washington
3.5 JACKSONVILLE vs. Detroit
3.5 TENNESSEE vs. Chicago
3.5 CINCINNATI vs. Denver
3.5 CLEVELAND vs. Baltimore
1 TAMPA BAY at Oakland

Lots of home 'dogs on the lower floors of the kennel. To win the points listed, a player needs to choose an underdog that can win its game outright. Good luck, 'dognosticators!

Pepper spray in SE Portland

Just when we needed a pick-me-up, there's that Rose City spirit.

Who needs small businesses when we can have more bike toys?

The Portland "planners" are at it again. The theme park needs new rides.

Char-Lie wins

There's no sense waiting until next week to start getting used to it: Portland's new mayor is Char-Lie Hales.

In some ways, it's really satisfying that the voters are putting an end to Jeffer-Slam Smith and his parents' delusions of grandeur. They probably think he'll be back, and now that they've crowned Hales, Smith's longtime pals at Willy Week, who invented him, will try to reinvent him. But that possibility is as dubious as Smith's hairline. He'll be a middle-aged guy next time around -- one who's never had a real job. And given all that he's put himself through over the past few months, one wonders what he's going to do for a living in the meantime. Maybe a D.C. think tank will call. But the sooner he's off the Portland scene, the better for everyone.

The city has dodged a bullet. But any sense of order produced by the Smith implosion is more than offset by dread of the Hales administration. Portland's biggest problem these days is that its basic government services have been crippled by runaway bureaucracy, unfunded pensions, and City Hall subsidization of bad real estate development. Hales was an eager participant on all three fronts during the reign of Mother Vera, and despite whatever platitudes he's mouthing during the campaign, he is going to continue all of those unfavorable trends, with gusto in fact.

Perhaps the most depressing aspect of the election was how the frontrunner, Eileen Brady, was thrown under the bus over the definition of the word "founder" and a comment she once made in a moment of anger to a police officer. Because of that, and Brady's utterly inept campaign, we got to choose between Nutsy and Char-Lie -- two fellows whose characters were far less respectable. Smith's severe personality problems caused a spectacular downfall, and Hales was given a free pass on his lying about his residency when he lived in Washington State. He either lied for tax purposes or lied for voting purposes; either one is a felony if done willfully.

So the Sam Rands get replaced by Hales and Novick. And the sad story continues.

New York City turns to cargo bikes in disaster response

No, of course it doesn't. We're kidding.

Something borrowed, something green

Here's an interesting story from Willy Week: The campaign to start a library taxing district in Multnomah County just borrowed $300,000 from a wealthy donor to add to the more than $1 million it has already spent. The election on the ballot measure establishing the district is well under way; many people have already voted, and it will all be over a week from tonight.

Last-minute loans to political campaigns always puzzle us. If the backers of the library district can't raise money in the heat of the election battle, are they really going to be do it when the race is over and the results are known? Will this $300,000 really be paid back, with 3.5% interest? Like most people, we stop paying attention to campaign finance the day after the election. Maybe we should keep watching this time to see how things really work. Readers with experience along these lines, please help us out.

Is Knute Buehler being too nice a guy?

The O is reporting that Kate Brown is 15 points ahead of Knute Buehler in the race for Oregon secretary of state. That's somewhat surprising, in that Buehler, though a rookie politician, has made a decent splash throughout the state, impressing newspaper boards enough to garner the majority of their endorsements.

Brown's campaign money has hit the airwaves and snail mailboxes this week, and her messages include some negative words about Buehler. He's a "gamble," they say, because, well, he's a Republican. How can anyone be a Republican? That simply is not tolerated in Oregon these days.

There's still a large undecided vote out there in the race, but we suspect most of those voters are going to leave this one blank or not vote at all.

We've been surprised that we haven't heard a negative word out of the Buehler camp about Brown's performance. It's not that there's no material there to work with. She screwed up the scheduling of the labor commissioner election, her bungling let scofflaws in the Portland school district walk away penalty-free from violations of the state elections law, and she's brought in an elections chief who dragged a lot of baggage with him from his last gig. Buehler's taken the high road, as far as we can tell, but he's up against quite a machine, and the high road does not appear to be headed toward a victory.

There's also the goatee and the open collar. Don't laugh, it matters.

Oyster Creek pops up on mainstream media radar screen

They're having an "alert" at the nation's oldest nuclear power plant, we're told -- yeah, no kidding:

The alert -- the second lowest of four NRC action levels -- came after water levels at the plant rose by more than 6.5 feet (2 meters), potentially affecting the pumps that circulate water through the plant, an NRC spokesman said late on Monday... a further rise to 7 feet could submerge the service water pump motor that is used to cool the water in the spent fuel pool....

Although such alerts are considered serious events in the industry -- with only about a dozen such instances in the past four years, according to NRC press releases -- flood waters should be receding at the plant following high tide, reducing the risk of emergency action....

The NRC spokesman said the company could use water from a fire suppression system to cool the pool if necessary. The used uranium rods in the pool could cause the water to boil within 25 hours without additional coolant; in an extreme scenario the rods could overheat, risking the eventual release of radiation.

Exelon spokesman David Tillman said the plant has "multiple and redundant" sources of cooling for the spent fuel pool. He said he did not know whether the service water system was operational at the moment.

Nothing to worry about. Nothing at all.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Bird 'dogs come up empty

Nothing says classic football like a night game indoors on a weeknight in Arizona. And the Cardinals descended to the occasion this evening, failing to produce for the three players who chose them in our charity pro football underdog game. Thus, the standings remain where they were last night, only without the asterisks. Lines for Week 9, the zenith of the regular season, will be posted tomorrow.

New York's Katrina

The Big Apple won't be recovering from Hurricane Sandy for a long time. Here's the Hoboken PATH (underground train) station earlier this evening:

How it's done

Here's the Twitter feed by the mayor of Newark, N.J., in the thick of a once-in-a-lifetime disaster. The guy's doing it all. It would be pointless to compare this to the narcissistic clowns running Portland. Utterly pointless.

Bad news from our old stomping ground

Downtown Jersey City, N.J., where we went to high school and where one of our business associates lives, is currently in a state described as "a full-fledged disaster." Those folks deserve better. Our thoughts, prayers, and hopes are with them.

Hales ahead by 20 points

Smith can't win. Write in Lavonne Griffin-Valade for mayor. Don't give Char-Lie a mandate.

Eight more days

Elections sure do bring out the silly in some people. Oregon secretary of state Kate Brown picks today to release a hard-hitting audit:

A Secretary of State investigation of Mt. Hood Community College’s (MHCC) wilderness leadership program inventory identified missing equipment and questionable reimbursements. MHCC had already initiated an internal investigation, but asked the Secretary of State’s Audits Division for assistance.

Using MHCC purchase records, auditors identified about $13,000 in equipment that was missing from campus. Among those missing purchases, about $1,500 appeared to match personal gear requested by students. However, the college did not receive reimbursement for personal gear purchases even though emails indicated some students may have directly reimbursed instructors.

Auditors also noted instances of travel and purchase reimbursements that were in excess of the per diem rate, appeared contrary to policies, lacked sufficient detail, gave personal rewards benefits that may violate state policies, and paid instructors for purchases paid by a MHCC credit card. Secretary Brown has also submitted the report to the Oregon Government Ethics Commission for possible ethics violations.

Amazing how this all timed out. By Friday she'll be counting the M&M's in the bowl at the reception desk at the State Archives Building. Somebody's been eating all the green ones!

From Matt Wuerker

Copyright 2012 by Matt Wuerker. Used by permission.

Hot and heavy

The mailman's bringing in the election porn left and right now:

That'd be no and no, Bob.

Sad to see how far the City Club has sunk. This town needs a good government league that can think critically. If the City Club ever was such a body, it doesn't seem to be any more. It's become mostly a choir for the Network preachers.

Portland cop brutality reform: "This time we really mean it"

They waited until Friday afternoon to get up and announce the new agreement between the Portland police and federal authorities on police brutality, and that makes us awfully leery of it. That's the time of the week when they break the news they don't want you to pay any attention to. Maybe the PoPo is hoping that nobody will read the contract, so that nobody will be able to hold them to the promises they're making.

On the surface, the deal sounds mildly intriguing, but we've heard the reform line so many times before -- only to be followed by more senseless police killing without consequences -- that it's hard to be optimistic. Anyway, Willy Week gives a first summary here. Some items that catch our eye right away:

Officers must also only use one Taser at a time, and must attempt to handcuff suspects after each 5-second discharge of the weapon...

The Portland Police Bureau will also create a Crisis Intervention Team of specially trained officers who will respond to all calls suspected to involve mental illness. The agreement will also expand the police Mobile Crisis Unit — a vehicle pairing one officer and a private social worker—to a 24 hour program.

A 15-member Community Oversight Advisory Board will also be created. The city auditor’s office will also hire three new investigators, including at least one with a background in mental health, City Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade says.

The cost is expected to be $5.8 million in the first year, and includes 26 new staff members in the PPB and six new staff members elsewhere in the city.

We'll see, but we doubt that throwing money and bodies at the problem is going to help it much. Even when the current brass is in the mood to fire an officer for unjustified killing, he eventually gets reinstated with lengthy back pay. And unless it's recorded by a robot,many Portland police officers seem perfectly willing to lie about what they actually do with a Taser.

New investigators in the city auditor's office seem darned interesting, but you can bet the union will be filing a grievance on that one before long. This town needs to be a lot tougher at the bargaining table, but given the stranglehold the government employee unions have on the place, that's not going to happen in our lifetimes.

God rest the soul of James Chasse, who died more than six years ago now. His killer is still at large.

"Urban renewal" ship now has no rudder whatsoever

"Urban renewal" is supposed to combat "blight" by using "tax excrement increment" borrowing to stimulate private investment and increase the property tax base. In Portland, the concept of "blight" has become a sick joke -- it's wherever the Edlens and Dames want to slap up apartments and hotels -- and lately the goal of increasing the tax base has also been thrown aside.

In the failed SoWhat District, "urban renewal" paid for buildings and an aerial tram [rim shot] for OHSU, which wasn't paying property taxes the last time we looked. Now we learn that millions are going to Multnomah County for a new health department building in Old Town. And that hokey "urban renewal" district that includes the Portland State patronage center and Lincoln High School? There's a new county personnel department palace in the works in that one.

We're still not over the crazy deal that was cooked up four and a half years ago, in which the city issued "urban renewal" bonds and handed millions over to the county, supposedly to move the Hawthorne Bridge ramp for a new courthouse. That was a bogus premise for the transfer of the money, as no such project was ever seriously undertaken. Somebody at the IRS ought to take a hard look at that one. The state should, too, but don't expect the Network members in Salem to lift a finger to stop corruption.

So now we have city property taxes being diverted to pay for new buildings for the medical school and the county -- and in the case of the Hawthorne Bridge ramp, as a flat-out grant to the county, which did nothing with the money. That's "urban renewal," Portland-style: nothing but abuse.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Watch the nukes in Sandy's path

They're called Oyster Creek, Salem, and Peach Bottom. Let's hope this is the only place you read their names in the week ahead.

Oyster Creek: One GE boiling water reactor, the oldest reactor still operating in the United States. Mark I -- the same model as in Fukushima. Just off Barnegat Bay on Forked River.

Salem: Two Westinghouse pressurized water reactors. On Delaware Bay.

Peach Bottom: Two boiling water reactors, both GE Mark I. On the Susquehanna River at the border of Pennsylvania and Maryland.

If we had to pick one to worry about, we'd go with Oyster Creek. Really old, really vulnerable. Cousin Jim lives in the shadow of the thing. God help him and his, and the whole northeastern United States.

UPDATE, 10/29, 2:21 a.m.: It's eerie, but at this hour the eye of that storm is headed straight toward the Salem plant, and then straight over Peach Bottom. A double hit by the winds! But Oyster Creek is probably going to get more flooding.

Your tax dollars at work

A reader sends along these photos from Friday morning on Grand Avenue in Portland. Seems that there was a fire truck on the streetcar tracks, which means that the streetcar comes to a screeching halt. Had it been a bus, there would have been a slight delay as the driver changed lanes or pursued a detour. But buses don't sell apartments, and so everybody gets to sit:


It's funny that there's already signage built into the streetcar computer for this eventuality. Of course, the motorists who need to get the message are behind the streetcar, not in front of it. But hey -- it's cool anyway. Go by streetcar! When it isn't blocked.

Soaking the hip

It's been raining cats and dogs in Portlandia all afternoon. Anything not protected with sturdy rain gear will be soaked in literally a minute or two. It's got us thinking: When the government planning army brags about the percentage of trips taken on bicycles, do the statistics from a day like this count?

One look out the window confirms how ludicrous the "car-free lifestyle" is. Given that it's Sunday, meaning that Tri-Met bus lines are running scarcely if at all, the "car-free" options today are staying in one's house or risking drowning.

Sunday morning, walkin' the 'dogs

It's that time again -- time to reveal our players' picks in this week's segment of the charity pro football underdog pool. Lots of our players are throwing in with the 'Skins and the Saints:

13 JACKSONVILLE at Green Bay - Gary, Coastal Storm, MickeyMacNYC
7.5 CAROLINA at Chicago - Bob, Rudie
7 ST. LOUIS vs. New England - Pdxmick, Paul, Eric W.
6.5 TAMPA BAY at Minnesota (Thursday, winner) - Broadway Joe
6.5 ARIZONA vs. San Francisco (Monday) - Pete Rozelle, Ted, Dr. D
6 NEW ORLEANS at Denver - PDXileinOmaha, Bayou Baby, Jeremy, Biggest Cubs Loser, Juicen, Cinderella Story, Grizfan, John Cr., John Ch., Tung
5 WASHINGTON at Pittsburgh - Lucas, Michael K., Carol, NoPoGuy, JMH, Ricardo, Will, Gordon, Usual Kevin, DB Cooper, Annie, Bad Brad, genop, Drewbob
3 CLEVELAND vs. San Diego - Tinknocker
2.5 SEATTLE at Detroit - Sola, Dave A., Pete Rose, genop's gal

Please note: As usual, these are the picks as of earlier this morning, several hours before the deadline. (This post is being triggered by a robot.) If additional picks have come in (or changes have been made) after this post was written but before the deadline, they will be added to this post as soon as we can get to it later today.

Good luck, players. Enjoy the games and the rest of the day.

UPDATE, 12:25 p.m.: This morning's picks by genop, genop's gal, Eric W., Drewbob, and MickeyMac added.

UPDATE, 1:15 p.m.: No winners in the early games. Indy prevails, but none of our players went there.

UPDATE, 2:41 p.m.: Correction! Cleveland provided some rare cleavage in its game with San Diego. Three points for Tinknocker.

UPDATE, 8:50 p.m.: The Saints ain't even close, leaving just two players scoring so far this weekend. The standings, with three contestants (marked by asterisks) picking tomorrow night's game, are:

Continue reading "Sunday morning, walkin' the 'dogs" »

OSU, USC losses don't help Ducks

The Beavers crashed on the gridiron in Seattle last night, blemishing an unbeaten season up to that point. We doubted that they were truly top 10 caliber, and they won't reach that lofty height again this year. Meanwhile, USC also lost, which is doubly delightful. It's always good when the Trojans go down, and now when they lose to the Ducks it won't be such a big feather in the Ducks' cap.

With no top 10 opponent left on its schedule, UC Nike seems a less likely candidate for the national title game. In other news, Stanford beat Washington State, but not convincingly, further muddying the reputation of the Pac 12 conference. Both Oregon teams have Stanford, and each other, still to play.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Big quake off B.C. coast

About an hour ago, a 7.7. Followed by a 5.8 and 4.8 a few minutes ago. They are talking tsunami, but apparently not this far south. Let's hope for the best.

UPDATE, 9:28 p.m.: Here's a tsunami arrival time map, but otherwise, the NOAA tsunami site seems to be down. Probably overwhelmed.

UPDATE, 9:33 p.m.: Here's a message that seems to indicate that barring another big shaker, everything will be o.k. in the lower 48 and Hawaii.

On or off

A reader who lives not too far from us has more patience than we do with people who appear on his doorstep unannounced. He reports this encounter this afternoon:

A bright 30-something young man, fashionably stubbled, just knocked on my inner NE Portland door asking if I would like to vote for Charlie Hales for mayor. I seized the opportunity and asked him pointedly which was the fraud, the false voter registration or the false filing of the non-resident Oregon income tax.

His answer was that it was a really gray area and it wouldn't have been a problem if Hales hadn't decided after the fact to run for office again. My response -- "Huh?" You can only have one domicile, I told him. He said, "Well, it wasn't illegal, but I admit it was unethical."

No, it was fraud. He kept referring to gray areas, so I flipped the switch and asked him if my porch light was on or off. He looked, saw, but decided he didn't want to answer.

I told him that it made me very sad and discouraged to see a bright young guy like him who had ignored truth in order to support someone that he believed in for other reasons. We talked longer, but it's all too depressing to recount.

Of course, Hales will win overwhelmingly. Damn.

It's a painful time for Portland, that's for sure. People are realizing that the next four years at City Hall may be worse than the last four, if that's possible.

Portland neo-con

We haven't heard of any sightings of the Welches con man lately, but it appears he may have a cousin. A reader writes:

Out at Johnson Creek Fred Meyer today, a nice-seeming but slightly needy-looking guy approached me with a broken fan belt in his hand. Very good story about the broken fan belt: new one at auto store (he's checked he says) is only $14, and he has $10, so only needs $4 (or similar amount of money). Trouble is, I recognized him. Last time, he was working the Home Depot parking lot across the street with the same story. Has anybody else seen this guy and heard his story? Next time I'll go for a pic.

Just, just, justa, justa to have you here by me

Coolest. Birthday party. Ever.

London calling

We were working on our pro football prognostication yesterday, brooding about whether St. Louis was a bet-worthy home underdog, when we realized that they are the home team in name only. Their game against the Patriots tomorrow will be played in England! And so the Rams are a young squad on a wild road trip, playing some old pros who have been there before. Doesn't sound like a recipe for a big upset.

Zoo membership changes rankle regulars

The nickel-and-diming of Portland's residents under the Sam Rand City Council takes another victim, with the announcement by the Oregon Zoo that its members will now have to feed city parking meters that are going in in the facility's parking lot. The bad news is broken to the zoo faithful here.

Another change that has some members upset is a new limit on the number of children that can be included in a family membership. It's unclear from the zoo website what the new number is, but a reader with five kids says his membership days will end when his current card expires.

The worst part? Metro not only urinates on your shoes, but also tells you that it's raining:

The changes are based, in part, on direct feedback provided by members through an online survey that we conducted in June 2012. We combined the results from nearly 10,000 responses with a look inward on how we could streamline and improve the Oregon Zoo membership program as we moved forward.

We think this new structure will make it easier to understand the membership categories and benefits associated with each level, and let members to take advantage of the benefits they said that they value the most.

It's sort of like Tri-Met bus fares: "You pay more, and you like it, because it's simpler that way. Jim Middaugh took a survey, and you asked for this." And so goes another little slice out of Portlandia's rapidly shrinking livability pie.

How thoughtful of them

We always wait to turn in our ballot until nearly the last minute, just to see what kind of election porn the mailman brings. We got three glossy 8½-by-11 cards yesterday. First up, the library tax proponents want to cash in on any warm and fuzzy feelings people may be having toward the schools:

Still no adult males anywhere to be seen, of course.

Then something called Defend Oregon tells us how to vote on the ballot measures -- this one looks quite Wiener-esque:

Then Our Oregon (which we guess is the unions) weighs in on the candidates:

It's also got the statewide ballot measures, on the other side, in complete lockstep with Defend Oregon's recommendations.

We've already made our calls, here and here, but if we get something really ugly from some candidate or group, it could still cause a backlash. The ballots aren't due for another week and change.

OMG! Spread salt on icy roads?

The State of Oregon is going to test it out for five years on stretches of I-5 and U.S. 95 way down near the Cali and Nevada borders. Don't know what the test is supposed to show. We're pretty sure that the chemistry is going to work.

Hey, just thinking out loud here -- but does fluoride melt ice?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Get on up

We got the news this week from the Skanner that Portland vocalist Linda Hornbuckle is not well. We'll never forget the first time we heard her voice. She was playing with Mark Bosnian in a new soul cover band called Salmon Dave, 25 or 30 years ago. An outdoor show at the Shemanski Fountain, it was. Hornbuckle sang the first couple of lines of the first song, and you knew. You just knew.

They're having a benefit for her on Sunday the 11th, two shows, at Jimmy Mak's. It seems like showing up would be a good way to say thanks to somebody's who's given a lot, and we hope can give plenty more.

Have a great weekend

Weird isn't working

In Austin, where it started, weird is gradually disappearing. But at least they're adding jobs, unlike you-know-where.

Unions have been dropping dough into Nutsy's PAC

His run for mayor of Portland has melted down, but community organizer Jeffer-Slam Smith still has his tangled web of "Bus Project" organizations to fall back on. And they've still got some dough to spend. Here are some interesting entries in the financial books of the Bus PAC. It picked up several nice donations since midsummer from local unions: $25,000 from Oregon AFSCME Council 75; $10,000 from the Oregon Education Association; and $5,000 from the Oregon Nurses Association. As usual, the PAC funnels thousands of dollars to the related New Progressive Network, a tax-exempt section 501(c)(4) organization that operates under the assumed business names Bus Project and Oregon Bus Project.

There's also a related nonprofit organization that classifies itself as a section 501(c)(3) entity -- a tax-exempt charity for federal income tax purposes. Its real name is Oregon Progress Forum, and it operates under the assumed business name Bus Project Foundation. They're all run out of the same office, which also happens to be Smith's campaign office and his legislative office. But they all keep meticulous records so that there are no violations of any laws. Especially Smith -- a real detail guy. Uh huh.

Reservoir dogs willing to get wet on Sunday

It's worth it to flip the Admiral the collective bird.

"You fill it out, honey, and I'll sign it"

Remember former Oregon secretary of state Phil Keisling? He's on an ever-growing list of folks who thought that office would be their ticket to political stardom. Anyway, he's now working in the political patronage graveyard known as Portland State University. In his spare time, he's been preaching to the rest of the country how wonderful Oregon's voting system is, where everybody votes by snail mail or hand delivery of ballots sent to voters' listed residences. It increases turnout, he brags, and there's no evidence of widespread fraud.

There's never any evidence of anything unless you look for it, bub.

The biggest problem with vote-by-mail is the opportunity it creates to assign one's vote to someone else. In many, many households around the state, and probably some nursing homes as well, the person who is signing the return envelope is not the person who darkened the circles on the ballot. Somebody else fills it out -- a spouse, a roommate, someone "who follows this stuff" -- and the voter simply signs it, often without even looking at it. One person may vote a handful of times, or more. It's illegal -- we think -- but no one's watching. As famed Judge Richard Posner once remarked, it's the difference between a proctored exam and a take-home exam.

That kind of abuse was not anywhere near prevalent in the days of voting booths. Now, we'll bet it infects at least one out of 10 votes cast in Oregon.

About the only silver lining we can see to the post office slowly going out of business is that at some point it will force Oregon to come up with an alternative to vote-by-mail. Many people love it, but it's like smoking. At some point you need to get out of denial and quit.

Prepare to bookmark

There's a Republican city council member out in Nehalem, Oregon named Jim Welsh. He's currently running for the state house, and he's got a blog going that we just noticed. And lo and behold, Mr. Welsh pulls no punches!

Here's a hysterical shot that he takes at right-wing charm school dropout Rob Kremer and state GOP chair Allen Alley. Welsh is more than a little miffed that they're snubbing him. An intra-party internet slap fight among Republicans -- can anything be more entertaining to watch?

Well actually there is one more beneficiary of Allen and Rob’s "spreading the wealth". Payments totaling $10,000 to Rob’s wife for "management" services. Whatever happened to the idea of making sure that even the appearance of impropriety was to be avoided?

So there you have it. The sum total of contributions by the OTP in this election cycle. A half a million dollars paid out by Alley and Kremer to a handful of Republican candidates and some non-partisan candidates and causes. I think you get the picture. As to the rest of you folks who stepped up and filed for the Legislature, you’re on your own. Don’t you think that maybe, just maybe, these two people could have let go of just a few of these dollars to give each of you filers a little seed money for your campaign?

Apparently, if you are not over there in the Kremer’s neighborhood, you don’t even exist. You live in Baker or Klamath or Tillamook or Curry counties? Fahgettaboutit.

This whole system is rotten to the core.

And here's a great one -- on the soul-sucking Oregon Lottery machine, and the proliferation of government public relations flacks. First-rate stuff:

I put in a call to the Oregon State Lottery Public Information Officer to find out how much this little gem has cost us. I was put in touch with a lady named Marlene. I asked her about the cost of the mailer. She didn’t know but said that it was a budgeted item. Can I make a cost saving suggestion to the people who run the Oregon State Lottery? Next year, when you are making up your budget, make sure that whoever came up with this wasteful and stupid waste of money not be involved in the budget process. But until then some comments.

I think I can safely say that the vast majority of City Councilors and other officials across the entire state would never have missed this puffed up piece of back-patting if it had never been mailed. And it couldn’t have been cheap. And what really sticks in my craw is that it was extolling the wonderful things that the Oregon Lottery does for education, counties, and the Oregon Watershed Board (OWEB). Well you know what, why didn't these Lottery officials just take the money spent on this ridiculous mailer and add that back to the funds sent to our schools and counties? I didn’t need this information. Its already out there on the internet if anyone wants it. Why didn’t they just send it out to our email addresses? A total waste of money.

No, like Rep. Boone, these ensconced government folks just can't stay away from spending government money to tell you all what a great job they are doing. Oh, yes, Mr. Niswender even tells us that we can schedule a Lottery speaker (I assume on paid Oregon State Lottery time) for our next city council meeting. I can just see the reaction, "Nehalem City Council promotes Gambling". These people are clueless, absolutely clueless.

Bloggers come and bloggers go, but as long as Welsh is writing like that, we'll be reading.

Good money after bad -- it's the Portland way

The Portland "planning" mafia -- they mostly "plan" cushy retirements for themselves and their developer and construction industry puppeteers -- are determined that inner northeast Portland is going to become pedestrian-friendly. They've now built an infernal streetcar that runs around, extremely infrequently and usually with a half-dozen passengers or fewer, on Broadway and Weidler west of Seventh, on MLK, and on Grand.

Those stretches have never exactly been nice to walk on, and they still aren't. There are too many cars and trucks going too fast. But the Bluemauerites just won't give up. They will pour hundreds of millions into that hole -- trying to make them a "Main Street" fit for strolling or skateboarding or cartwheeling or whatever-so-long-as-it's-not-in-a-car. The folks who own the property along the route have dollar signs in their eyes, but it's an illusion, at least any time soon. By the time there's money to condo-ize most of those blocks, the streetcars will be worn out and need replacement.

The next avenue to get the treatment is Multnomah Street in the nearby Lloyd District. The transportation "planners" are determined that people are going to mostly walk and bike on that thoroughfare, which is currently dominated by cars. The developer overlords are preparing to slap up giant cr-apartment towers, just like in the failed SoWhat District, and it will supposedly be another wonderland of urban livability -- if only the taxpayers blow seven or eight figures converting Multnomah into a multi-modal theme park. The spending and the ripping up have begun.

Meanwhile, our schools rot, the local private sector economy is on life support, and a legion of the mentally ill roams the streets. We were out jogging the other night, passing through Seventh and Weidler, and there was some old creepy guy standing on the corner wearing nothing but a raincoat and looking for all the world like he was about to kill somebody. If the city would do something about him, maybe the Lloyd District would be a place that someone would actually want to go, even without the bike treatment.

What's really insane

We got another e-mail alert yesterday in which the Portland police department detailed for us once again how much mental illness its officers are dealing with on a daily basis on the streets of our city. This is the third of these we've received over the last month or so, and it is pretty disturbing. The whole thing is set out at the end of this post.

We've been thinking about the matter some, and it seems to us that there's an irony here. Mental health services in Portland are the responsibility of the county. And over the years, the county's share of our property tax dollar has been shrinking -- this year it's at a seven-year low percentage. Meanwhile, the amount of taxes going to pay police and firefighters pensions keeps growing like topsy -- the dollar amount went up 8.74% this year compared to last.

We don't think that the police should be the area's mental health professionals, but there are reasons why that has become the reality. And the cops' pensions are one factor contributing to the problem. Maybe the bureau should "cc" the police and fire unions on these heartbreaking e-mail messages.

Anyway, here's the latest litany of lunacy from the police bureau. We're not sure how many more of these we'll reprint in full. The message is clear enough:

Continue reading "What's really insane" »

You can't say that

The PC wars are eternal. This week the spotlight turned onto the University of North Carolina policy (actually a few years old) not to refer to first-year students as "freshmen" because that term is not "gender inclusive."

It's noteworthy but not surprising. We remember years ago our being chastised for suggesting that a group of people "man the phones" to accept calls. You can't use "man" when referring to people generally, we were told. We couldn't believe it. Since when? But our protestations were shouted down -- the correcters were quite strident about it -- and our life in the correct world had begun.

Can we call a woman or a woman, or is she now a "woperson," or perhaps just a "wo"? And "person" must also be out, since "son" is male. Perhaps female individuals are "perdaughters."

Yesterday we used the term "shuck and jive," meaning to act facetiously, in reference to local government's public involvement processes. We were informed later in the day that that's racist. One day last year we used the term "cotton-pickin'" in front of a group, thinking it was a general term of disapproval. Nope -- can't say that any more, either.

These aren't the first unpleasant surprises we've had over the years. We once used the term "gyp," meaning to cheat someone, and we got quite an earful about the etymology of that term. Other times, we knew as soon as we first heard it that a particular term or another was offensive, and we realized that we shouldn't repeat it. But sometimes a perfectly legitimate, innocent word is suddenly banished, even though it never had a harmful intent. And if you've been using it all your life, it's likely to slip out at some point or another no matter how vigilant you are about striking it from your vocabulary.

In the case of "freshman," the UNC is quick to point out that it's not telling anyone else what they can and cannot say -- it's just being sensitive in its own choice of words. That's an important point, but once the perception on the street is that a term is sexist, anyone who uses it in public will get scolded by some member of the audience who now has a gripe about it. The world gets a license to be offended.

If you ask us, keeping track of all the newly condemned terms is a bitch real chore.

Hey bulldog

Jody Stahancyk, the Portland divorce lawyer who thrashed us in the wonderfully absurd Mayoral Madness contest last spring, is the subject of a profile in the Trib this week. The gist of the story is that people blurt their secrets out to her just so that she can't be hired by their spouses in upcoming divorce cases. In some ways, it's the best free p.r. Stahancyk could possibly get. She's portrayed as absolutely fearsome -- and that's the way she likes it.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Susan Anderson: Portland's Martha Stewart?

Please, please, Mayor Hales, shut down this operation. It's making us ill.

'Dog like a pirate

We have one brave soul in our charity pro football game who's going with tonight's underdog:

6.5 TAMPA BAY at Minnesota - Broadway Joe

Good luck to him!

UPDATE, 9:11 p..m.: A nice call by Broadway Joe. He vaults into fourth place going into the weekend.

Oregon albacore tuna: now with cesium from Fukushima

But don't worry -- it's a "safe" level of radiation. It can't hurt you. We don't think.

Beaverton "urban renewal" already a fiasco

It's less than a year old, and already the situation with the money is all screwed up. The Don triumphs again. Good luck, taxpayers out there! You are going to need it.

Your house is expendable -- we need more food carts

It just gets weirder, and weirder, and weirder.

Thursday again, already

Players in our charity pro football underdog game, if you're picking Tampa Bay this week, remember that you've got only until 5:20 p.m. Pacific Time to register your choice here.

Oregon public pension time bomb could be nuclear

Anybody who's been paying attention knows that public employee pensions threaten state and local governments across the country. The rap on Oregon's situation is that it isn't as bad as most other places, but a new study questions that perception. Hannah Hoffman, a reporter at the Salem Statesman-Journal, wrote it up here yesterday, with a followup blog post here. Both well worth reading if you care about your tax bill. Some highlights:

The researchers determined that Oregon would need to raise about $3 billion more in taxes and fees every year for the next 30 years in order to fully pay off its PERS obligations, which include payments to retired employees, promised pensions to working employees and any payments it would expect to make to future employees.

They found that Oregon needed the second-most additional revenue on a per-household basis of any state in the country, at about $2,140 for each of Oregon’s 1.5 million households....

The study assumes low investment returns during the next three decades. The shortfall is calculated using a 4 percent return on investments, half the rate of return PERS assumes, which is set at 8 percent.

That halved investment rate places a much higher burden on the state to raise revenue....

Larrabee said the study’s accounting model and the PERS board’s model are "radically divergent," especially in their investment rate predictions. Eight percent and 4 percent are worlds apart in the financial realm, and while Larrabee said there has been discussion of dropping the PERS rate, it would be closer to something like 7.5 percent.

Do you think the Goldschmidt people running the state pension investments are going to make a 7.5% a year return for the next 20 or 30 years? It would be nice, but it doesn't sound realistic.

Once "Wild," now a soccer mom with star power

Cheryl Strayed, the Portland author whose book "Wild" is one of the best we've ever read, lives in the Buckman neighborhood now and is doing a reading Monday night as a benefit for the local public school, which her children attend. They're having no trouble selling tickets, as you might expect, but anyone who's a hard-core "Wild" fan can still plunk down the bucks here, and be there. [Via the O.]

New Portland water bureau mission: foreclosure enforcement

The admiral and his minions are now boarding up homes for the banks:

The Portland Water Bureau is expected to board up her home today for not having water service, the crowd was told during a 7 a.m. press conference.

Jackson told an estimated 100 supporters outside her 523 Bryant St. home in the Woodlawn community that she has tried to pay a $413 delinquent water bill but the city won't accept the money.

The city won't accept Jackson's money because she's not the legal property owner. "She is, in essence, a squatter," said Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff.

Sixty-seven more days of this. Let's hope Hales changes the tenor of the water bureau substantially. The arrogance of the Admiral and his minions has grown quite tiresome.

Death rattle in North Plains

The poor people who live in North Plains, Oregon have been complaining for almost a year now about the hideous stink that was dropped onto their town with no advance warning by the City of Portland's insane food composting program. Their cries have not gone unnoticed, but the politicians and the characters who run the compost dump are shining them on with one platitude after another. The place reeks to high heaven, and the official response is, "Is it really that bad? Maybe we can try harder to do something about it."

The latest round of blowing-off was this week at the Washington County commission. The story is recounted here:

In the end, the commission directed county staff to form a committee of Recology and North Plains officials to develop a solution that could include setting objective standards for measuring offensive odors.

"I think we’re leaning toward extending the permit with conditions, so lets pull together a team and see what it can come up with," said County Chair Andy Duyck.

In other words, neighbors, call your realtors. Nothing meaningful is going to be done.

It's ironic that Portland is destroying a place like North Plains. Portland is also destroying itself from within, with soulless apartment bunkers, all on the premise that high-density infill in the city is the only way to save the character of outlying rural areas. But then, in the name of "green," the city knowingly destroys the character of an outlying rural area. And the coprolite specimen running Portland washes his hands of the whole mess and blames it on the faceless Goldschmidt bobbleheads at Metro.

Sorry, North Plains. You've been screwed by the Sam Rand Twins. So have the people in Lents -- so have we all. And you won't be the last -- the folks in Stafford are next, and there'll be more.

We've stopped throwing food slop into our green bin. It's disgusting, and it's not fair to our neighbors who have to live downwind from the stink. We compost vegetable waste in a worm bin, and send the meat and grains to the landfill in Arlington, which doesn't have a problem with them.

Char-Lie plays blue notes on streetcars, "urban renewal"

Make no mistake, Portland mayoral candidate Char-Lie Hales is a tool of real estate developers -- always has been. He's the pet politician of Homer Williams and Dike Dames, the condo pushers who have taken Portland taxpayers for one bad ride after another. They've pumped a lot of money into the Hales campaign -- so much so that old Homer was up on the platform with Hales on election night in the primary. And old Dame is so hot to give Hales bucks that he's arranged to have contributions made by some of his inanimate objects.

So you can bet that Mayor Hales will be tasked with getting more cr-apartments built for Williams, Dame, and their ilk, even if that means running a dopey streetcar to the "Foothills" section of Lake Oswego, which those two are currently drooling over. There's a Portland sewage treatment plant down there that will also have to be moved or radically changed, and you can count on a Hales administration to get that done as well. If Greg Macpherson becomes mayor in L.O., the condo cranes will probably move in right after the inauguration ceremony.

But look at what Char-Lie said last night in response to a question about the streetcar:

I do not support streetcar expansion until the operating dollars are identified. Right now, the city needs to focus on providing basic services in every part of the city, especially those that have been ignored. Adequate public transportation is one of those basic services, and I will push for getting our bus system back in line with service demands, particularly for working people outside the downtown core.

Our city's approach to urban renewal needs to change. I'd encourage your consideration of a detailed white paper on this subject that you can find on my website. I believe that urban renewal districts can and should continue, but with a more narrow purpose and a limited time frame. And, we should be wary of creating new districts until we've retired some of the existing ones.

It's important to note that urban renewal siphons money away from basic services. By enabling some URAs to expire, we can free up the potential to use the tool where it is more needed and maximize the potential of local general fund revenue streams.

The Portland Development Commission should continue in the direction it's been moving: working at the neighborhood level - with local residents - to help create opportunities for job growth, economic development and access to capital.

Basic services, no more streetcars, better bus service, go slow on "urban renewal areas," PDC with a modest role... That's candidate Char-Lie. Will it be Mayor Char-Lie? We seriously doubt it.

You have to listen carefully, people. The weasel words fly every time Hales flaps his lips:

"I do not support streetcar expansion until..."

"we should be wary of creating new districts until..."

"we can free up the potential to use the tool..."

Portland taxpayers had better invest in some new fine-toothed combs, because come January, they're going to need them to sort through the pronouncements of the Oregon Voter from Camas.

Shuckin' and jivin' on Barbur Boulevard MAX

The Trib is now running Metro press releases verbatim. Here's the latest, basically a review of the show now running at the Portlandia Public Involvement Theater. It's called "Barbur Boulevard MAX," and the plot has all sorts of twists and turns:

Members of the Southwest Corridor Plan Steering Committee unanimously agreed Monday to study bus improvements and light rail for the area, which is roughly a wedge from downtown Portland to Tigard, King City, Tualatin and Sherwood....

Staffers recommended that some other options, like building a light-rail line to Sherwood, be put on the shelf. Planners left it to the steering committee to decide whether to study light rail to Tigard or Tualatin, or whether to also put that on the back burner.

Portland’s steering committee representative, planner Joe Zehnder, asked that light rail be part of the study. He said including light rail in a study with bus rapid transit would help local community members and businesses understand the difference between the two options.

And, he said, it would offer a cost comparison between bus rapid transit and light rail in areas where rights of way would have to be purchased.

Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden said a study of light rail would help the discussion about transit in the area.

You don't need a spoiler to know the ending of this drama. We're going to have another multi-billion-dollar train, crapping up vehicle movement on Barbur, because you, the public, asked for it! Honest. The cr-apartments on either side of the road, all the way to Newberg, are sure to follow.

Planners will start studying the costs and impacts of a possible transit system in the area. The study won’t single out any transit line as a preferred option, but will look at how much various transit projects would cost, how they would affect the communities of the area and how many people are likely to use them.

Oh, goody. The planners are involved. Nothing but greatness lies ahead.

Frack and nuke in Pennsylvania

They'll be fracking just a mile away from a nuclear power plant. No problem. What could go wrong?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Nasty stuff in the well in the 'Couv

A reader sends along a link to this unfavorable environmental report from just north of Vancouver in Clark County:

EPA’s 2011 Expanded Site Inspection confirmed the findings of earlier studies that found hazardous substance contamination of onsite ground water and soil at Camp Bonneville.

Perchlorate was found in ground water samples collected from the site at concentrations ranging from 0.60 micrograms per liter (ug/L) to 470 ug/L. Concentrations of RDX found in ground water samples collected from the site range from 2.6 ug/L to 59 ug/L. The Ecology Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) cleanup levels for perchlorate and RDX in ground water are 11 ug/L and 0.8 ug/L, respectively.

A subsurface soil sample collected from along the bank of North Fork Lacamas Creek revealed the presence of RDX at a concentration of 250 micrograms per kilogram (ug/kg). To protect ground water to the Ecology MTCA level of 0.8 ug/L, the corresponding soil cleanup level for RDX would be 0.3 ug/kg.

The full bad news is here. But hey, no fluoride yet. That's a relief.

Sustainability Center still not dead

One of the private companies hoping to make work for itself out of the project keeps talking like it's still viable. There's no mention of a public handout in the latest discussion, but since virtually nothing gets built in Portland any more without a substantial taxpayer subsidy, it's hard to imagine that it isn't going to ask for one.

Election porn fail

Our friend and colleague Tung Yin got a real doozy in his mailbox. (Comment over there.)

Ballot rundown from a smart blogger

We've followed Alas, a Blog for years. Always good stuff there, especially the original comics. And like us, the author has posted his choices in the upcoming elections, here. We disagree with some of it, of course, but it's definitely worth a gander.

From Portland to Poland

That wonderful density infill is sweeping the world. Smart growth, peeps!

Breaking news: Most people in Portland drive

Here are some new numbers to fuel the debate about whether Portlandia should continue blowing tons of transportation dollars on bikes, trains, and streetcars. What's clear from the article is that more than eight out of 10 trips taken by Portlanders are by automobile. That number, which we put in the "substantially all" category, is not going to change much. Car haters will say, "Wait 'til gasoline is $5 a gallon," or $6, or whatever number, but they neglect to mention that in that climate, mass transit fares will go up just as quickly as, if not more quickly than, fuel prices.

We get a kick out of writing that talks about percentage shares of travel without taking into account seasonal factors. In Portland, when the weather's good, everybody and her sister break out their bikes, but that's only three or four months a year. There are another four or five months when only the hard-core bikers are out there getting soaked and chilled to the bone. Are these studies giving numbers in peak cycling season, the dead of winter, or some sort of average?

But the money quote in the O article is quite a ways down:

During a presentation of the research Tuesday, Metro board members asked the authors of the $1 million study to dig even deeper to find data showing the agency's land-use planning is paying dividends.

Classic Portland politicians. "Tell us what we want to hear!" Who needs Fred Armisen when you've got Psychedelic Rex and Waylon Hughes?

What did we promise the tribes?

The folks opposing the Wood Village casino ballot measures haven't taken their ads off the television, and that's probably a good idea. The pushers of the casino say they're giving up, but you don't want to be a victim of a rope-a-dope strategy.

One of the ads features Governor Retread, standing on the downtown Portland waterfront and looking positively geriatric. His spiel is one of the more honest pitches that have been heard during the current debate: The private casino would suck business away from the Indian casinos around the state.

The Gov touts the money that the tribes have spent on good deeds over the decades since their gambling palaces have opened, but then he says something that to us is quite curious. Something like "They've kept their promise to us, now let's keep our promise to them."

What did the people of Oregon "promise" to the Indian tribes? That they'd never have any competition? We must have missed that meeting.

And if we did make such a commitment, we have surely broken it with the morphing of the state "lottery" into a full-fledged poker and slot machine operation. About all that's missing from the casinos on every corner are the human dealers, the paper cards, and the dice.

Anyway, we'd like to hear exactly what we promised the tribes, just for future reference.

County getting shorted in "urban renewal," cop pension juggernauts

On Sunday night we ran our annual analysis of our property tax bill, showing the percentages of the tax being used for various government functions. Last year, a reader asked us to take the numbers a little deeper, showing longer-term trends in those percentages. We did, and to the wonkier among us, the patterns were interesting. Here they are again, updated for 2012-2013:

The general line "City of Portland" has hit a seven-year low, percentage-wise, while "urban renewal" and the unfunded police and fire pensions continue to chug along, eating up nearly 51 cents on the city's dollar.

Meanwhile, PCC is at a seven-year high, Multnomah County is at a seven-year low, and Portland Public Schools is like the cockroach that ate Cincinnati. And that's before the wasteful construction pork school tax increase that the city's sheeple are about to inflict on themselves.

We may fool around with the numbers some more, but we hope these tables, along with Sunday's post, will help people get a grip on what they're buying. (And you renters out there, you're paying it, too -- don't kid yourselves, it's part of your rent.)

Cascadia Cup! Woo hoo!

We'd be remiss if we didn't note that the Portland Timbers actually won a soccer match on the road -- the first time all season that's it's happened -- and that victory, over the team in the Real Vancouver, clinched the coveted Cascadia Cup. Now, some people will pooh-pooh this trophy, but it's about the only thing that Little Lord Paulson's squad has to show for an otherwise highly disappointing season. It's something to cheer us up when the contents of our election ballot depress us to the point of tears.

Please don't do this with your ballot

All this talk about writing in candidates in the current election is leading some voters astray. For example, a reader sends us this shot of a portion of his completed ballot:

You see what he did there? He attempted to write in our cat for elective office, as we have suggested we might do. And what he did was just plain wrong, people.

First of all, he didn't print clearly. Is that a "C" or an "L"?

But let's cut through the foolishness. The real reason this is just the wrong thing to do is because it left too much ambiguity. We have two cats, Billy and Lola, and the voter does not specify which one he's voting for. This invalidates the vote, as we explained here.

Running on empty

No sooner do we get our Halloween decorations up than we get some political advice from a zombie:

Not only do we deal with election porn for the current contests, but we also hear from people who are running for unspecified offices in the future.

Lavonne talks to the O about writing her in

O reporter Brad Schmidt mentions this blog in an article today about potential write-in candidates for mayor of Portland. Prominently mentioned is our pick, city auditor Lavonne Griffin-Valade. Schmidt even spoke to Griffin-Valade about the suggestion, and she doesn't say she wouldn't take the job if she won:

Griffin-Valade said Tuesday that she's aware her name is mentioned as a write-in candidate. Blogger Jack Bogdanski -- a well-read and frequent critic of Portland government -- began advocating Griffin-Valade in June.

"I don't want to sound self-righteous or egotistical," said Griffin-Valade, who noted that the city charter requires Portland's auditor to resign before running for mayor or City Council. "But I sort of understand where it's coming from."

So there. Don't participate in the further destruction of Portland. Write her in for mayor: Lavonne Griffin-Valade.

Tweet at your own risk

It will get you cut from the Washington State football team.

"Nonpartisan"? That's funny.

We were wasting time on Facebook yesterday when we came across a posting from one of our "friends" about a current judicial election. He was knocking one of the candidates for the position, on the ground that the candidate, a sitting judge, had once been the chair of a political party in his county. And, gasp! It was that party whose name begins with the letter "R." The kiss of death, as far as this "friend" was concerned.

It's the same story in local races for governing bodies. The Clackistan county commission, for example -- that's supposedly a "nonpartisan" race, but you couldn't find a better example of Democrats battling Republicans. Ditto for the mayor in Lake Oswego. And you don't have to turn too many pages in the voter's pamphlet to find other examples. The party affiliations aren't listed right under the candidates' names, but they usually aren't too hard to figure out.

Why are all these races "nonpartisan" in the first place? Maybe there ought to be parties -- or subsets of the existing parties -- in them. In Portland proper, a Republican wouldn't have a chance, but you do already have the powerful Goldschmidt Party, which runs almost everything most of the time. You could also have a Cr-apartment Party, from which developer shills like Char-Lie Hales could run. And then maybe a Grownup Party, for candidates like Scott Fernandez and Dave Lister. Given the crummy leadership our current "nonpartisan" elections is producing, it certainly couldn't hurt to shake up the bag.

Death Wish Cyclist of the Year

If you've ever tried to get on southbound I-5 at the Portland Rose Quarter, you know what a mess that area is. Drivers often must pass through three traffic lights, and then an on-ramp meter, to get to the freeway. By the time they get to the third light, at the intersection of Wheeler and Williams, they're pretty impatient. And there are bicyclists coming through that space, northbound on Williams, which becomes one way northbound beginning at that corner. Conflicts are frequent. (Not to mention the requisite bum asking for beer money.)

Just about the last thing in the world a driver would be looking for coming through there is a cyclist going the wrong way on Williams, headed southbound. That's just what this one did at 10:00 last night. He "was not wearing a helmet, had no lights on his bike and was wearing dark clothing," according to the police. Now he's in the hospital. Our condolences to the motorist who hit him.

The guy behind the "Ludlow is a Bully" campaign

Here he is, according to media reports:

Somebody ought to demand that this guy pull his illegal lawn signs off public rights of way and private property that he has no connection with. He and the people who pick up his mantra make the target of his venom look pretty decent by comparison.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bad news for Portland school bond

Nutsy Smith's desperation is about to spill into the school board's lap as he tries to use the school construction pork bond measure to shore up his abruptly ending political career. It seems that he won't get off the stage until he drags others down with him. In two weeks, he'll be a footnote, but for now he's one of the best reasons anyone can point to in encouraging a no vote on the bond.

Dede pleads the Fifth in Kyron civil case

The constitutional privilege against self-incrimination is interesting. Nothing makes you look as guilty as when you invoke it. As one of my law professors explained, it's just common sense that leads people to the conclusion that the person claiming the privilege is guilty. For example, say you have three children, and an empty cookie jar. You sternly ask them, "Who took the cookies?" The first one says, "Not me." The second one says, "Not me." The third one says, "I'm asserting my Fifth Amendment right." Hmmmm...

We ponder that professor's wise observation as we read this story about the Kyron Horman case -- another failure of local law enforcement that may actually get fixed with the help of a civil trial lawyer.

Hydrogen gas building up in Fukushima unit 1

The meltdown news from Japan continues to raise questions and concerns. Fresh on the heels of the revelation that Fukushima Daiichi unit 4 is sinking into the ground comes word that hydrogen has been building up in unit 1-- so much so that Tokyo Electric is pumping nitrogen gas in to prevent an explosion. That place is going to be a continuing danger to the world, and especially to us downwind and downstream in the Pacific Northwest, for decades to come. "Cold shutdown," my eye.

Dunthorpe, here we come

Spies tell us that they're planning to close off a long stretch of Terwilliger Boulevard between Lake O. and Palatine Hill Road for a sewer construction project. From this document, it appears that unofficial detours could be through the groovy Dunthorpe section. But all the civic-minded neighbors down that way won't complain. Maybe Little Lord Paulson will set up a lemonade stand for the diverted motorists, who will finally get to see where their "urban renewal" taxes wind up. It would be a lot of fun for us little people to watch.

I'll be 'doggone, if you ain't a pretty thing

The underdogs of pro football didn't do much to help the players in our charity game last weekend, but we suspect they'll be stronger this coming weekend. Here are the offerings. See a 'dog (in caps) that can win its game outright?

13 JACKSONVILLE at Green Bay
7.5 CAROLINA at Chicago
7 ST. LOUIS vs. New England
6.5 TAMPA BAY at Minnesota (Thursday, pick due 5:20 p.m.)
6.5 ARIZONA vs. San Francisco (Monday, pick still due Sunday 10 a.m.)
6 NEW ORLEANS at Denver
5 WASHINGTON at Pittsburgh
3.5 INDIANAPOLIS at Tennessee
3 CLEVELAND vs. San Diego
2.5 SEATTLE at Detroit
1 MIAMI at New York Jets
1 ATLANTA at Philadelphia
1 OAKLAND at Kansas City
1 DALLAS vs. New York Giants

Flush, flush, sweet Charlotte

Wow, the dough keeps rolling in in the effort to stop the Clackistani rebellion. Embattled rogue county chair Charlotte Lehan has picked up some fat checks lately from the various players in the light rail mafia, including $2,500 from the League of Conservation Voters and a sweet little $500 truffle from the Ball Janik law firm -- her ally in the "urban renewal" ballot measure episode. Meanwhile, rebel John Ludlow continues to live off big bucks flowing in from Rob Kremer's tighty-righty PAC, which in turn gets major moolah from Stimson Lumber Co. of Forest Grove. It's a classic showdown -- the most interesting race in the region by far.

Earl the Pearl vs. Jack Roberts over taxes

Meeeeeeoowwww! It's here and then here.

Rust never sleeps (neither does Johansen)


Two of the guys who led Portland down the yellow brick road to a crushing debt load are circling back around to cash in as private consultants. Ken Rust (left) and Eric Johansen, formerly the city's chief administrative officer and treasurer, respectively, are opening a new Portland office for an outfit called PFM, which advises governments around the country on how to put the taxpayers further and further into hock.

It's encouraging that someone is giving Seattle-Northwest Securities some competition for the business, but you can just imagine how much dough two recent insiders like Johansen and Rust will get themselves paid by the taxpayers of the city and other government spendthrifts around the region. Both of them previously worked for PFM before they got on the city payroll. Rust started out at the dreaded CH2M Hill, the prime driving instructor on the road to Chapter 9.

Here's a funny letter from a few years ago. It's Johansen, in his City Hall gig, singing the praises of having private consultants as well as underwriters on every municipal bond deal:

After 28 years of experience in public finance, I believe that issuers are best served when they clearly and distinctly separate the roles of financial advisor and underwriter. In short, hire independent financial advisors to provide financial advice and only hire broker-dealers to underwrite bonds. While investment bankers may provide helpful services that are advisory in nature on a negotiated sale, issuers should not lose sight of the fact that the issuer’s interests are different from those of the underwriter. A quality, truly independent financial advisor provides the issuer with advice that is untainted by other business relationships.

And now -- cha-ching! He and Rust are the "truly independent financial advisors." Funny how that works.

Including unfunded employee retirement benefits, the long-term debt of the City of Portland now exceeds $11,000 per resident, and is growing daily.

How we're voting, cont'd

Our post of yesterday laid out almost all of our votes in the current election. But as readers pointed out, we left out a couple of important positions -- Portland City Council and Oregon attorney general. Maybe it was because we've already discussed those two races on this blog all year long. Maybe it was because we lack enthusiasm about either of them. Maybe it was a subconscious urge of some kind. Who knows?

Well, here they are for the sake of completeness. DE signifies our degree of enthusiasm, with 0 the lowest and 10 the highest; DC is our degree of confidence that our candidate will prevail:

- State attorney general: Rosenblum - DE 2, DC 10. This one was over months ago.
- City Council: Fritz - DE 2, DC 5. By far the lesser of two evils.

We probably won't mark our ballot until close to the last minute, and so we're still open to suggestions. We're stubborn, but we do change our mind occasionally. The last time, we recall, was in 1993.

The worst part about the Lance Armstrong scandal

The doping is bad, but the news that he allegedly intimidated his teammates so that they would never tell the truth about what they did is tragic beyond words. The people who broke the silence are no angels, but they are to be commended for ending one of the biggest frauds in sports history.

Eye for an eye?

The gunpoint rape and cold-blooded murder of an innocent 21-year-old Gresham woman brings many a person's blood to a boil. The police easily collared the suspect, along with, they say, both DNA evidence and a confession. So what should society do with the human trash who perpetrated these hideous crimes?

Please, let's not have a repeat of this recent case in Portland, in which our criminal justice system failed miserably. But should we go ahead and act on the natural desire for swift, plain, and simple retribution? There will likely be a guilty plea -- either that or a finding of insanity. If the defendant pleads guilty, what should the sentence be? And if he's found to be insane, what's the program for the rest of his life?

We are at a real loss here. God rest Whitney and help her loved ones.

Ground under Fukushima is sinking, Japanese official says

It's the ground under unit 4, one of those with the spent fuel pool issues that everybody's been worried about for the last 19 months. The ground has reportedly sunk by more than 30 inches since the triple meltdown, and it could be sinking unevenly, which may cause the building to collapse. A collapse of that structure would likely drain the spent fuel pool, cause a fire, and wreak unprecedented damage on the world environment. But hey, anybody who's worried about this must be a kook, right? Pass the corn flakes.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Graggism continues

Now Harvard Anna is nattering on about swimming in the Willamette. Interviewed all the City Hall bobbleheads -- but apparently not one skeptic. Yesterday she informed us that downtown is "healthy," and today she notes that the Willamette is "clean." Happy, happy, happy talk. Sounds like she was glad to get out of Boston, wants a city flack job, or both.

Nutsy's followers don't know when to quit

They think they're going to salvage his dead political career by accusing the rest of the world of "character assassination."

"Character suicide" would be more like it.

You wonder how long it will take before these people notice that there's something funny in the Kool-Aid. The people who are in their 20's and 30's need a political leader from their ranks, but they sure as heck aren't going anywhere under anybody like Jefferson Smith.

Live wire

Did you see Bruno Mars on Saturday Night Live? That is one talented and charismatic dude. And he's a musical impressionist on top of everything else! If there's a downside to him, don't tell us.

The other thing we've noticed is that Seth Meyers does a great job on "Weekend Update." He's got that one down.

The show has its ups and downs -- we still think 90 minutes is about 30 too long -- but it's really picked up speed again lately. Must be the election.

Nothing grows like shrinkage

Orwell would be proud of this one:

UC Nike loses round in big sex discrimination case

The university got the bad news, again, from the Ninth Circuit last week. The suits in Eugene are actually talking about the possibility of appealing to the Supreme Court. The whole thing must be costing quite the pretty penny. The case, brought by a former Ph.D. candidate in the education department, would go to trial next, unless the Supremes dismiss it.

Oregon talking new "alignment" for high-speed heavy rail

One of the screamfests of the future is being set up, as Oregon transportation bureaucrats are getting serious about launching one of our state's famous "public dialogues," this time about a proposed high-speed passenger train line between Portland and Eugene. Amtrak currently runs its trains between those cities (most of which service is paid for by the state) on the same tracks as Union Pacific freight. But all the talk of more trains, and faster trains, includes discussion of determining a "preferred alignment," which sounds a lot like laying new track, and who knows what other mischief.

It's always depressing when you see one of these, which is always a pretty good sign that the fix is in:

It gets scarier when you read that there's a "leadership council" meeting regularly to decide these things, and it includes Sam Adams, the head of Tri-Met, Tom Hughes, a Frohnmayer, the mayor of Milwaukie -- and it's co-chaired by a favored Portland real estate developer. Look out, neighbors. Look out, taxpayers. All aboard for adventure!

How we're voting (so far)

We've got our ballot out and are ready to start blackening circles. Here's how we're planning to vote. In each case, we'll also give our degree of enthusiasm (DE) -- 0 is low, 10 is high -- and our degree of confidence that our choice will prevail (DC).

- President: Obama - DE 7, DC 6. He's quite a sellout, but much better than the alternative.
- Congress (3rd): Writing in our cat - DE 8, DC 0. Can we start thinking about getting a normal person in there when Lance Bowtie packs it in?
- Secretary of State: Buehler - DE 8, DC 6. Brown's bungled too much.
- Treasurer: Wheeler - DE 8, DC 10. Except for the expense account crap, he's been a solid performer.
- State Senator (22nd): Writing in our other cat - DE 7, DC 0. Wish we could get some turnover in the legislature.
- State Rep. (43rd): Frederick - DE 1, DC 10. Nutsy Smith's good buddy has not exhibited a mind of his own.
- Labor Commissioner: Avakian - DE 0, DC 8. The guy gags us, but his opponent kinda scares us.
- Supreme Court: Baldwin - DE 10, DC 7. The court needs to have a real trial judge in the mix.
- Court of Appeals: Egan - DE 8, DC 6. His opponent seems too buddy-buddy with the Usual Suspects in Portland.
- Mayor: Writing in Lavonne Griffin-Valade - DE 10, DC 1. Do not give Hales a mandate. Write in anybody.
- East Mult, Co. Soil & Water: Writing in Jefferson Smith for all three positions - DE 0, DC 0. Why do we have this board? What the heck does it do?
- Measure 77 (disaster): No - DE 2, DC 0. If this is no big deal, why do it?
- Measure 78 (editing constitution): No - DE 2, DC 2. For this, we're cluttering up the ballot?
- Measure 79 (forbids real estate transfer tax): No - DE 10, DC 8. There ought to be a real estate transfer tax.
- Measure 80 (legalize pot): No - DE 2, DC 7. Is anybody having difficulty finding pot these days? Let's not start up an OLCC for wacky weed and spend 20 years fighting the federal government. (And don't ask us to tell the stories about us OD'ing on pot in our youth. It can be done.)
- Measure 81 (fishing): No - DE 9, DC 9. Dumb, unfair.
- Measure 82 (casino): No - DE 9, DC 10. Are they gone yet?
- Measure 83 (more casino): No - DE 9, DC 10. "The Grange." Too funny.
- Measure 84 (estate tax repeal): No - DE 10, DC 8. This badly worded measure would gut the income tax, too.
- Measure 85 (dump corporate kicker): Yes - DE 6, DC 8. Both the kickers are dumb. And they'll never kick again in our lifetimes, anyway.
- Measure 26-143 (library taxing district): Yes - DE 6, DC 9. Let's stop with the yo-yo funding of the library. Maybe we can eventually get it away from Farquaad Cogen and the Sisters.
- Measure 26-144 (school construction pork bond): No - DE 10, DC 3. LEED Platinum study halls? The construction boys will make out, but the schools will continue to blow. Ask us for money for teachers.
- Measure 26-145 (police and fire pension changes): Yes - DE 2, DC 8. Whatever. Drop in the bucket.
- Measure 26-146 (head tax): No - DE 10, DC 8. Classic Sam Rand. Send those fops a farewell message.

Remember, your job as a voter is not to vote for the candidate or side that you think is going to win. Vote for what you think is right!

UPDATE, 10/23, 6:29 p.m.: Our other two picks are here.

Fluoride lobbying scandal at Portland City Hall

So many backroom deals are made in Portland city government. The politicians are supposed to disclose all the meetings with the lobbyists and other favor-askers, but do they? Don't make us laugh. The latest episode: the rush-rush summertime move to fluoridate the city's water supply:

According to a recently filed disclosure, lobbyists reported meeting with Commissioners Randy Leonard on July 26, Dan Saltzman and Nick Fish on Aug. 2, Amanda Fritz on Aug. 6 and Mayor Adams on Aug. 27 to push for fluoride in public drinking water.

But those same city officials -- who are required to publicly post their calendars on a quarterly basis -- either didn't disclose the meetings about fluoride or left a vague subject heading. Adams and Leonard say they weren't actually present at the meetings....

Leonard said in an email Friday that he never met with Upstream Public Health on July 26, despite the group's assertion that it had a "personal meeting" with him. Leonard said the meeting involving Upstream Public Health was with Stuart Oishi on his staff.

Adams' spokeswoman Caryn Brooks said Friday that Adams never met personally with Upstream Public Health, either. She said that Upstream instead met with herself and Amy Ruiz, Adams' deputy chief of staff, on Aug. 27. But Brooks did say that Adams called Upstream about fluoride -- which doesn't appear on the group's report -- and he also ran into representatives at Davis Street Tavern.

Fish said in an email Friday that Kayse Jama, a founder for the Center for Intercultural Organizing, requested the Aug. 2 meeting but told Fish's office it was about a "broad health equity strategy." Fish said he didn't learn the topic until the meeting.

And the fluoride pushers, they appear to be scofflaws as well:

As for Upstream Public Health, it didn't register as a lobbying group until Aug. 16. The Oregonian broke news of the fluoride push, and the group's stealth lobbying efforts, Aug. 9.

According to city code, lobbyists are required to register with the city "within three working days after a lobbying entity has spent 8 hours or more or estimates that it has spent cumulative 8 hours or more during any calendar quarter lobbying."

Any thinking Portlander has to wonder what else has been going on behind the curtains with that deal. And so many others.

Latest downtown Portland innovation: Stupid Park

An alert reader sends along a photo and a story:

We were downtown earlier today, my daughter and I, spending time together on her photography project for school. As we returned to our car at the 10th Avenue Smart Park, we noticed a kiosk with a sign saying "Pay Here" or something along those lines. We have parked here for decades, so this new unit caught us off guard. Turns out they have eliminated the human beings in the three payment booths at the exit. You now have to pay at the kiosk with your credit card.

Here's the problem. The line was long. At least 30 people lined up to get a shot at the kiosk. And it took most patrons quite a while to decipher the thing, so it was a long wait just to get our parking ticked paid and stamped. Everyone in line was bitching about the inconvenience of it all. Loss of service, less time-efficient.

We snapped this quick photo of the line and thought of you. Seemed like your reaction would probably have been the same as ours.

Thanks for the update, reader. We stay out of downtown as much as possible and keep our eyes fixed straight ahead when we do go there.

Oregon still hemorrhaging jobs

The real unemployment rate is something like 17%, and September appears to have been the worst month in three years:

The state's professional and business services sector cut 2,600 jobs in September, when a loss of 200 would be normal. Within that count, employment services companies slashed 1,800 jobs. That industry, which includes temp agencies, is often considered as an indicator of future hiring.

Construction jobs fell by 1,400, bucking the monthly norm of 200 new jobs. Government, too, added fewer jobs than usual, creating a seasonally adjusted loss of 2,400.

Financial services companies brought on 300 new workers, continuing that industry's recent rebound. Retailers also posted gains, possibly because seasonal hiring began earlier than expected, Beleiciks said.

You can imagine how bad it would be without the government (and taxpayer-subsidized) make-work jobs that are so prevalent in Portland these days.

And the praying began

Fifty years ago...

On October 22 at 7:00 pm EDT, President Kennedy delivered a nation-wide televised address on all of the major networks announcing the discovery of the missiles.
It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.

Kennedy described the administration's plan:

To halt this offensive buildup, a strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba is being initiated. All ships of any kind bound for Cuba, from whatever nation or port, will, if found to contain cargoes of offensive weapons, be turned back. This quarantine will be extended, if needed, to other types of cargo and carriers. We are not at this time, however, denying the necessities of life as the Soviets attempted to do in their Berlin blockade of 1948.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Portland cop pension property tax jumps 8.74%

Our property tax statement for 2012-2013 is on the table, and here's what it shows:

The Portland police and fire retirement hit went up by nearly 9%, more than offsetting a decline last year. The Tri-Met property tax bonds have been paid off, apparently, but they've been more than replaced by massive hits for Metro and Portland Community College. "Urban renewal" is still sucking up 26 cents of the Portland city property tax dollar, and the cop and fire pensions another quarter. "Urban renewal" taxes show a compound increase rate of 4.27% over the past three years; for what, it's hard to say.

Overall, our property taxes went up 3.92% this year compared to last -- pretty much in line with the 3.99% compound rate of increase over the last three years. One can only imagine how much worse it would be had it not been for the late Don McIntire.

We'll run some additional analysis and post some more numbers over the coming week.

'Dogs won't hunt

The Jets gave us a thrill, but their win slipped away like a Mark Sanchez fumble, and so only one player in our charity pro football underdog game wins points today -- a mere 3 at that. We have one player in the running tomorrow night; otherwise, the standings are as they were last week, but with Juicen moving up to 15 points, in eighth place.

In the great Randy Gragg tradition

Anna Griffin is back at the O, fresh from her scholarship at Harvard and ready to tell us hicks in Portland how to live. Today she inaugurates her re-entry by parroting back what the City of Portland "planners" are spewing -- only now with a thick air of superiority. She pronounces downtown as currently "healthy" and buys fully into the car-hater mentality. She makes it sound like the Blumenauering of the inner city is inevitable -- like some sort of force of nature.

She also repeats without a hint of question the claim that 132,000 households will be added to Portland over 20 years. That's a crap number. The city's population growth has consistently been 1.1% a year at most. That would add about 145,000 people over 20 years. Her math would translate that into an average household size of 1.1 people. Seems awfully low.

In the next 20 years efforts downtown will be away from construction and toward nudging the private sector to make sure all those new central city residents and workers have enough parks, schools, markets and family-friendly housing.

"Away from construction"? Wow. How quickly she has forgotten, if she ever figured out, who controls Portland.

One thing's for sure -- Griffin's Harvard experience is going to make her even more intolerable than she was as City Hall reporter:

If everything goes right, the expanded central city will be thick with the same kind of walkable, self-sufficient neighborhoods that ring it -- and with people going about their daily lives in the shadow of what pass for skyscrapers here.

We had lost track of how much damage this glib kind of writing -- classic Oregonian -- can do to a community. It appears we're going to be reminded quite regularly.

This week's watched 'dogs

The players in our charity pro football underdog game are cur-rent with their latest selections. They're calling these mongrels to win their gridiron contests outright today:

10.5 NEW YORK JETS at New England - Bob, Bayou Baby, Dr. D, Annie, Ted, genop, MickeyMacNYC
7.5 SEATTLE at San Francisco (Thursday, did not prevail) - NoPoGuy, Lucas, Michael K., Usual Kevin, Gordon, genop's gal, Sola, Bad Brad, Drewbob
6.5 WASHINGTON at New York Giants - Pdxmick, Paul, Pete Rose, Ricardo, Will, Tinknocker, Broadway Joe, DB Cooper, Cinderella Story
6 BALTIMORE at Houston - JMH, Tung, Coastal Storm, Grizfan, John Ch.
6 ARIZONA at Minnesota - Gary, PDXileinOmaha, Biggest Cubs Loser, Rudie, John Cr.
5 ST. LOUIS vs. Green Bay - Pete Rozelle, George, Carol, Eric W.
5 DETROIT at Chicago (Monday) - Jeremy
3 TENNESSEE at Buffalo - Juicen
3 CLEVELAND at Indianapolis - Dave A.

Please note: By our custom, these are the picks as of earlier this morning, several hours before the deadline. (This post is being triggered by a robot.) If additional picks have come in (or changes have been made) after this post was written but before the deadline, they will be added to this post as soon as we can get to it later today.

Have a peaceful Sunday and enjoy the games, everyone!

UPDATE, 1:43 p.m.: Timely morning picks by DB Cooper, Cinderella Story, Eric W., and MickeyMac added. Tennessee prevails for Juicen; all the other first-game 'dogs fail.

UPDATE, 5:22 p.m.: No winners in the second games.

Election porn is here

The mailman had quite a handful for us on Friday: our annual property tax bill, our ballots in the upcoming election, and some last-minute glossy brochures from a politician and groups pushing two ballot measures.

Here's an informative one. Give tax money to the opera! It will help little black children:

Then there's the library district. The literature from these folks is always mildly comical. They display photos of library patrons, some of whom weren't told their likenesses would be used in a political campaign. Some may even be voting no.

And it's a lot like "Where's Waldo?" You try to find the adult white male. This time around, there are no adult males, period:

And then there's Kate Brown, touting what appears to be her one and only major newspaper endorsement:

She also tries slinging mud at her opponent, but he's so new to politics, all she has is some fluffy peat moss:

And of course, there's this gal. She's been wheeled out so many times this election cycle that she's become the Starbucks of political endorsements:

If we had only 16 days to live, we'd want it to be now. Because this next couple of weeks are going to take forever.

Glad the rain is back

We wouldn't want anything bad to happen to Paul Bunyan.

Rim shot!

We've got to hand it to whoever came up with "Romnesia."

It's almost as good as "death tax."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

In 21st Century, road to Oz is green

A reader who works downtown (in between dodging the undesirables down there) sends this photo, and writes:

This shot is what SW Oak looks like tonight. The city had a report come out earlier this week that said the "bike boxes" actually increased impacts between vehicles and Lance wanna-be's, hipsters, unicyclists, skateboarders, and tricyclists. The solution, apparently, is to paint the entire route with green paint. This goes from Naito to 5th so far, and my guess is it will eventually go all the way to Burnside.

Go by anything but car.

Reader, you should relay this message to the city's transportation director. Since it's the weekend, we suggest that you try the vacation homes of the local real estate developers.

Thank goodness Smith didn't do *this* in college

It's an image that would scar our mind.

Another bet, another flop for Portland City Hall

ReVolt, the Euro battery manufacturer whose taxpayer-subsidized move to Portland was much ballyhooed a year or two ago, has filed for liquidation bankruptcy. It's a complete disaster from a financial standpoint. The city and state reportedly handed them $4.2 million; the feds, another $5 million. It created 18 jobs for two years. That works out to $511,111 per job, $233,333 of which came from the city and state.

Even if you don't think (as we do) that government subsidies of favored businesses violate the state constitution -- and even if you don't think that such subsidies are bad policy as a general matter -- you have to admit that the Sam Rand Twins and their rudderless Portland Development Commission sure know how to pick 'em. Not.

UPDATE, 4:07 p.m.: Nostalgic photos of Adams and the car-hater PDC guy administering the kiss of death, just over a year ago, here.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Complete rebuild

We're watching the Blazers on TV. Don't recognize a single Portland player on the floor. They look like a mature high school team. Something tells us that they are going to take a lot of lumps this year.

Have a great weekend

The solution to everything

Nurse Amanda has a fix for the City of Portland's budget problems: more bureaucracy. What a waste. All that's needed is not to have a jerk in charge of the finance office. We're getting rid of the one we have now; let's hope (against hope) that the next one is better.

Read it while you can

This page on the City of Portland website will likely be changed soon. But it currently includes a real gem from the desk of the Admiral:

1. Why is the City of Portland choosing to add fluoride to drinking water at this time?

A citizens group (Upstream Public Health) approached Commissioner Randy Leonard asking him to sponsor a fluoridation measure to combat the rising problem of tooth decay in many children in Portland, especially for low-income and minority families. Commissioner Leonard and fellow Commissioner Nick Fish concluded that the qualified science and facts about the health promotion effects of fluoride, even for adults, were sufficient reasons to call for a Council vote to add fluoride to the drinking water.

2. Why won’t people get to vote about whether fluoride gets added to the drinking water?

The Mayor and City Commissioners were elected to represent the best interests and well-being of all of the citizens of Portland. In their capacity as elected officials, they made a unanimous decision to join other major American cities to add fluoride for public health reasons.

Seventy-three days and counting...

New bike-only trail coming to Forest Park

So reports the Bicycle Terrorist Alliance. If it keeps the craziest bikers off the walking path, it might be good. But what are the chances of that?

More free advertising on City of Portland website

Once again, the Portland "sustainability" bureau's little corner of the internet reads like a cheesy advertising mailer:

Fixing, maintaining and repairing items you already own saves money and resources. A-Z Blinds Cleaning and Repair (7920 NE Glisan St, 503-252-9909) and Reliable Appliance Repair offer options for window treatments and various home appliances.

DIY! Become a Do-It-Yourselfer with local options like Mill End Store and W.C. Winks Hardware to find just about anything to add color, a unique touch and to fix and maintain broken items in the space you call home.

There are links to the retailers' websites and everything. Here's another such city page. Here's another. It goes on and on.

Is somebody getting a kickback out of this? Who picks the companies that get the kudos on the city pages? On what basis? It sure looks like blatant favoritism to us.

Not to mention the incredible waste of tax dollars those pages represent. Whoever's got time to write this drivel needs to be laid off, like yesterday. Memo to Sustainable Susan: You're not Oprah.

Charlotte throws a Hail Mary

Her re-election bid is doomed if she talks about the issues, and so Clackamas County chair Charlotte Lehan has decided to go deeply, personally negative on her opponent, John Ludlow. Lehan's supporters, flush with cash from the Portland "planning" mafia, have started up a well organized hit campaign, to the effect that Ludlow is a bully. This includes lawn signs, some of which they've got up on the public right-of-way on Terwilliger Boulevard in Portland, which isn't even in Clackistan.

Lehan's in trouble because her rogue behavior on "urban renewal" and light rail issues -- clearly disregarding the sentiment of the majority of the county's voters -- has drawn the ire of many voters. That she's going to make highly personal attacks on her opponent shows her own awareness that her re-election is in serious jeopardy.

Perhaps the saddest part of the latest developments is the participation in the character assassination by Carla Axtman, an increasingly shrill voice on the Blue Oregon blog. For most of this year, Axtman has been selling the foolhardy Wood Village casino proposal, and pushing Jefferson Smith for Portland mayor. Now that Smith's violent ways have wrecked his chances for future public office, Axtman's got time to lead the chant that Ludlow is a bully. Well, she oughta know.

Oregonians aren't real keen on the personal attack. When PGE tried that on Lloyd Marbet a few decades ago, the voters responded by forcing the closure of the Trojan nuclear power plant. Lehan's in a deep hole, and spending the Goldschmidt people's money going personally negative is just digging it deeper. She ought to be thinking more carefully about her political future. Who's advising her -- Axtman? Given what's happened to the casino and Smith, that may not be money well spent.

Wendy's child stabber case deserves further review

Adam Lee Brown, the monster who cornered a young boy in a Wendy's restroom on Sandy Boulevard in Portland, sexually assaulted him, and then stabbed him, has been sentenced and put away. And so his story has promptly disappeared from the mainstream media.

But the case still troubles us, for several reasons. We can't believe that there's any possibility being left open of this guy ever walking the streets again -- but there is. We can't believe how little supervision there was of him, given his past record. And we can't believe the way law enforcement brushes off responsibility for the latest attack, and gets an easy pass from the media about it.

Let's start with Brown's history, courtesy of KATU:

According to news reports from KATU and others in 1993, Brown had unprotected sex with children and tried to infect them with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Prosecutors said he victimized nine kids, five of whom were exposed to HIV. He targeted both male and female children between two and eight years old.

Brown sexually assaulted children who were in the care of acquaintances, and gave those children drugs and alcohol, according to the sex offender registry.

He was not allowed to have contact with minors after his release or frequent places where minors regularly congregate.

He was paroled in 2004. His original sentence was 16 years, which means he would have gotten out of jail in 2009 whether his parole was denied or allowed.

At the time of the attack, Brown also had an outstanding warrant for a parole violation.

Then this past summer, he darn near kills an innocent kid:

[Brown] faced numerous charges including attempted murder, kidnapping and assault following a harrowing and bloody attack July 1 on a 10-year-old boy inside the Wendy's location on NE Sandy Boulevard.

After Brown grabbed the boy inside the Wendy’s restaurant, the boy fought back, and Brown then pulled him into a bathroom, tried to sexually assault him and stabbed him.

The boy's father tried to open the door but had to get the manager to unlock it. At that point, Brown opened the door, shoved the injured boy outside and then locked himself inside the restroom. Several people who were in the restaurant held the door shut until police arrived.

The boy was cut several times and was taken to the hospital where he underwent surgery.

Brown has been sentenced to 33 years. How many will he serve? And even when he's much older, why in heaven's name would we ever, ever want this man back out on the street? How many chances does society give him?

And how did he wind up in a Wendy's restroom victimizing another child? He'd violated his parole, repeatedly, and everyone knew he was dangerous as hell. Why wasn't there somebody with a badge and a gun tracking him down and locking him back up? As Maxine Bernstein at the O reports:

Continue reading "Wendy's child stabber case deserves further review" »

Could Hawthorne houses be saved as archeological objects?

An alert reader suggests (only half-kiddingly, we think) that the impending destruction of two century-old houses on Hawthorne Boulevard in Portland might be prevented if the horrified neighbors invoke the state's archeological protection laws. What? Would that theory fly? What would it take -- somebody discovering dinosaur bones in the yard?

Heck, no. In Oregon, artifacts can be considered archeological treasures even if they're only 75 years old. Seventy-five years! Don't look now, people, but that's 1947 1937. By that standard, an early Frank Sinatra Bing Crosby record might be considered a protected artifact. Hey, maybe the houses themselves could qualify as archeological objects!

Here's the legalese. It's a little bit of a stretch, but our reader may be on to something here:

358.920 Prohibited conduct. (1)(a) A person may not excavate, injure, destroy or alter an archaeological site or object or remove an archaeological object located on public or private lands in Oregon unless that activity is authorized by a permit issued under ORS 390.235...

358.905 *** (a) "Archaeological object" means an object that:

(A) Is at least 75 years old;

(B) Is part of the physical record of an indigenous or other culture found in the state or waters of the state; and

(C) Is material remains of past human life or activity that are of archaeological significance including, but not limited to, monuments, symbols, tools, facilities, technological by-products and dietary byproducts....

(c)(A) "Archaeological site" means a geographic locality in Oregon, including but not limited to submerged and submersible lands and the bed of the sea within the state’s jurisdiction, that contains archaeological objects and the contextual associations of the archaeological objects with:

(i) Each other; or

(ii) Biotic or geological remains or deposits.

(B) Examples of archaeological sites described in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph include but are not limited to shipwrecks, lithic quarries, house pit villages, camps, burials, lithic scatters, homesteads and townsites.

If these provisions are triggered, the developer who wants to tear down those houses would have to get a permit from the state -- apparently from the state parks department, even though the prohibition extends to private lands. A permit would probably take a while. At least it would buy some time for the neighbors to try to find another site for the houses. Let's hope Buckman goes for it, if for nothing else than the entertainment value.

Ooh that smell

It seems like not that long ago that we were handling diaper duties around Blog Central. The Mrs. was kind enough to do the heavy duty work in that department, especially the second time around. We got down into those trenches only on occasion, but we did take responsibility for getting the contents of the "diaper genie" emptied out into our garbage can when it was full.

We can't imagine what it must be like to run that sort of operation in Portland these days, when the garbage man won't take the diapers any more frequently than every two weeks...

But we digress. The point of this post is to reflect on a current news story out of Seattle, where a mother and her infant were kicked off a public bus because the child had an eye-watering load in his diaper. The mom is now suing the transit district, which seems more than a bit extreme, but then again, so was the bus driver's reaction. The whole saga is here.

Who was right? Before judging the driver too harshly, take note that the child was having bowel problems, and was on the way to the doctor's office. That was probably a particularly nasty No. 2.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Detroit has won the American League championship -- the pennant, as we used to call it -- and advances to play in the World Series, probably against St. Louis. We recall a wag at Mad magazine, who wrote this famous parody about 50 years ago:

Tigers, Tigers burning bright
In the ball parks of the night
Your pitching's fair, your field adroit,
So why no pennants for Detroit?

You blaze around the big league parks
With bats that fairly give off sparks,
But when they total up the score...
You've lost again to Baltimore.

The Cleveland Indians go to work.
They beat you good; so does New York.
When Boston adds a mortal blow,
All you can shout's "Look out below!"

Tigers, Tigers, burning bright
In the ball parks of the night.
Someday the fans will get their fill
And ship the team to Louisville.

Tonight the ballclub has answered that taunt. And the Yankees have unraveled completely. Condolences to our readers in Gotham.

Flocking to their 'dog

No fewer than nine players in our charity pro football underdog game have decided to fly with the birds over the bay tonight:

7.5 SEATTLE at San Francisco - NoPoGuy, Lucas, Michael K., Usual Kevin, Gordon, genop's gal, Sola, Bad Brad, Drewbob

Brave souls. Good luck to them!

UPDATE, 8:27 p.m.: The Niners win, and so our nine... er... don't.

Char-Lie jerks around some more on campaign cash limits

Even in apparent victory, Portland's next mayor just can't help breaking the promises he made to the public just a few months ago. There's such a strong odor of sleaze emanating from a guy who was already exuding quitter. He may not punch you in the face or the privates, but he and his greasy "deputies" are going to take your wallet for quite a ride.

We will not be a party to this. We're writing in Lavonne Griffin-Valade, the city auditor, for mayor.

Portland cops shine the feds on

After being told by the federal government that its members are unnecessarily brutal, especially to mentally ill people, the Portland police bureau says it's responding. But it's the usual response -- mostly vague talk, a token gesture here and there, but not addressing the core problems much, if at all. Here's the official party line:

Crisis Intervention Team

Recently, Chief Mike Reese met with members of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), as well as other mental health stakeholders and families whose loved ones struggle with mental illness. The group discussed how officers respond to these situations, which are complex and unfold quickly. Arriving officers most often do not know if the person is suffering from a medical problem, mental health issue, drug and alcohol issues, or some combination of two or more. With that in mind, the Chief is creating a Crisis Intervention Team - a volunteer specialized team.

Under this new model, the Police Bureau will continue training all officers in CIT, but we will also have a team of officers, who receive enhanced training to ensure they have consistent updates related to resources and mental health and addictions systems issues. These officers will continue to work their normal patrol duties, but can dispatched to a call in progress where mental health issues are the primary reason for the call. If no crisis calls are waiting, CIT Officers will perform their regular duties. In addition, these officers will work in coordination with the Mobile Crisis Unit to identify individuals in our community who have frequent police contact due to their mental health and/or addiction issues.

The internal bureau position announcement was posted on Monday and will involve officers currently working a uniform assignment. They will be selected after November 15, 2012.

Changes to Directives

The Bureau is also making changes to three Directives that involve force: Taser, Application of Force and Use of Deadly Force.

The Bureau already has a higher standard than the federal standard when it comes to use of force. But the Bureau aspires to continual improvement: These draft Directives are in response to the DOJ, but also contain changes that bring the Bureau in line with its current training as well as best practices in policing.

The Bureau is asking the community for feedback on all three draft Directives. After reading the directive, there is a place for community members to provide comments.

It sounds lovely, unless you've been following the issues closely, as O reporter Maxine Bernstein has done. She points out which aspects of the federal criticism are not being addressed, here:

The draft policies do not go as far as justice officials had sought in several areas. For example, federal officials urged the bureau to require officers involved in shootings to be interviewed immediately by detectives, instead of allowing a 48-hour wait after an incident.

The Justice Department also urged the city to restrict the number of Taser cycles an officer can fire at a suspect. The bureau did not adopt those standards in its draft policies but made other changes.

"These draft directives are in response to the DOJ, but also contain changes that bring the Bureau in line with its current training as well as best practices in policing," Reese said in a prepared statement.

Police union leaders and Multnomah County prosecutors said they discussed policy changes with Portland police in September, but they haven't had an opportunity to weigh into the written drafts until now.

Dan Handelman, of Portland Copwatch, said he was dismayed that the chief seems to be trying to get these policies in place, in order to avoid having the "DOJ direct them to make certain changes."

Despite the chief's request for public input, Handelman said, "it's more likely than not that they will put forward more moderate changes than the community demands."

One of the policies that really needs revisiting -- and which the bureau proposes to leave alone -- is the one about firing into an automobile as it is moving away from the officer. Portland police have fatally shot people in at least three such incidents in recent years, all prompting serious questions as to whether deadly force was really needed.

One reason for hard feelings in this area is that the governing policy is unworkable -- it makes no sense on the face of it. Here is how it reads (with the key sentence in bold, the emphasis added by us):

For the purposes of this policy, a moving vehicle itself shall not presumptively constitute a threat that justifies the member's use of deadly physical force. The member using deadly physical force must be able to clearly articulate the reason for the use of deadly physical force. Members shall not discharge a firearm at a person(s) in a moving vehicle unless one or both of the following criteria are met:

a. To counter an active threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or another person, by a person in the vehicle using means other than the vehicle.

b. There are no other means available at the time to avert or eliminate the threat.

Members threatened by an oncoming vehicle should attempt to move out of its path instead of discharging a firearm at it or any of its occupants.

It's that "one or both" language that's all screwed up. It gives the officer the right to fire in either of two situations -- "(a)" or "(b)." The problem is that (b) refers to (a) and makes no sense without reference to (a).

Either: (a) "To counter an active threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or another person, by a person in the vehicle using means other than the vehicle."

Or: (b) "There are no other means available at the time to avert or eliminate the threat."

What threat? The policy makes logical sense only if both (a) and (b) are present. But by its terms, it gives the officer the right to fire if "one or both" criteria are met.

If this were some obscure regulation about lunch reimbursements or cell phone use, bad drafting would be excusable. But this is literally about the life and death of unarmed residents. The fact that the basic standard of conduct is gibberish is a horrible statement about our city. And of course, there's no plan for meaningful reform.

There never is.

Weasel-on-weasel violence

Let's see... we have on the one side the ultimate Portland political fixer, Mark Wiener... and on the other, Josh Kardon, who fronted for Gatsby Wyden as he raked in his millions and moved to New York, all the while posing as a continuing resident of Portland. And they're pounding on each other on the internet. Why are we hoping that nobody stops the fight, even if somebody's badly wounded?

Buckman neighborhood meets tonight to close barn door

The folks who live near the imminent destruction of two turn-of-the-century homes on Hawthorne Boulevard -- to be replaced by a ghastly cr-apartment bunker -- are meeting tonight. Here's the announcement:

This Thursday, October 18th, a Buckman Community Association Land Use Meeting will be held to discuss proposed development at 2607/2625 SE Hawthorne Blvd. The meeting will be in the Multnomah County Board Room, 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 7-8:30pm.

These two magnificent and grand, 106 year old historic houses were recently purchased at the end of last month. The new owners plan to build a 4 story, 77 unit apartment building where these homes (currently full of commercial tenants) now lie. Here is what they currently look like.

The tenants were unaware the property was being sold and were all given immediate 30 day eviction notices. The former owner who has held these properties for decades has said he feels sick about the plans to tear them down and did not know this was planned. These properties are now in real danger of being demolished imminently to make way for this new, large development.

The developer, Aaron Jones has been invited to the meeting as well as SERA Principal Architect Kurt Schultz so they can hear concerns about this proposal, and give information to community members. Concerned members of the community are asked to attend. Ideas, suggestions and proposed solutions to save these important properties are welcome and wanted!!

Buckman had a chance to apply to become a historic district a while back, but residents were too worried about how that might restrict their own properties. And so now they're faced with the consequences of Portland's "smart growth" agenda, and there's probably nothing they can do to stop the wrecking ball.

Even with more money than Buckman has, probably the best that could be hoped for would be to move one or both of the houses to a nearby empty lot. Let's hope somebody steps up and they at least salvage that. But they need historic designation down there, and the sooner they wake up to that fact, the better.

Construction pork projects use a lot of concrete

And the Tribune, sister company to a concrete firm, endorses Mary Nolan for Portland City Council. Funny thing.

The Trib was born out of frustration with the powers that be in City Hall and the West Hills. Times have most definitely changed.

Adams says North Plains compost stench not Portland's fault

Yeah, right.

What the Sam Rands have done to the livability of the City of Portland is bad enough, but to see them crap up towns way out in the boonies, too? That's a real bummer.

We stopped the food slop ordeal at our house because it was a pain in the neck (and a vicious assault on the nose). But maybe other Portlanders ought to join us in getting a bigger garbage can for a different reason: to show solidarity with the rural communities that all of our hypocritical Portland "planning" is supposed to be protecting. North Plains won't stink if we go back to sending our table scraps to the landfill at Arlington, where the neighbors didn't seem to mind them at all.

It's the law

The ballots in Oregon's vote-by-mail election are scheduled to be mailed out starting tomorrow. As citizens prepare to open them and cast their votes, it's a good time for everyone to review our state's election laws. One important rule, sometimes overlooked, is this: When completing a ballot for a deceased relative or roommate, you are required to vote the same way that person would have voted if he or she were still alive. And sign their full legal name on the outside envelope. Thank you.

Underdog reminder

Players in our charity football game, if you're taking Seattle in tonight's game, the deadline for getting your pick in to us is 5:20 p.m. Pacific time.

Can't win for losing

Just when New Jersey attracts the NCAA basketball tournament to Newark for March Madness, it goes and starts up legalized sports gambling, which chases the college athletics gods away. Said gods are total hypocrites, of course, but it's their ball, and they can take it home. That's one less town competing with Portland for the spring tourney. Oregon ditched the "lottery's" pro football book to get the college games here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Never a good idea

When your designated driver is a hamster.

Federal courthouse underground garage needs $1.5 million fix

It's not yet clear how the concrete ramp and a horseshoe-shaped driveway degraded so quickly.

What is known is that the ramp and drive were poured 15 years ago into what the GSA calls metal structural pan decks. Such pans are shaped somewhat like a cookie sheet, but corrugated. Traffic over the concrete has caused the pan to flex, causing the concrete to splinter.

The pan deck will be yanked out of the garage and builders are expected to pour concrete around rebar to make a more solid foundation, Kenitzer said.

Concrete can crack for a variety of reasons, said Bart Eberwein, executive vice president of Hoffman Construction Co. of Oregon, which built the Hatfield courthouse. He said that if water seeped into the cracks, it could cause greater damage to the structure.

What the heck -- it's only taxpayer money.

Your tax quiz of the day

The O's tally of how much of her own money Nurse Amanda is spending to get re-elected to the Portland City Council just got revised from $250,000 to $300,000. Three hundred thousand Simoleons! Man, that ain't hay.

Here's a query for you tax types out there: How much of it will she get to write off on her and her husband's income tax return?

It could be worse

The Portland mayoral race has taken a bizarre turn, but it can't hold a candle to what's happening in the neighborhood of the Bush summer compound in Maine.

Now with something extra

Here's something to think about as you eat your Pacific Northwest salmon.

From "clean money" to her own

It's amazing, isn't it, that Portland city commissioner Amanda Fritz, who vehemently swore that she could never run for office without taxpayer financing, has come up with $250,000 of her own dough to run for re-election to her $100,000-a-year City Council gig?

Drinks before noon

This is pretty sad -- a young gal blowing a .36 at 11:30 in the morning in Dunthorpe.

City gets break on covering reservoirs -- no, not Portland

While Portland continues to burn mega-millions building underground water tanks, supposedly because the federal government gives us no choice, the City of Rochester, N.Y. just got a 10-year reprieve from doing so. So say the critics of Portland's out-of-control water bureau and tour service:

Documents recently obtained from the City of Rochester's water department reveal how that city with historic open reservoirs set in city parks received a deferral of EPA LT2 reservoir projects, until 2024. Rochester will be able to retain their historic open reservoirs and fully benefit from the LT2 rule revision scheduled for completion in 2016. Rochester argued, successfully, that severely strained budgets are reason for deferral, stating that the LT2 regulation "imposes expenditures that are too onerous..." The revelation is particularly noteworthy, as the Portland Water Bureau has stridently maintained that cities cannot cite economic hardship to secure an LT2 compliance delay.

You mean Portland City Hall is needlessly blowing money on engineering boondoggles? Perish the thought!

Did Moneybags Frohnmayer overcharge state by $300K?

According to WW's always juicy "Murmurs" column:

That’s the investigation into how a state contract business was steered to a partnership owned in part by Cylvia Hayes, Gov. John Kitzhaber’s companion. During the investigation, the Eugene law firm of Harrang Long represented Mark Long, Energy’s interim director, who was cleared of wrongdoing. The firm has served the state with an $871,000 legal bill.... Department of Justice attorneys told a judge the billings — by Bill Gary ($450 per hour) and former University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer ($550 per hour) — were excessive and the state should pay no more than $100,000. Last week, however, a Marion County judge awarded Harrang Long $562,569.

By our math, that's a $300,000 haircut.

Willy Week endorses Buehler, Nurse Amanda, Baldwin

They got those right. But Portland will never forgive them for assassinating Eileen Brady and thereby crowning Char-Lie. Never.

They're no on the arts tax, yes on the school construction pork tax, and -- you guessed it -- yes on legalizing pot. They're very big on the pot. The West Hills establishment, in a pot wrapper.

The whole pack of endorsements is here.

With so many news outlets against her, and her opponent all over the TV in the evenings, Kate Brown has got to be feeling at least a little nervous, don'tcha think?

Nutsy goes way off the deep end

Epically failed Portland mayoral candidate Jefferson Smith is writing bizarre notes again -- this time addressed not to the woman he beat in college, but rather to a reporter at the O (presumably Beth Slovic). In it, he actually has the gall to try to put the paper on the defensive for his own shabby personal history:

I don't think you ever asked me if I had been arrested or cited. Had you asked, I intended to answer. I didn't bring forward the information that has now become the primary focus of the mayors race. (Had I without permission I still don't think that was the right thing to do -- even though it might've been the smarter thing to do.) But I never intended to hide if asked, even as scared as I have been to talk about it (and I'm not proud of that fear)....

In any event, my reputation has been under some deep attacks over the past 2 months. I don't know if I'll recover or not. I know that a piece of that is your job. (Although I'm not sure the destruction motivation ought to be as big a part as it has seemed recently.) And I know that you are a gifted reporter. If I win, I will try to treat you as such. And I hope that something can be done to build some small semblance of trust.

"If I win"? The man is psychotic. He must never be elected to any public office, ever again.

Ashland gets Blumenauered

The dreaded "road diet" mania reaches the southern border of the state.

Some residents have welcomed the chance to add bike lanes to North Main Street as it comes into Ashland, but others have said it will lead to traffic congestion.

Some neighbors also are concerned about plans to restrict left turns at three intersections along North Main Street, which they have said will cause more traffic in neighborhoods as drivers seek out intersections that allow left hand turns.

So backward down there -- no streetcar, even.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Gearing up

Stenchy, the official Portland food slop rat, plans a big celebration
for the first anniversary of the city's new composting regime.

Time management

We didn't watch the presidential debate tonight. Our vote is already locked, and we'd rather save our shouting-at-the-TV capital for football on the weekend. But we drifted by the set while the rest of the house was watching. We heard all we needed to hear in 10 seconds. Romney said, "The middle class has been crushed over the last four years." We replied, "By guys like you, Mr. Rich Banker," and walked out of the room.

The Hillsboro huh?

The new minor league baseball team on the west side of Portland is going to be named after a vegetable:

Shades of the Stanford tree!

Our grandfather, who used to refer to any person he didn't like as a "hop in the a*s," would surely be amused.

Casino dudes give up

"The Grange" is dead. Let's turn the old dog track into open space.

What somebody else said on your behalf

The oddball "Oregon's Kitchen Table" poll has wrapped up its surveying, at least for a while, and the final results are posted here. Given that this is coming from Portland State, and vaguely smells like Metro, reader discretion is advised. The bias is palpable.

From Matt Wuerker

Copyright 2012 by Matt Wuerker. Used by permission.

In case you missed it

We did, at first: This photo. This story. [Via Tony Pierce.]

An early zombie

It's still a couple of weeks to Halloween, but here's an apparition from the political graveyard -- just in on our e-mail:

Does this guy have a day job? It would be a good idea.

Blaming Raoul

So many Portlanders are scratching their heads these days. What is the deal with that guy Jefferson Smith? Well, it's what we've been writing about on this blog for more than a year now: The fellow has several serious character flaws -- fatal to his holding significant public office.

Once you're with us that far, and you realize you can't vote for him, curiosity prompts some additional questions: How did he get that way, and why is he in politics?

A reader at Willy Week left an interesting comment yesterday. In it, he or she theorized that Smith is a victim of an overbearing father who has pushed him into politics as a way of playing out the dad's own fantasies and ambitions. "I am pretty sure," the reader writes, "that Jefferson, deep down in his unconscious, is trying to get off the hamster wheel his father has kept him chained to his whole life with all of these acts of self sabotage since childhood." The whole comment, at 5:55 here, is worth reading.

Although we don't know the Smiths personally, and probably neither does that commenter, his or her theory rings true. We've had the elder Smith, 77 years old, tagged as a Joe Kennedy wannabe for a while now. And it's interesting how he he has turned up at many key twists and turns in his nutty son's personal saga, even well into adulthood.

The younger Smith makes frequent references to his father. The official biography of the son, which is full of half-truths, says it was his father who ordered him to take a year off from being a student at the U. of O. -- with no mention of the fact that the son had just escaped a serious assault charge, and might have been thrown out of the school for a while to get a grip. When the story surfaced a few weeks ago of Smith's sending a woman half his size to the hospital for stitches -- after, she says, he unsuccessfully propositioned her -- Smith told reporters that one of his advisors on what to do about the news was his father. And who showed up to defend the son at one of the few traffic court hearings that he didn't simply blow off? His father, who had previously retired from law practice and apparently wasn't authorized to appear in court except in pro bono cases referred by legal aid organizations.

Joe Smith, who avoids his real name of Raoul, had political ambition as a younger man -- he was a Republican back in his Pendleton days -- but it didn't get too far. If indeed he has created the world in which his 39-year-old boy now finds himself, he didn't do the young one much of a favor.

Speak of the devil

Just when we were saying we hadn't seen coyotes in the neighborhood lately, the Mrs. reports spotting two yesterday morning at around 7:30 at 23rd and Fremont. They were coming off the Alameda Ridge and heading south. Walking right down the middle of the street. A little wary of cars, but not of people. Kitties, beware -- you, too, Stenchy.

'Dogs of Week 7 already up and at 'em

And so we might as well post 'em (in caps) for the contestants in our charity underdog game:

10.5 NEW YORK JETS at New England
7.5 SEATTLE at San Francisco (Thursday 5:20 Pacific)
6.5 WASHINGTON at New York Giants
6 ARIZONA at Minnesota
6 BALTIMORE at Houston
5 ST. LOUIS vs. Green Bay
5 DETROIT at Chicago (Monday, pick still due Sunday morning)
3 CLEVELAND at Indianapolis
3 TENNESSEE at Buffalo
2.5 TAMPA BAY vs. New Orleans
1 CAROLINA vs. Dallas
1 CINCINNATI vs. Pittsburgh

If you're going with Seattle (and that's an intriguing line), your pick is due by kickoff time Thursday afternoon. Everybody else, we're talking 10 a.m. Sunday. Good luck, players.

Well, well, well

Is that John Carter, former partner of Neil Goldschmidt, contributing $1,000 to Jamie Damon, Clackistani commission incumbent and key player in the rogue light rail bond deal? Why are we not surprised? Rebels, take note.

The PAC at the gas company, an absolute den of Goldschmidtery, also kicked her $500.

Mitt: job creator or vulture?

David Stockman weighs in here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tough night on NE Glisan

Police report a hit and run with a pedestrian victim (at 60th -- a most busy intersection) and a fatal shooting (at 92nd Place). Within the same hour, but no connection, apparently.

Darkness where there had been light

Our day job as a tax professional is a lot more colorful and interesting than most people might think. One of the great discoveries of a career in this field is how many bright, funny, accomplished, caring, creative characters spend their lives helping people and companies deal with taxes. We've never regretted going into tax law, even though as a young college graduate we never had the foggiest notion that it was something we might pursue. And mostly our career satisfaction is because of the fine people we've met on the job.

The world has one fewer of those people walking around in it tonight. Merritt Yoelin left us this morning. We had many a great conversation with him over the years, and he was someone that younger practitioners could look up to. He was active in a lot of community organizations, and he loved Portland. He'll be missed, by clients and business associates, by other community activists, and by loved ones. Condolences to them all.

Dear Portland creative class

As you can tell, there's nothing for you to do for a living in Portland, and the old geezers are tiring of you. Here's the answer: Charleston, West Virginia.

Smith's many other victims

We feel sorry for the woman whom Portland mayoral joke candidate Jefferson Smith punched in the face 18 years ago, but we feel almost as sorry for the graduating class of 2012 at the U of O, who had to listen to that windbag as its commencement speaker. What an inspirational moment, not. Who in the administration down there gets credit for that selection?

Try our "urban renewal" hot tubs

OHSU is still trying to get people to join the dippy spa that they insisted that the taxpayers build them in their Shangri-La in the SoWhat District:

Why is it that whenever OHSU talks to us about wellness, we feel a little ill?

Lake O. is going nine-story-condo crazy

A reader down in Lake O. (Motto: "Keep Out") writes with the latest on the "urban renewal" shenanigans being perpetrated down that way by none other than Homer Williams himself:

Evil is afoot in Lake Oswego, and it's not even Halloween yet. Last Monday the LO Planning Commission held two public hearings on Comp Plan Updates relating to Connected Communities and Foothills Mixed Use (FMU) Zone and Related Amendments. It's a mouthful, and in the past, would have been a snoozer. However, this time it is anything but.

The documents posted on the hearing webpage (link) are loaded with hidden surprises. If the targeted agenda item (Foothills development) weren't bad enough, there are policies, goals, and wording about more awful stuff to come. If this gets passed and an urban renewal district is formed (and bonds are sold or other funding found) before Jack Hoffman's tenure is up (remember, Lake Oswego is a part of Clackistan), only idiots will want to live here. Maybe some planners? Here are some highlights:

* Development in the mixed use zone will have a height restriction of 90 feet, or about nine stories, with a lot coverage of 100%.

* The floodplain that engulfs most of the area has been determined to be not an issue after all. A new technical report says Foothills can fly under Metro's codes if there is no net flooding posed by development.

* The new FMU zone is to replace zoning designations of I (industrial), R-0 (high-density housing), P (public), PNA (Public and Natural Areas), and maybe another. Focus on the P and PNA for a moment -- this means Tryon Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, Tryon Cove Park, Foothills Park, and Roher Park, including the water sports facilities and river frontage.

* Wording suggesting Foothills is planning on becoming an "eco-district" with reference to the Portland Plan.

* A wide plaza of steps leading from downtown to the district called a "vertical park" and that will be donated to the city (for maintenance and liability is my guess). Trading riverfront natural area for concrete?

* Foothills Special District is to be a multi-modal area with access to transit options of all kinds. Right now that includes walking, biking, auto and bus. Maybe a streetcar sooner than later. Space is being planned for a rail transfer station.

* Policy/goal statements that put mixed-use zoning along the Kruse Way Centerpointe business corridor to include high density residential, retail to support the housing, and access to regional transit. Another transit-oriented development.

This is just a portion of the transformational plans and codes that will change our small town forever. People who wanted the development trusted Williams, Dame & White when they assured us that the buildings would not top five stories and you wouldn't even see them from downtown (maybe the rooftops if you were on State Street). And what is the plan for our parks? And the waste treatment plant? Are these to be turned over to developers to meet their goals? The plan doesn't say. The limited facts are buried in the text.

This entire process is reminiscent of the way the South Waterfront District was bullied through the Portland planning process. Developers attempted to calm angry citizens with the proposed design of skinny buildings that would allow sight lines to the river. There was supposed to be a park, and other pre-development promises that after the fact were trampled in the dust as they rushed towards a bigger and more lucrative payday. WDW even uses the same tag line for Foothills as they used for South Waterfront -- "the city's next great neighborhood." Lake Oswego citizens are nothing more than an obstacle to their building on a riverfront piece of land they can get for a bargain with gullible, desperate-for-a-legacy politicians who think WDW mean anything they say.

These are terrible documents, but Lake Oswegans (and anyone who might have to deal with slimy developers) should read them and be prepared to testify at the hearings. They were adjourned but not concluded, and will resume on the 22nd. Read Projects LU 12-0033 and LU 12-0032 on left side of page. The agenda packet is only half of the pie.

There is definitely a foul smell in the air here, and it is coming from City Hall. Comparatively, the sewage treatment plant that Homer doesn't like smells like a rose.

We see that there's an election about to be held for mayor and a member of the city council down there. This ought to be criterion no. 1 in deciding how to vote in those races. We hope that they save the town from these developers. They've already stolen Portland's future, and we don't want to pay for any more streetcars, no matter where they go.

Weighty matters

The Oregon voters' pamphlet got here the other day. The darn thing weighs in at 156 pages -- nine ounces. And on every page, vital information.

Ain't government grand?

Measure 84 appears to open giant income tax loophole

We wrote about this a while back, but it's worth repeating as the election draws nigh. Ballot measure 84, which would kill the Oregon estate tax, would also create an enormous gap in the Oregon personal income tax. It forbids any tax on transfers of property between family members, and that would include the income tax. And so anyone about to turn a profit on a sale of property could simply sell it to their family member first, tax-free, and then the family member could sell it to the outside buyer without incurring any tax themselves.

Here's an example. Mom has stock that she bought for $1,000. Today it's worth $5,000. Mom sells it to her daughter for $5,000. Under Measure 84, Mom pays no income tax on her profit. Later, the daughter sells on the market for $5,000. Daughter pays no tax because daughter made no profit -- she sold only for her cost.

Maybe that's not what the drafters of Measure 84 intended, but that's what it does. The legislature could cope with this, we suppose, by redefining the daughter's tax basis for calculating profit to be only $1,000, the same as Mom's, but that shouldn't be necessary. Whatever one thinks of estate and inheritance taxes, the only sane vote on a poorly drafted tax measure like this one is no. Let the haters of the "death tax" come back with a straightforward repeal of that tax, with a savings clause to prevent the preposterous drain on the income tax.

Water on the Sylvan overpass!

We were pretty amused to turn on the late news last night and see the top story: It's raining in Portland. Raining pretty hard. Things are going to get wet. Roads are going to be slippery. The hype went on for several minutes. "We've already had a quarter of an inch of rain today!"

Too funny. And they're just warming up for next month, when the snow hysteria will begin. In fact, they couldn't help but tell us last night that it might snow on Mount Hood this week. News you can't live without.

More late night street holdups in NE Portland

This outbreak last week (slightly NSFW) didn't even make the papers, although there are reportedly two arrests with multiple robbery counts. 16th and Killingsworth at quarter to three in the morning? As Cheech and Chong used to say, "How 'bout a watch? I know y’all ain’t got a watch, ‘cuz if you had a watch you’d know it’s night time. And night time ain’t no time to be in this here neighborhood.”

Radiation spiking in Pacific Northwest air

Over the last several weeks, radiation measurement devices in Corvallis and Spokane have been recording some major increases in airborne radiation, according to this site. Here are the Corvallis charts, and here's Spokane. Something happened on September 17, and is still happening.

Funny thing, the Portland beta chart is blank -- it's that crackerjack State of Oregon radiation monitoring program. (Motto: "Nothing to see here, folks.") But the gamma numbers are clearly elevated.

Where is the hot stuff coming from? You've got to think it's the all-time world's worst nuclear power plant accident, Fukushima, which is still in progress and spewing all sorts of nasty stuff into the environment. Maybe the molten fuel from the triple meltdown has left the buildings and is now interacting with the ground and water. But really -- who knows what this is about? And if the nucle-heads in government knew, they probably wouldn't tell us the truth, anyway. Certainly Tokyo Electric, now nationalized, isn't breathing an honest word.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pro football goes to the 'dogs

The puppies were a-mighty cute today in the NFL, with all five 5-point underdogs winning their games outright this weekend. Combined with a Seattle win for 3.5 points, 31 players in our charity prognostication game earned points, with only 11 being left blank for the weekend. Nobody in our group is in on Denver tomorrow night, and so here are our standings at the close of Week 6:

Continue reading "Pro football goes to the 'dogs" »

Moment of silence for "Donny Reb"

Don McIntire died this past week. He was the guy who brought the property tax revolution to Oregon. He made a lot of enemies doing so, but not us. What he did saved a lot of poor and elderly people from being taxed out of their homes by the insatiable maw of bureaucracy. It was something that needed to be done, and he did it. He was one of those handful of Oregonians -- like Lloyd Marbet and Dan Meek -- who show us what one person can still do to make a difference.

We never met McIntire, but we did take his name in vain when we did a photo spoof about the suggestion once circulated that Gresham should secede from Multnomah County. (The posts were here, here, and here.) We caricatured McIntire, as well as some other public figures, and he was quite the good sport about it. Thought it was funny. That was the whole point.

From what we hear, he was a great guy. We'll be thinking about him as this year's election drama unfolds. Our condolences to his friends and loved ones.

What's taking Smith so long to withdraw?

His mayoral campaign in tatters, Portland's girl-whackin', gold-brickin', court-skippin', dues-skippin', bad-drivin', half-truth-tellin', detail-missin', always-apologizin' community organizer hangs in there, even as endorser after endorser washes its hands of him. Why doesn't he just give up and urge his followers to write in Eileen Brady?

Our guess is there's more dirt out there that his enemies are holding back, and he figures that if he bows out now, they'll spring it on him in the future when he tries for Congress, or whatever office he's crazy enough to think he can still get elected to. Maybe if he keeps campaigning for mayor, he can flush the rest of it out now and try to come back later, saying he's rehabbed from all of it.

If that's the case, somebody please tell him that he's kidding himself. He's toast, everybody knows it, and his detractors are going to save the rest of their cards for later no matter how much he acts like he's still viable.

What truly puzzles us is what this fellow is going to do for a living come the morning after the election. Who would hire him? He's radioactive.

Convention center business is a no-win proposition

And it's only going to get worse, as this story, and especially this graphic, illustrate. And that's for cities with decent airline service. Portland should start converting its convention center into something even mildly useful. The floor is open to your suggestions.

Peck of pickers pick Packers

The players in our charity pro football underdog game have chosen these underdogs to win their games outright:

9.5 OAKLAND at Atlanta - Bob, Gary, MickeyMacNYC
5 NEW YORK GIANTS at San Francisco - George, Annie, Bad Brad
5 DETROIT at Philadelphia - PDXileinOmaha, Gordon, Usual Kevin, John Ch.
5 BUFFALO at Arizona - Broadway Joe, Coastal Storm
5 GREEN BAY at Houston - Michael K., Bayou Baby, Rudie, Jeremy, JMH, Biggest Cubs Loser, Tinknocker, Juicen, Will, Dr. D, Grizfan, DB Cooper, Tung, Eric W., Drewbob
5 TENNESSEE vs. Pittsburgh (Thursday, winner) - Pete Rozelle, Lucas, Pdxmick
3.5 KANSAS CITY at Tampa Bay - Carol
3.5 ST. LOUIS at Miami - Dave A., Sola, Ricardo, Pete Rose, Cinderella Story
3.5 SEATTLE vs. New England - NoPoGuy, genop, genop's gal, Ted
3 INDIANAPOLIS at New York Jets - Paul

It's hard for us to see a banged-up Wisconsin team coming out ahead of Houston, which seems capable of doing what it takes to win. But hey, if we were so smart, we'd be rich.

Have a great day and enjoy the pigskin action, everybody.

UPDATE, 1:58 p.m.: The Lions prevail in OT. Smart pick.

UPDATE, 9:33 p.m.: The Giants, the Seahawks, the Bills, and yes, the Packers all deliver as well. All the 5's win.

Our solemn vow

If we ever make so much money with this blog that we owe the IRS $140,000, we'll gladly pay up. [Via TaxProf Blog.]

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Another Fukushima casualty -- in Dunthorpe

Yesterday came the news that Japan is selling off its consul's mansion in the toney Dunthorpe district just south of the Portland city line. The country's official headquarters address moves down to the slums of Lake Oswego.

This never would have happened back when Japan was on a roll. But it hasn't been in quite a while, and after the triple meltdown in Fukushima, there's no prospect of it bouncing back for another generation or more. Fire sales are the order of the day.

Feds wimp out a little further on PoPo brutality

When the federal Justice Department held its big press conference to report that the Portland police are unnecessarily violent, we knew that nothing would come of it. Now it appears that it will take a little longer than originally expected for nothing to happen.

Baldwin for Supreme Court

We're voting for Judge Richard Baldwin for Oregon Supreme Court. Not because his brother is such a star on the TV show "30 Rock," but because he's an experienced trial judge. The main job of the state's highest court -- probably 95% of what it does -- is figure out whether a trial court made a mistake. It's bad when nobody on the court has walked in the trial judge's shoes. Baldwin's opponent, Nena Cook, has spun her résumé to look like she's got substantial judicial experience, but in reality it's less than that.

We voted for Baldwin in the primary and were pleased to see him make it to the runoff. We're blackening the circle for him again.

Finding Nutsy's victim

We had an interesting day yesterday. Got a call from Charlie Burr of the moribund Jefferson Smith mayoral campaign. It seems that one of our readers, in a comment on this blog, had correctly identified the victim of the 1993 assault whose disclosure set off the self-destruction of Smith as a politician. Burr asked us to take the identification down.

It wasn't too hard for the reader to get the name. The copy of the police report that was circulating on the internet had a sending fax number on it that belonged to a company in which a relative of the victim was involved. With a quick check of a free online search service like BeenVerified or 123people, the reader was able to find a company official's female relative who was the right age and once lived in Eugene. The call from Burr confirmed that the reader's sleuthing had reached the right result.

We thought for a while about leaving the comment up -- which would probably worsen Smith's insoluble problems somewhat -- but then decided to join the mainstream media and leave her name out if it.

But we will say this: As we understand it, she is currently married to a Portland police officer. Old Nutsy is lucky that he didn't get his family jewels shot off when he showed up at her house unannounced last week. Especially the second time.

Strike 1 for Oswego Lake access lawsuit

The troublemakers trying to get the courts to open Oswego Lake to the public have been thrown out of federal court. Judge Haggerty there has determined that he doesn't have to take the case, and he doesn't want to. Off to state court they go.

Jail Duck chronicles, cont'd

A prominent player on the UC Nike football team was busted for driving under the influence the other night. Presumably alcohol. Hey, now that he might get tested for pot, he's got to cop a buzz somehow, and then he's got to get home. The NCAA should let the schools pay for these guys to hire cabs.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Walgreen's succumbs

Their baseball team suffered an ignominious defeat tonight at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals, who now advance to the National League finals against the Giants. It seems that the W's ran out of pitching.

Have a great weekend

Right-wing dilemma

Whom to hate more -- Solyndra or the IRS?

Here's the flop

With just a week to go before the ballots are mailed out in Oregon, we got a piece of election porn in the snail mail yesterday: a glossy four-pager (8½ by 11 inches per page) from the folks pushing a private casino out in Wood Village. Lots of green ink urging us to educate ourself:

Here was an interesting graphic inside:

We're voting no, because if there's going to be a casino in the Portland area, it should right downtown and there should be no private profit. Or tribal profit, for that matter.

O on Portland school tax: Give them more money, then pray

The pending ballot measure on the Portland school construction pork tax is downright depressing. It's essentially the same deal that the voters rejected last year, only with the mortgage stretched out longer so that the annual payments are lower. Somehow this makes it more "affordable," and so the Portland sheep are apparently going to pass it.

The city's daily (for now) newspaper just endorsed it, even though the editors over there seem to admit that the school's academic program is declining into the lousy zone. According to the O, the solution is to give the school bureaucrats all the money they want for facilities, and then urge them to get their act together with everything else. Somehow that's going to wake them up, and they'll shape up -- honest.

The bond itself is only part of the story, of course. The district also must show that the bond is connected to a larger effort to improve schools and maintain properties over time. Let's face it: Voters won't --and shouldn't -- be enthusiastic about multiple bond proposals if the district doesn't significantly improve its dropout rate and show real progress on school quality, which will require unprecedented cooperation between management and union leaders.

What a twisted concept of accountability, but so typical of the O's editorial stances over the last several decades. Say one thing, do another, and hope for the best.

The school bond will build LEED-certified study halls, from which the high schoolers will continue to sneak out and smoke pot. Academic quality will continue to decline, and taxes will continue to go up. Perfect! Sounds about as promising as the O's own strategy for dealing with the internet.

It's okay to vote no on this one, peeps. Let's tell Super Carole to either get it together over there or step down.

There goes another one

A reader sends along this photo of Multnomah Boulevard over in the Lloyd District, where it appears that motorists are about to lose a lane in favor of the morally superior bicycle people:

The children running the city's corrupt transportation bureau have been bragging for a while now about how they'll be putting the Lloyd District on a "road diet." Now it begins. Glad we're not trying to operate a business over there.

Now that the city's made downtown utterly repulsive to small business, it's going to do the same thing to the inner east side. With lots of borrowed money, of course. Less tax revenue, more mortgage -- but somehow it's all going to work out. Brilliant people like Earl the Pearl and Bicycle Rex say it will. Good luck with that.

Randy's nemesis getting his way on Cindy's site

That homeless camp at NW Fourth and Burnside -- the one that Portland City Hall was trying to get rid of -- is still there, a year later. Apparently they just pay a $1,200 monthly "fine" to the city, and rock on. This is the site long targeted by Fireman Randy and his "hit" squad of inspectors, who ran an adult bookstore off and later wouldn't allow the owner to open a food cart pod there. It will be amusing if, when the Sam Rands leave office, the encampment remains.

Season of the *itch

Felonies and gourds have one very important commonality: they’re both extremely f***ing real. Sorry if that’s upsetting, but I’m not doing you any favors by shielding you from this anymore.

NSFW, obviously, but the whole piece is here.

As Nutsy flames out, Nurse Amanda is a must-keep

Now that it's clear that Char-Lie will be the next mayor of Portland, it's time to focus on the Nolan-Fritz race for the City Council seat being vacated by a big-time Nutsy Smith supporter, Admiral Randy. With Hales primed to send every public penny he can to developer types like Homer Williams and Mark Edlen -- Lincoln High School will be replaced by apartments, the Convention Center hotel will go up, and don't be surprised if the sustainability center is resurrected -- Nolan would be a disaster. She is clearly coming from the same angle as Hales, much to the real estate weasels' delight, only with an even higher level of arrogance. Her husband, Mark Gardiner, was a big player in the first PGE Park rehab fiasco; he funneled money for Goldschmidt on the state investment council, and his fingerprints extend even to the OHSU aerial tram [rim shot].

Let's face it, Fritz can be as thick as the rest of them, but at least she goes her own way once in a while. Nolan is Goldschmidt Party, through and through, and installing her on the council with Hales, Novick, Saltzman, and Jelly Fish would continue the excesses of the dark Katz-Adams period, maybe even make them worse. While we've got the clothespin on our nose and are voting for Obama, we're scanning down and voting for Fritz. She's the only hope for an occasional voice of reason on what is going to be a harrowingly ugly city council.

UPDATE. 11:48 a.m.: As a reader points out, Fritz is actually running to keep her own seat. The Admiral bequeathed his to Novick.

Gatsby Wyden's Republican cred bolstered in VP debate

And of course, he lies about what happened with his health plan with Paul Ryan. It was just a "white paper," Gatsby says. Bullcrap, Ron. It was a proposal for legislation -- the Wyden Ryan Plan. Your own press release said so, here.

The latest denials are reminiscent of Wyden's claim to live in Portland -- so preposterous that it's hard to believe he'd even try to pass them off.

225 more pink slips at Vestas in Colorado

Portland's supposed savior in the "green economy" can't seem to save itself.

Mob busts numerous bank windows on Portland's east side

Portland's adorable anarchists strike again. This time a roving gang of 50, breaking bank windows on Hawthorne Boulevard in southeast and on MLK in northeast last night. Throwing bottles and rocks at pedestrians. Last seen heading back into the Buckman neighborhood, no doubt for a post-bash Pabst.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bay Area baseball salvages split

The Giants have done the improbable -- won three straight playoff games on the road and made it to the National League finals. Oakland won a couple of games at home, but succumbed this evening to Justin Verlander, who pitched a complete-game, four-hit shutout for the Tigers.

Three 'dog pickers go with Thursday's pooch

We've been watching the baseball playoffs and have neglected to mention that three players in our charity pro football underdog game have chosen the Tennessee Titmice tonight:

5 TENNESSEE vs. Pittsburgh - Pete Rozelle, Lucas, Pdxmick

At this writing, the game is tied late. Everybody else in our contest, your pick for the week is due Sunday morning at 10 Pacific.

UPDATE, 8:50 p.m.: Tennessee wins with a field goal with just seconds left. Five points each for the three players.

Rats jumping off S.S. Nutsy

It's so over. He's headed toward Jesse Cornett territory now.

Say it loud

The supporters of John Ludlow for Clackistan County chair have got to be taking a deep inhale. Think of how gratifying it is going to be for them to say no to all of these birds:

Since Ludlow forced Lehan into a run-off in the May Primary Election, Lehan has received contributions from Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen, former Multnomah County Commissioner Lisa Naito, Metro President Tom Hughes, Metro Councilor Carlotta Collette, Metro Councilor-elect Bob Stacey, Clackamas County Commissioner-elect Martha Schrader, Washington County Commissioner Dick Schouten and Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman. Ludlow has only received a contribution from Damascus Mayor Steve Spinnett.

One vote will say so much to so many.

Speaking of falling for it

The Trib endorses Char-Lie, explaining:

Fortunately for voters, Hales has all the qualities necessary to be a good mayor. He has specific ideas for fostering a better business climate in Portland and for re-examining city priorities. He pledges to redirect resources away from pet projects and administrative overhead to better fund basic needs such as street paving and sidewalks.

Four important words they left out: Homer Williams and Mark Edlen. The only basic need Hales cares about is making those two birds richer.

So many people, so little judgment

Look at this long list of people who fell for Jefferson Smith's phony baloney. Either that, or they knew what he was, and figured they could get something from him. All of them were wrong. Will any of them withdraw their endorsements in the week that remains before the ballots are mailed out?

UPDATE, 1:05 p.m.: Here's one who's wisely jumped ship. And others are reportedly pondering a pullout.

Another lovely Portland cop

From all appearances, he's dangerous and less than candid. He apparently can't even go home from his desk job without nearly killing somebody. "I dropped my gun, and at that exact moment, a firecracker went off somewhere nearby."

A fake address on the registration of his truck, of course -- standard PoPo procedure. And now his punishment is to retire on a nice fat pension, which of course is completely unfunded.

Jefferson Smith was a youth counselor in college?

Now that we know all about Nutsy Smith's checkered career in college, complete with a criminal rap for assault on a woman half his size, his story about his academic career starts to sound a lot more like classic Smith -- that is, a half-truth at best. Here's his tale, as told by the Tribune:

Smith recalls losing his temper often during high school and his first couple years at the University of Oregon, even getting into fights at the tavern.

"I was kind of an angry dude," Smith said.

Smith’s father is a former Mormon, and recalled many benefits from his two-year missionary stint for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The elder Smith, seeing his son skating through college, ordered him to take a year off for community service work.

Jefferson became a youth counselor in Lane County, and then ran youth sports programs for inner-city African-Americans in Washington, D.C.

He was "skating through college" -- really? Sounds more like a guy who should have been thrown out of college for a year or two to think things over. Who knows? Maybe he was. And he was counseling kids, given his record? What organization would put him in that position? Did they know about his violent streak?

Smith talks about "getting into fights at the tavern," but leaves out the part about the kegger where he sent a woman to the hospital and had to divert his way out of criminal assault charges. Smith and his father sure took that Trib reporter for a ride.

We've already wondered aloud whether Nutsy disclosed his arrest record in his applications to the New York bar (where he was never sworn in despite passing the grueling bar exam) and the Oregon bar. Do you think he disclosed it on his Harvard Law School application? Maybe a reporter will ask him. He probably won't remember, and alas, there was that tragic storage unit fire....

Smith is now an inactive member of the Oregon bar. If he ever wants the right to practice law again, he'll have to reactivate, which means getting vetted again by the bar fitness folks. No doubt they'd have some questions now that they didn't have last time around.

Or maybe he'll just go back to running the three murky, interlocking entities collectively known as the Bus Project, for relatively crummy pay. As one reader remarked here yesterday, it's time to him to formulate a Plan B for his 40s, which begin this coming June. A term at City Hall does not seem to be in the offing.

Portland school, library taxes way ahead in new poll

And the head tax for the arts is supposedly neck and neck, with 58% of those polled still undecided on that one. You've got to scroll down past the mayoral malarkey, but the poll results are here.

Man, that's messed up

Steve Nash in a Laker uniform.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fluoride foes say they have 35,000 signatures

Dear Admiral Randy,

Kiss off.

Your pals,
The people you are supposed to be representing

Truly, a great moment in Portland history. And we still want to have our signature on one of those petitions somewhere.

Coco Crisp!

If you don't know the meaning of those words, you should. The A's and the Giants have each tied their series in major league baseball. On the brink of elimination Monday, both Bay Area teams are now on the brink of making it to the final playoff rounds in their respective leagues.

Run, Toto, run!

A familiar face returns to the Oregon Senate.

Wendy's child-stabbing molester gets 33 years

Why there is any possibility of this monster ever being allowed out of prison is truly beyond us. If life without the possibility of parole is not available and actually imposed in a case such as this, then something is seriously wrong.

Wheeler disses Nutsy on Facebook

Hales landslide in progress.

Char-Lie would change sit-lie

At least that's what his campaign manager is telling our reader who wrote him to complain about the thugs roaming the streets of downtown Portland with their pitbulls:

Thank you so much for reaching out to the campaign and bringing up this issue. It is a huge problem, and certainly one of the firsts things we hear from people visiting Portland. Be assured that as Mayor, Charlie will work to make change. First, the current sit-lie ordinance needs to be revamped to help make our sidewalks usable and friendly, while not violating the constitution.

Charlie believes that at the same time, there needs to be more funding from the legislature and the private sector that goes into efforts to prevent and help homelessness at the roots. We have incredible non-profits like New Avenues for Youth working on homelessness and mental health issues, but they can only do so much with the funding they have. Places like the new Bud Clark Commons are a great start - daybeds, showers, lockers. Charlie wants more of those services. Places like the Q Center, which is understaffed, underfunded and yet still do amazing work to provide counseling to our LGBTQ youth and helps to get them off the street. Charlie believes funding for this work has to be included in our funding requests in Salem and he'll lead the charge.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Evyn Mitchel
Campaign Manager
Charlie Hales for Mayor

The part about running to Salem is a real cop-out. More showers and daybeds aren't going to help cut down the number of vicious street punks. And when Char-Lie decides he doesn't really want to change sit-lie, he'll dismiss this message as another mistake by one of his staff members that he knew nothing about. But at least somebody from his camp, one day, said "the current sit-lie ordinance needs to be revamped." It's something.

Vestas tells some employees to stay home tomorrow

Sounds like some more pink slips will be issued in Colorado.

Portlandia: It's to die for, cont'd

Last week, the Portland police released a heart-rending report detailing many recent calls to aid people whose mental illness had advanced to a dangerous state. There were a couple of suicides in the mix.

On Monday, they issued another one, just as awful. It too is worth reading, and we should ask ourselves why the city is focusing on bioswales and streetcars when its people's minds and souls are rotting away:

Continue reading "Portlandia: It's to die for, cont'd" »

Fremont cr-apartment foes lawyer up

The neighbors who are trying to take a stand against the scoundrels who are going to steal their parking for a soulless apartment bunker revealed the other day that they're likely hiring an attorney. It's a valiant gesture, but we're not confident that it's going to get them anywhere.

The sad part is that most of the outraged neighbors will probably vote for Char-Lie Hales for mayor. He's the cr-apartment weasels' bestest, bestest friend forever, but Portland voters are notoriously stupid.

What -- no Calvin Natt?

Portland city government is in the crapper -- has been for quite a while. For a couple of decades now, the City Council has decided that it is primarily interested in real estate development, especially cr-apartments, and everything else has been going to pot. One of the saddest reflections of this grim reality was cutting the hours of the police precincts, and even closing a couple of them. Once they started doing that, you knew the place was on the rocks.

Now, with no prior public discussion of which we're aware, the city says it's going to reopen the southeast precinct, at 47th and Burnside, for business. They're going to have a little party, and former Trail Blazer players Jerome Kersey and Bobby Gross are going to be there. That's pretty bizarre when you think about it, but okay, let's reopen the precinct.

46 press releases, but about what?

Her opponents are giving Oregon secretary of state Kate Brown a hard time. Yesterday she endured the indignity of having to go to Bend and defend her record in office. Her strongest opponent, Knute Buehler, kept using the word "underperforming." Sounds about right to us. Between the labor commissioner election date fiasco and negligently letting the Portland school board scofflaws go free, we'd give her a pretty weak grade.

You can do this

But it's a little space for a long name. Write small.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Great moments on the internet, cont'd

Tax reform? Dream on.

The toupees on Capitol Hill will never get it done.


Your love and help and donations and advice and willingness to listen, your openness and reaching out, still get us through each day, each week, each season. Thank you, everyone. Really.

80 more pink slips at Vestas

One wonders how long they will keep a Portland office open if they keep doing this.

Dear Charlie

A reader whom we admire sends along this message that she just sent to Portland mayoral frontrunner Charlie Hales:

I am a third generation native and have spent many of my professional years as an attorney working downtown (although I rarely go downtown at night). Last Saturday night, my husband and I were downtown for a wedding. We arrived a bit early to grab a drink. At Portland Prime. The wedding was at Kells.

We were both STUNNED to witness the hordes of aggressive panhandlers / street kids with too many pit bulls to count harassing tourists, making rude and inappropriate comments to us when we would not give money and at one point, blocking our car door. Not surprising, Portland Prime was virtually empty. The tourists in line at Voodoo Donuts looked scared.

Downtown Portland, once the thriving epicenter of the city, is going to hell. And it's getting worse every day because the current mayor and city council are too afraid to actually back the business owners and citizens for fear of not being uber liberal/friendly to our homeless population. I was a public defender for 7 years. I assure you that many of the homeless are not from here, but make Portland part of their traveling circuit (based on the mild weather) BECAUSE OUR LAWS ARE SO LENIENT!!!

Charlie, excuse my French, but it is going to take some real balls to do something about this situation. It will mean you being attacked as unsympathetic, conservative, etc.

Are you willing to do something? If so, what? When? How?

You have no idea how much I love my city. But enough is enough and we need a drastic change. I look forward to hearing from you.

Fiddling with Nero

Mayor Sam Adams and the Regional Arts & Culture Council are pleased to announce a new volunteer role in the City of Portland – the Creative Laureate. This program seeks to select a creative professional to serve as the City’s “cultural ambassador” and as an advocate for the vibrant and engaged creative community in Portland. The Laureate will utilize the position and the Office of the Mayor as a platform from which to inspire and promote the diverse and dynamic array of Portland’s creative communities, organizations, businesses and individuals. The Laureate will be selected annually to serve a one-year term.

The only right outcome in Clackistan

The Bluebirds are circling their wagons around Clackistan county chair Charlotte Lehan. She's in a close re-election race against John Ludlow. Here's Jonathan Poisner over in Jefferson Smith Land crowing about how important it is to the county, the region, and indeed the world that Lehan be re-elected.

We agree with Poisner that this is an important election, but we come out the other way. The voters of Clackistan have made it clear, on multiple occasions, that they do not want light rail from their area to Portland. Lehan and her colleagues on the county board have decided that they know better than the voters about that. When that sort of thing happens, the voters' only recourse is to vote the rascals out. As was graphically illustrated in the recent light rail bond fiasco, the courts aren't going to help, even when laws appear to have been broken. And so now the only right thing to happen is for Lehan to be replaced. She can go work for Metro, or Portland State, or some other refuge for local political burnouts. She really does not deserve a paycheck from taxpayers whose clear wishes she chooses to ignore.

Friends tell us that Lehan is a wonderful person, and that Ludlow is a hothead. Even if that's true, it's important that a change be made.

Portland streetcar is wonderful -- isn't it?

We had an interesting conversation this afternoon with Lynn Horsley, a reporter for the Kansas City Star. She's writing an article about the streetcar that's about to be built in that city's downtown. So far all she's heard are good things about Portland's streetcar system, and she wondered what could possibly go wrong.

We did what we could to tell her, but it was hard to know where to begin. It sounded as though she needed to hear from more Portlanders with a command of the facts and issues surrounding the streetcar. If you're interested in chiming in, her e-mail address is here.

Which 'dog will have its day in Week 6?

Here are the line for this week's entries in our charity pro football underdog game. Only three home 'dogs this time around, at 5, 3.5, and 1:

9.5 OAKLAND at Atlanta
5 NEW YORK GIANTS at San Francisco
5 DETROIT at Philadelphia
5 BUFFALO at Arizona
5 GREEN BAY at Houston
5 TENNESSEE vs. Pittsburgh (Thursday 5:20 p.m. Pacific)
3.5 KANSAS CITY at Tampa Bay
3.5 ST. LOUIS at Miami
3.5 SEATTLE vs. New England
3.5 DALLAS at Baltimore
3 INDIANAPOLIS at New York Jets
2.5 MINNESOTA at Washington
1 CLEVELAND vs. Cincinnati
1 DENVER at San Diego (Monday night, pick still due 10 a.m. Sunday)

The standings are here. Good luck, players!

Did Pearl "quiet zone" contribute to Amtrak bike wreck?

Not much more news on Sunday afternoon's unpleasant interaction between a Seattle-bound Amtrak train and a guy on a bicycle in the area of the Pearl District. As a reader points out, that's where the trains have been ordered to minimize their whistle-tooting because the precious residents of the nearby Pearly condos don't like the racket. Did that have anything to do with the accident? What happened?

Channel 6 has a photo of the wrecked bike, here. It's not a hipster fixie, but more like a geezer recumbent. And here's the cyclist -- not your Spandex type, by any means. It still would be nice to know what went wrong in the multi-modal mecca.

Avakian leads press release charge in September

The state labor commissioner pumps out nine press releases from his state office during the month, in addition to who knows how many out of his campaign. Secretary of State Kate Brown, who's got her hands full with Ferris Knute Buehler, comes in second with six. The state treasurer and attorney general, whose jobs are secure for four more years, generate just two apiece. The tally for the year, now three quarters gone, is here.

Average students screwed again by the Ducks

When the athletic department at UC Nike wants land for a new jock palace, the suits in charge of the university hand it over to them for a dollar. But when the jocks tire of a building and walk away from it, the academics have to pay nearly $500,000 a year to use it. Just another disgrace that happens when you sell your soul to be more like the University of Alabama. The fearless UO Matters blog has the story here.

"Made in Oregon" made in China

A puzzle on more than one level.

Reader poll: Who's the craziest, Adams, Smith, or Wu?

If there was any doubt that politics in Portlandia is attracting a highly unstable breed of bird, the saga of Jefferson Smith seals that truth. At this point he seems even flakier than Mayor Creepy, and right up there with defrocked Congressman David Wu. If you had to pick the worst screwball out of that trio, which one would it be?

Who's the craziest?
pollcode.com free polls 

Latest from Portland City Hall: Asphalt is good for your health

The charade of study and public involvement surrounding the pending pave-over of bald eagle habitat on West Hayden Island by the Port and City of Portland continues apace. Now the Goldschmidt people pushing the new shipping terminal have blown who knows how much money on a "health study." The city, the county, and a couple of other odd-looking outfits were involved. And guess what: The study is quick to point out that all that wonderful development is going to create jobs, and well, jobs are good for your health:

If that doesn't make you throw up in your mouth a little, nothing will.

High heaven calls to complain about stink

If we lived in West Linn, there's no way we would vote for anybody who pulled a reckless stunt like this. As they used to say on The Gong Show, "Gong!"

Bay Area baseball on the brink

Both the Giants and the Athletics face the formidable task of winning three straight playoff games, starting this afternoon. At least the A's will be at home the rest of the series; the Giants will be on the road. It was a rough weekend on the diamond for that metropolis, that's for sure.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday night fizzle-ball

The Jets did not prevail this evening -- Mark Sanchez was horrible and should be benched -- and so the standings in our charity pro football pool stand where they were last night, but without the asterisks. Week 6 lines will be posted sometime tomorrow.

Nutsy's career is coming to a close

Jefferson Smith is imploding. Read all about it in Willamette Wiener.

Bad news in Corvallis

The quarterback who's led the Beavers to a national ranking needs knee surgery.

Who says Portland doesn't want single-family houses?

City Hall will be delighted with these.

Portland leaf tax is back

As a reminder of just how awful Portland city government has become, here's your notice that the city will be charging people to sweep the streets in front of their homes again this year. If you want to "opt out" of paying (either $15 or $30), you have until the day after Halloween.

There really is no hope for Portland as long as shinola like this goes on. The Sam Rand Twins have wrecked the place.

For Cascadia Cup, Timbers must win in B.C.

If the Portland lads lose or tie in Vancouver on the 21st, Seattle keeps the regional cup. After last night's spanking in Seattle, the Timbers are 0-12-4 on the road this season. Like the ladies sang, it's gonna take a miracle.

Water lawsuit records leaked

The folks who are suing the City of Portland for misuse of water and sewer funds have been doing some digging, and they've uncovered several revealing documents about just how cavalierly Admiral Randy and his minions illegally diverted ratepayer dollars to pet projects unrelated to providing water or sewer service. The finds make for interesting reading, to be sure -- Nick "Jelly" Fish is more seriously tainted than we ever imagined, for example -- but we're not so sure that airing the documents out in the media is a smart strategy.

If we were the judge in that lawsuit, we would not be amused by the plaintiffs trying the case in the press. The discovery process in litigation shouldn't be employed to create splashy news stories. If the opponents of the city's obvious misconduct are serious about meaningful reform, they ought to stop calling reporters and focus instead on getting an airtight remedy from the courts. There'll be plenty of time for media exposés later.

Reader poll: Which Hales statement was untrue?

Portland mayoral candidate Charlie Hales filed his tax returns as a Washington State resident for six years, even though he voted in Oregon during that time. The two are incompatible, because the test for Oregon residency is the same for both voting and tax purposes: domicile. Oregon law clearly states that an individual can have only one domicile at any one time.

When critics point this out, the Hales backers cough and mumble something, but it never holds water. His two positions are inconsistent on their face.

Willfully lying about one's residence for either Oregon voting purposes or Oregon tax purposes is a Class C felony. But if Hales committed a felony, it was only one, not two, because he did have his domicile in one place or the other.

Which statement do you think was untrue?

Which Hales statement wasn't true?
pollcode.com free polls 

The sustainability center is dead, for now

The City of Portland's wildly extravagant plan to build a super-green office building -- where everyone would pay premium rent to sweat in the summer, freeze in the winter, enjoy the aroma of compost toilets, and drink rainwater and recycled pee all year long -- was pronounced dead by Mayor Creepy last Friday. The official tab of money blown: $2.3 million, but hey, this being Portland, that number's probably lowballed.

Think of all the good that could have been done with that dough. Heavy sigh.

It's probably the last we'll hear about the project for a while, but since it's a Mark Edlen special, it's almost a certainty to come back at some point. Taxpayers, keep your money belts zipped and covered.

Special thanks once again to this fellow from Roseburg for stopping the insanity.

Now, readers, as we leave this topic, please swallow your coffee before you read the mayor's goofball epitaph for the boondoggle:

The OSC itself will not be built, but the effort has paid dividends to local firms involved in its planning:

-- Last year, Interface Engineering landed a huge five-year contract for work in Qatar to transform a city center into a cohesive, energy- and water-efficient district using the knowledge they developed during the OSC design.

-- Skanska Construction’s part in the OSC gave them the skills set to land other large green building projects, with two projects under way on the east coast.

-- GBD Architects have found themselves in demand for large scale redevelopment in Portland applying the strategic energy and water conservation techniques they developed doing design work for OSC.

-- SERA Architect’s OSC experience focused on climate responsive design has helped them to expand to regional and national markets.

-- Participation in projects like the OSC enabled Gerding Edlen to raise an equity fund focused on green, transit-oriented projects despite extremely challenging times in the real estate market.

Just the planning process of the OSC has created new opportunities for the city, the country and the world.

Sure. Sure it has.

In the long run, she'll be fine

Former Miss Oregon Rachel Berry, who gives her hometown as Burbank, California, ran the Portland Marathon in 3:55:43 yesterday. Her mom was also here, finishing in 4:44:04; and her younger sister ran the half in 1:55:53. Pretty impressive all the way around. They're good people, from what we can tell -- just not Oregonians.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Blast from the past

Ever since the iPhone took over our gadget world several years ago, we've been using the earbuds that come with the phones for audio. But we've never really liked them. They're uncomfortable, they slip around quite a bit, and unless we continuously press them in with our hands, we can rarely get decent sound.

The other day we dug around in a drawer and found a pair of old-fashioned Sony Walkman headphones, the kind with the wire rack that goes over your head. We took them out for a jog this evening with an iPod. They made a world of difference.

Granted, there's no microphone and no clicker to send signals to the gadget, but for a lot of our contexts, there's no need for those. It's worth it to hear what's going on with greater clarity.

We saw a TV commercial the other night that suggested that the iPhone 5 comes with better earbuds than previous models did. Barring a lottery hit, we won't be upgrading our phones any time soon, and so it will be a while before we can try the new ones out. In the meantime, we're rockin' old school.

No cigar for 29 'dog pickers

The San Diego Bolts did not deliver this evening, meaning that only seven players picked up points today in our charity pro football underdog game. We've still got six players riding on the Jets in Jersey tomorrow night, and they're marked with asterisks in our revised standings:

Continue reading "No cigar for 29 'dog pickers" »

Another great Portland cycling moment

Hit by an Amtrak train.

And monkeys could quite possibly fly out of my butt

The Timbers are on the road this evening against Seattle, and the Portland soccer children are nattering on about how a win would clinch the local cup for Portland. They're either not noticing or not mentioning that the one and only time the Timbers have won an away game this year was a preseason game in Los Angeles on February 7. That was eight months ago.

UPDATE, 8:58 p.m.: Timbers 0, Sounders 3.

Intel doesn't want Bull Run water?

Here's an interesting excerpt from a story about how Hillsboro is likely going to drink out of the Willamette rather than buy water from Portland:

Although the water from the Bull Run Reservoir is clean, it is unfiltered and varies too much in quality for many of Hillsboro’s industrial customers. As a result, the department concluded it would need to build a plant to treat Portland's water on its way to the city.

It's hard to square that with Portland's frequent "best water in the world" boast.

As for Hillsboro:

After studying a variety of options, including raising the Scoggins Dam in Hagg Lake and buying water from Portland, the commission is leaning toward drawing water from the Willamette River near Wilsonville to help meet the city's future needs.

An analysis by the Hillsboro Water Department concludes that is the most affordable option, even though it requires building a water treatment plant in Wilsonville and a 20-mile pipeline to the city.

Nearly every 'dog is adopted

The players in our charity pro football underdog game have made their choices for Week 5, and here they are:

10 BUFFALO at San Francisco - Gary, Bob
9.5 CLEVELAND at New York Giants - Eric W.
9 NEW YORK JETS vs. Houston (Monday) - Pete Rozelle, Bayou Baby, Biggest Cubs Loser, Dr. D, Annie, Drewbob
7 INDIANAPOLIS vs. Green Bay - Ted, pdxmick
6.5 DENVER at New England - Dave A., Usual Kevin, Sola, NoPoGuy, PDXileinOmaha, Tinknocker, Broadway Joe, Juicen, JMH, DB Cooper
6 TENNESSEE at Minnesota - Carol, Rudie, Gordon, John Cr.
5.5 JACKSONVILLE vs. Chicago - Coastal Storm
5 KANSAS CITY vs. Baltimore - Cinderella Story, MickeyMac
4 MIAMI at Cincinnati - Jeremy, Will, Paul, Ricardo
3.5 SAN DIEGO at New Orleans - Lucas, Tung, Bad Brad, John Ch., genop's gal
3.5 PHILADELPHIA at Pittsburgh - George, Michael K., Grizfan
3 SEATTLE at Carolina - genop
3 WASHINGTON vs. Atlanta - Pete Rose

Only one 'dog was not given a good home -- Cleveland. [And even it got a player's endorsement, see UPDATE below. -- JB] Meanwhile, 10 players out of the group are riding on Peyton Manning over Tom Brady in that classic matchup in Massachusetts. (Unfortunately, we in Portland will probably be stuck with the Seahawks at that hour on CBS.)

And now for our weekly notice: These are the picks as of earlier this morning, several hours before the deadline. (This post is being triggered by a robot.) If additional picks have come in (or changes have been made) after this post was written but before the deadline, they will be added to this post as soon as we can get to it later today.

Have a glorious Sunday and enjoy the games, everyone!

UPDATE, 1:48 p.m.: Lo and behold, in a pick early this morning, Eric W. chose Cleveland, meaning all of the underdogs were taken in. Morning picks by Drewbob and MickeyMac have also been entered.

UPDATE, 1:52 p.m.: Indy and Miami get it done in the first games.

UPDATE, 3:59 p.m.: Seattle wins an afternooner for genop.

Why vote-by-mail is a bad idea

The New York Times may love Portland, but it doesn't love the way we vote.

[V]otes cast by mail are less likely to be counted, more likely to be compromised and more likely to be contested than those cast in a voting booth, statistics show. Election officials reject almost 2 percent of ballots cast by mail, double the rate for in-person voting....

In Florida, people affiliated with political campaigns "help people vote absentee," he said. "And help is in quotation marks."...

There is a bipartisan consensus that voting by mail, whatever its impact, is more easily abused than other forms. In a 2005 report signed by President Jimmy Carter and James A. Baker III, who served as secretary of state under the first President George Bush, the Commission on Federal Election Reform concluded, "Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud."

On the most basic level, absentee voting replaces the oversight that exists at polling places with something akin to an honor system.

"Absentee voting is to voting in person," Judge Richard A. Posner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has written, "as a take-home exam is to a proctored one."

The whole thing is well worth reading. And then let the denial of reality by weird-keepin' Oregonians resume.

Killing our own

If you wonder why we have little trust in government, just read this. And if like us you ever looked at this, you'd never fully trust what the government told you, ever again.

Teach your children well.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

"Jefferson Boo Boo"

Speaking of Bill McDonald, he's got a great take on Portland's loser politician du jour, here. You'd better read it now, before Nutsy's parents arm-twist the Bluebirds to take it down.

God bless America

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well.

Spin spin spin from Gatsby's apologists

The friends and followers of Senator Ron Wyden (R-N.Y.) keep fibbing about what he and Paul Ryan did together about health care, less than a year ago. Kari Chisholm at Blue Oregon in particular keeps shouting to anyone who will listen that Wyden and Ryan just wrote a "white paper" together. That's complete malarkey. It was clearly a proposal for legislation.

Indeed, Wyden himself touted it as the "Wyden-Ryan Plan" and a "proposal" for legislation. Not a "white paper" -- a plan and a proposal. Wyden's own press release, using those terms, is here.

Sure he's embarrassed now, as he darn well ought to be. The episode exposes him as the sellout that he is. But lying about what happened isn't going to help old Gatsby's reputation, east or west of the Hudson River.

What could go wrong?

Tri-Met tickets are coming to your smart phone. Maybe.

From Daoud

Our friend and frequent contributor Bill McDonald's brother, David, is in the Peace Corps in Morocco. His nickname over there is Daoud. This week a couple of items came across the airwaves from him, and Bill's passed them along. First, a wonderful photo:

Click on it for a bigger version. Gorgeous. Bill writes: "You could call it 'Sky Over Morocco.' He feels a little sheepish that it was so easy to get -- he didn't spend six months in the jungle, or anything, getting the perfect shot. The truth is, he was on the roof hanging up his laundry."

Later in the week, the brother wrote:

As you probably heard in the news, Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in Libya, was a Peace Corps volunteer (PCV) in Morocco during the 1980s. At a recent Peace Corps meeting, one of my fellow PCVs, Melanie Kondrat, told me that she was going to visit the village were Stevens worked as it was near her site. What a brilliant idea and she has now posted her story on her blog:


I have been in the Peace Corps long enough and like it so much that it really does feel like one of our extended family members has been tragically taken away. I think Melanie did a great job writing her story. Please share this link with anyone or any organization (like your local newspaper) if you think they might want to know more about Chris Stevens's impact as a Peace Corps volunteer.

And so we have.

Get away from it all

And we mean really far away, with this 360-degree photo from Mars. Go full screen, and you are there. Pretty amazing. [Via Cousin Jim.]

Double header

The candidates are back from the hunt.

Friday, October 5, 2012

They have the time, the time of their life

We haven't seen any coyotes around the neighborhood lately. For a while there they were a regular sight. Here's what they're up to in Chicago.

More problems with Apple Maps

Complaints continue to pour in from all over.

Have a great weekend

Hockey penalty: two weeks for slashing

As in, their own throats.

Uh oh

We hear there's a tree down and a resulting power outage on Barbur Boulevard near Terwilliger. On a Friday afternoon? Holy cow, that's a recipe for gridlock.

There's no place as absurd as Portland

The boys are back at Fifth and Washington on the wastefully re-done Portland transit mall, once again massaging the delicate Euro-bricks:

This has been going for at least a year and a half now -- the most tended bricks in the history of the human race. It's hysterical until you realize that your property taxes are paying for it.

OMG! Portland cops busting aggressive panhandlers?

Gadzooks! Our eyes deceive us.

Missed opportunity

Nutsy and Char-Lie are debating live at the City Club, streaming here. Wish we had known in advance -- this calls for a drinking game.

Campaign finance reform? The Wizard will see you tomorrow.

The Oregon Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the campaign finance reform ballot measures that half passed and half failed in 2006 are not in effect at all, even though part of the part that did pass is probably constitutional. The legal issues are a tangled rat's nest, but the bottom line is that the court's decision is a victory for the Oregon secretary of state, Kate Brown, who doesn't want to enforce any of it.

There's still apparently a theoretical possibility that someone could bring a lawsuit and get a portion of the package enforced, but given that in six years that hasn't happened, as a practical matter it would probably take another successful ballot measure to get campaign finance restrictions imposed. And even then, although the measure could make everything peachy under state law, you'd still have to get it past the U.S. Supreme Court, which thinks that having the political system run by corporate money is essential to a free society.

It's the water

The childish infighting at the Clackistan water board continues. We don't know precisely what the problem is with the governance of the water system down there. All the nasty babble going back and forth on the intertubes assumes that the reader has been following what's been going on. We haven't been. Is it part of the larger rebellion against the Portland agenda, or is it trouble of a different sort?

Get ready, Portland

This equipment will surely be part of the Portland bike share program:

(Mouse on photo to activate.)

We are not making this up, either.

Portland City Council covers up truth about West Hayden Island

This is so typical of the arrogance that emanates from the Goldschmidt people at the Port of Portland and the circus performers on the Portland City Council:

Those are crossed-out sections of a consultant's "economic opportunities analysis" that relate to the paving over of bald eagle habitat on West Hayden Island for a useless Port shipping terminal. At the Port's behest, the City Council eliminated these references from the document this week before it adopted an ordinance revising the city's almighty comprehensive plan (Motto: "You will live the way we tell you to live, comrade"). Of course, Sustainable Susan, czarina of all things planning, recommended the censorship, no doubt as instructed.

Well, they can censor all they want, but the public knows the truth. Another shipping terminal on Hayden Island is not needed. Portland is a second-rate shipping destination, and that situation is only going to get worse as ships gets deeper. Besides, there are plenty of other nearby ports, like Vancouver, that can handle whatever traffic is mysteriously going to appear 90 miles in from the ocean on the Columbia River. The wildlife values of West Hayden are being sacrificed to construction dudes and union bosses and other cronies of the Goldschmidt cabal, with little public benefit. And nobody's supposed to say anything. "Green" Portland, my eye.

Fifty years on

The Beatles' first recording, "Love Me Do," was released on this day in 1962.

Celebrity endorsement

Night and day

We wrote a few weeks ago about our favorite radio show, hosted by Jonathan Schwartz, being moved from Saturday afternoon New York time to Saturday evening. We fretted that the move might be tough on Schwartz, who's in his 70's now, since he also has a show on Sunday afternoon.

We fretted needlessly. The Saturday show is recorded on Saturday afternoon and played back (on WNYC-FM in New York) on Saturday evening. Not only that, but it is streamed live while it's being recorded, as well as being heard when it's being played back. And so listeners on the internet can catch the show at either of two times. For those of us on the West Coast, that's either 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; or 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday.

The later stream is at the usual places: on wnyc.org; on iTunes under talk radio, WNYC-FM; or on Sirius/XM satellite channel 4. The earlier stream, however, is at a place all its own: http://wnyc-special.streamguys.org/wnyc-special.m3u.

Alas, the Sunday show is not streamed, as far as we know. For that, one has to either subscribe to satellite radio, or go to New York.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Portlandia: It's to die for

While Portland prepares to elect Char-Lie Hales mayor and build more dopey streetcars and hideous cr-apartments; while Multnomah County plans its new personnel building in the spiffy new "urban renewal" district that will condo-ize Lincoln High School; and while the Metro government sells the taxpayers out for a Hyatt hotel, people all over town are going off their rockers. Here's a remarkable press release this afternoon from the city's police bureau:

On Monday October 1, 2012, 4:28 p.m., Portland Police officers assigned to North Precinct responded to the St. John's Bridge on a report of a male sitting by himself on the railing. As officers were responding to the scene, additional callers reported hearing a gunshot and then seeing a body fall into the river below.

Officers arrived on scene and found what appeared to be blood spatter on the outside of the bridge super-structure. Officers also observed a bullet laying on the super-structure in the same area.

Portland Fire and Rescue and Multnomah County Sheriff's Office river patrol responded and located the body of an African American male adult in the river with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the head.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner determined that the man, 48-year-old Edison Kevin Jackson died of a single gunshot wound to the head.

At 10:00 p.m., officers assigned to Central Precinct responded to the West side of the Hawthorne Bridge on a report of a female who jumped over the railing of Waterfront Park into the river. A Portland Fire & Rescue boat responded to rescue the 17-year-old female from the river. Medical personnel transported the young woman to a Portland hospital for a mental health evaluation.

On Tuesday October 2, 2012, at 6:54 p.m., officers assigned to East Precinct responded to the report of a woman inside the shed of a vacant house at Northeast 84th Avenue and Fremont Street.

Officers arrive to find the 41-year-old woman pouring the pesticide Diazinon in her hair. It was readily apparent to officers that the woman was in mental crisis. She was able to communicate to officers that she was killing the bugs that were crawling on her.

The woman left the shed and began walking away from officers. Officers followed the woman at a distance as they called Poison Control. Poison Control advised the officers that Portland Fire and Rescue Haz Mat needed to respond to effectively decontaminate the woman.

Fire personnel arrived and work with officers to develop a way to safely approach the woman and get her decontaminated. The woman was screaming at both fire and police personnel as they developed a plan to approach her. Eventually the woman agreed to let firefighters approach her so they used full SCBA protection to approach her and decontaminate her.

Medical personnel transported the woman to an area hospital for a mental health evaluation.

At 7:20 p.m., Central Precinct officers responded to the West end of the Steel Bridge after receiving a 9-1-1 call from a 39-year-old male who said he was feeling sad and wanted to die. Officers located the man who told police he was off of his medication and wanted to end his life.

Officers transported the man to a Portland hospital for a mental health evaluation.

At 10:34 p.m., Central Precinct officers responded to Northwest 15th Avenue and Pettygrove Street on the report that a man was going to attempt suicide by jumping off of a bridge.

Officers contacted the 53-year-old man by phone who told police that he was upset about some things in his personal life and wanted to kill himself. Officers convinced the man to wait and meet with them and he agreed.

When officers contacted him, they offered to take the man to a hospital to talk with someone about his distress. The man agreed and officers transported him to a Portland hospital.

On Wednesday October 3, 2012, at 5:17 p.m., East Precinct officers responded to a residence in the 6800 block of Northeast Glisan Street on the report of a 50-year-old suicidal man with a knife. Officers talked to the man's brother who told police that his brother had a knife and asked that he (the brother) kill him.

The brother left the residence and called 9-1-1 and told police that their 73-year-old mother was still inside and she had limited mobility.

Officers set up containment on the house and the suicidal man came outside and was safely taken into custody. The man was transported to a Portland hospital for a mental health examination.

Officers were at the residence in March for a similar incident.

At 5:39 p.m., East Precinct officers responded to an apartment in the 16100 block of Southeast Alder Street to assist Project Respond on the report of a suicidal woman who threatened suicide by taking "pills" and "booze."

Officers repeatedly knocked at the apartment door but received no response. Concerned for the 29-year-old woman's welfare, officers forced entry into the apartment and found the woman unconscious on the couch.

Medical personnel responded and transported the woman to a Portland hospital for treatment for a drug overdose and mental health examination.

At 7:44 p.m., East Precinct officers responded to a call of a 22-year-old man who stated he wanted to kill himself by riding his bicycle into traffic in the area of 105th Avenue and Southeast Cherry Blossom Drive.

Arriving officers located the man on his bicycle in the middle of traffic. Officers contacted the man who told police that he wanted to kill himself and wanted to kill his former roommate.

Officers placed a police hold on the man and transported him to a Portland hospital for a mental health evaluation.

At 11:20 p.m., East Precinct officers responded to a suicide at a residence in the 14000 block of Southeast Main Street.

Arriving officers were contacted by the grandmother and friend of the deceased, 19-year-old Justin Barker. The friend told police that he and Barker were in the garage consuming drugs and alcohol and that Barker was playing "Russian Roulette" with a handgun. Barker's friend told police that that Barker shot himself in the head.

Homicide Detectives, Criminalists from the Forensic Evidence Division and the Oregon State Medical Examiner responded to conduct a death investigation, which the Medical Examiner determined was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Do you think Portland would be a better place to live if we spent less public money on real estate development and more on mental health services? Just a crazy thought.

An unwanted chihuahua

We didn't expect any of the players in our charity pro football underdog game to take the one-point Rams in tonight's game, and none of them did. At this writing, they are ahead, 10-3, at home.

Let's hope they're right

The people who oppose pumping fluoride into Portland's water supply say they have enough signatures to force a citywide public vote on the issue. However you feel about the question, you ought to agree that it's something that the public should get to vote on directly. The City Council doesn't want that, though, because they made a back room deal with corporate engineers about this a long time ago.

Let's hope the signatures clear the fine tooth comb to which they'll doubtlessly be subjected. Let's hope the Sam Rand Twins are sent on their way before they're able to hand more mega-millions over to their engineer and construction cronies while flipping the bird once again to the rest of us.

As for the underlying question, given the fact that government is literally ramming this down our throats, we start with a presumptive vote of "no."

By the way, there are still a few days of signature gathering left. Does anybody know where in town we can go to sign?

Get off my lawn -- it costs more than your house

With all the neighborhoods in Portland who are having parking problems inflicted on them these days, guess which neighborhood's going to get parking help from City Hall first. Just guess.

Sharpen your pencil

Here in Multnomah County, they say the ballots will be mailed out two weeks from tomorrow. Ballots for the military have already been mailed.

Under Oregon election procedures, early mailing of the ballots ensures that everyone has a chance to cast a vote, including dead people.

A way with words

Whoever's running the website at KATU (channel 2) has got a great thing going. One of their stock moves in translating a television story to the web is to use a quotation by one of the subjects of the story as the headline of the web post. For those of us who are tracking the stories on a feed that supplies only the headlines, these quotes are irresistible. Here's one that we couldn't help but click on, and there's one like that over there seemingly every day.

As for the subject of the story, it's an unspeakable tragedy. Nothing anybody could say could come close to what the family is feeling. And so the headline writer let the family speak for itself. Nice job.

Hawthorne cr-apartment bunker: 77 units

This is Portland now. The soul of the city is being ripped out. And with Char-Lie Hales at the helm, it's going to get much, much worse.

At least we're not the only one writing about it. O editors, you're welcome.

Mission Creep Question of the Day

Why is the Portland parks bureau running preschools?

(Follow-up question: Does parks bureau money spent on preschools count as education funding for purposes of Measures 5 and 50?)

Celebrity endorsement

"Buy local" may not be such a good idea

At least not if what you're buying is streetcars. Aw, what the heck -- nobody's riding the east side line anyway, and west side ridership is down, too. But the streetcars make the cr-apartment developers happy, and that's what's important. Just ask the all-time streetcar shill, Char-Lie Hales.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Obama loses debate

Just when it has become clear that he's the lesser of two evils, wham! He flubs the thing he's the most reliable for -- talking to the camera. The President's a sellout, but he's our sellout. Let's hope he isn't a flunkout. Stop practicing with Windsurfer Prettyboy Kerry and grow a pair, O!

Vestas closes offices in three cities around country

Houston; Marlborough, Mass.; and Louisville, Colo. Is Portland next?

Oxymoron o' the Day

Healthy convenience store.

Oregon law corner

Today we're starting a new feature on this blog -- spotlighting Oregon state law, as a public service. Here are some interesting provisions that Portlanders might want to think about:

314.075 Evading requirements of law prohibited. No person, or officer or employee of a corporation or a member or employee of a partnership, shall, with intent to evade any requirement of any law imposing taxes upon or measured by net income or any lawful requirement of the Department of Revenue thereunder:

(1) Fail to pay any tax or to make, sign or verify any return or to supply any information required;

(2) Make, render, sign or verify any false or fraudulent return or statement; or

(3) Supply any false or fraudulent information.

314.991 Penalties.

(1) A person or an officer or employee of a corporation or a member or employee of a partnership who violates ORS 314.075 is liable to a penalty of not more than $1,000, to be recovered by the Attorney General, in the name of the state, by action in any court of competent jurisdiction, and is also guilty of a Class C felony. The penalties provided in this subsection shall be additional to all other penalties in this chapter.

247.171 State and federal voter registration cards.

* * * * *

(3) Each voter registration card designed or approved by the Secretary of State shall describe the penalties for knowingly supplying false information on the registration card and shall contain space for a person to provide the following information:

(a) Full name;

(b) Residence address, mailing address or any other information necessary to locate the residence of the person offering to register to vote;

(c) The name of the political party with which the person is affiliated, if any;

(d) Date of birth;

(e) An indication that the person is a citizen of the United States; and

(f) A signature attesting to the fact that the person is qualified to be an elector.

(4) Any form containing a voter registration card may also include space for a person to provide:

(a) A telephone number where the person may be contacted; and

(b) If previously registered to vote in this state, the name then supplied by the person and the county and, if known, the address of previous registration.

(5) A person shall not supply any information under subsection (3) or (4) of this section knowing it to be false.

260.993 Criminal penalties.

* * * * *

(2) Violation of ORS * * * 247.171(5) * * * is a Class C felony.

161.605 Maximum prison terms for felonies.

The maximum term of an indeterminate sentence of imprisonment for a felony is as follows:

* * * * *

(3) For a Class C felony, 5 years.

Tune in again tomorrow, when we'll spotlight other statutes. Maybe bribery and bank fraud would be good.

One more thing to scream at the referees about

At first we thought this was a joke, but apparently it's for real. Nicolas Batum, get your checkbook out now.

Here's lookin' up your records

A couple of readers have suggested that there must still be a court file somewhere on the Jeffy Smith 1993 assault case in Eugene Municipal Court. We'll buy a nice lunch for anyone who can dig it up. The case number, as we now all know, is 93-16737.

Caption contest

We'll get you started: "What am I going to do when he's around the house all the time?"

The liberal case against the Portland head tax

Willy Week gets to it today, after some hemming and hawing:

Emily Nazarov, Portland organizer of Stand for Children, says her group has not yet taken a position on the measure, but its members are taking a skeptical view.

"We have some serious concerns whether the measure will deliver on its promise of music and art teachers in every school," Nazarov says. "The proposed tax imposes a financial burden on schools. And the tax is poorly structured and hits low-income working families hardest."...

The measure creates permanent taxpayer funding for local arts groups, including the city’s wealthiest. Nearly $4 million a year would go to groups such as the Oregon Symphony, the Portland Art Museum and the Portland Opera—organizations that sell high-priced tickets, rely on private donors and already enjoy large endowments.

Not to mention it's unconstitutional. The "no" vote on this one needs to be loud.

Leadership gap on Aisle 3

The CEO of New Seasons Markets is quitting. It all sounds fairly amicable, but she's leaving November 2 and there's no mention of a replacement coming in until after the holidays. That seems a little odd. Is there more going on here than meets the eye?

Train wreck footage

Here's a sit-down interview between KATU and Mr. & Mrs. Nutsy Smith last night (brief commercial first):

Dry enough for ya?

They're talking about assigning names to winter storms now. But they're arguing about who should do it. It seems that this year there will be dueling names.

Forget about storms for the moment, though. Right now we're in a major drought here in the Pacific Northwest. Droughts should get names, too. Here at bojack.org StormCenter 9000.2, we're designating the current lack of precipitation Amanda -- the first drought of the season.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Nutsy's victim got stitches

And contrary to the vague version of events offered at yesterday's goofball press conference, an eyewitness doesn't remember either the Portland mayoral candidate or the person he assaulted being visibly drunk:

"He bopped her in the face. I can't remember if it was closed hand or open hand," Kleen, who lives in California, told The Oregonian in a telephone interview. "He finally just bopped her one. ... It was just a little pop. He didn't reach back and coldcock her. She screamed and started crying and went to the hospital."

One of Nutsy's pals said yesterday that maybe he just poked her with his finger. Uh huh. And can you believe he claimed to have forgot about the stitches? Old Jeffy is starting to look as though he belongs in an institution other than government.

Meanwhile, here's a hysterical kiss-up from Kari Chisholm at Blue Oregon. Don't worry, Kari -- the guy's career is over. You can go back to pillow talk with Ron Wyden now.

Cinco de Perros

Here are the lines for this week's round, Week 5, in our charity pro football underdog game. The 'dogs are in caps. See any one that can win its game outright?

10 BUFFALO at San Francisco
9.5 CLEVELAND at New York Giants
9 NEW YORK JETS vs. Houston (Monday, pick still due Sunday morning)
7 INDIANAPOLIS vs. Green Bay
6.5 DENVER at New England
6 TENNESSEE at Minnesota
5.5 JACKSONVILLE vs. Chicago
5 KANSAS CITY vs. Baltimore
4 MIAMI at Cincinnati
3.5 SAN DIEGO at New Orleans
3.5 PHILADELPHIA at Pittsburgh
3 SEATTLE at Carolina
3 WASHINGTON vs. Atlanta
1 ST. LOUIS vs. Arizona (kickoff and pick due Thursday 5:20 p.m.)

Good luck, 'dog catchers!

Summing up the Smith assault story

A friend of ours said it all: It's Déjà Wu.

Cars are bad -- unless they're at OHSU

A reader points us to a story from the summer that no one seems to have picked up on. The City of Portland has given OHSU a 15-year extension for operating a large surface parking lot in the SoWhat District. The lot, named Schnitzer after its donor, was supposed to be closed by the end of this year, according to a deal made in 2005. But since OHSU uses the lot for a park-and-ride for the aerial tram [rim shot] up to Pill Hill, among other things, it isn't going to happen.

The official City Hall justification for the extension contains some interesting double-speak:

The applicant is requesting this 15 year extension as the development plans from 2005, which were addressed in the previous Central City Parking Review (“CCPR”), LU 05-125472 PR (Exhibit A.4), did not come to fruition....

The transit-oriented and pedestrian-oriented focus of this neighborhood expects parking ratios for future buildings to be low to encourage less automobile use. It is a reasonable assumption that closing the existing surface parking lot too soon may force the premature development of new structured parking at a ratio greater than what is needed at the time of full build-out. Allowing the existing surface lot to be phased out in accordance with OHSU’s 20-year Facilities Master Plan eases pressure for the future buildings to build to unnecessary parking ratios....

Market conditions have changed dramatically since the date the CCPR was originally approved. The anticipated parking structure has not been constructed nor is it proposed on the near horizon. Accordingly, the phased development plan set out in 2006 has not come to fruition. No new structured parking has been built that could accommodate the demand currently supplied by the Schnitzer lot and therefore the Schnitzer lot now must request an extension....

In this application, OHSU feels it is important to be more conservative in their phased development plan. New development that has come into the District since 2006 could not afford to incorporate any more parking than was minimally needed for that use. For example, the latest OHSU building under construction, Collaborative Life Sciences Building (CLSB), building is proceeding with a Growth parking ratio of .8 spaces per 1000 square feet well below the code allowed maximum of 2.4 spaces per 1000 square feet. OHSU believes it was simply not economically feasible to incorporate any more parking in the structure. The Supplemental parking on the Schnitzer lot was a critical element in assuring that the CLSB could be built with such a low parking ratio.

Let's try to summarize: We can't close this lot, because if we did, someone would build a garage structure. And that might actually ensure an adequate supply of parking in the future. This runs counter to the City Hall car haters' dream of a world without private passenger vehicles. Thus, a surface parking lot is best answer. Besides, OHSU isn't going to build a garage, because they're too cheap to do so. So they get their way.

The discussion makes little sense, but then again, neither does anything else in the SoWhat District. We shouldn't be surprised at the pretzel logic at play here, or the fact that once again, OHSU gets away with breaking its promises left and right. It's standard operating procedure.

Another note from Chris Anderson

When we get two personal e-mail messages in as many days from the publisher of the O -- well, that's something to blog about. In the latest, he responds to our speculation that he wanted to have the paper endorse Romney over Obama but was ordered not to do it by the corporate brass back in New Jersey:

Mr. Bogdanski:

Thanks for posting my note.

I don't propose to engage in conversation every time you refer to The Oregonian. I'm not a regular reader of your blog, for better or for worse. Maybe I should be!

Having said that, I do want to respond to your provocation about The Oregonian's foregoing an endorsement in the presidential race. As any member of the editorial board who was there will tell you, I met with the group six months ago to discuss whether we would endorse Mitt Romney in the Washington Republican caucuses. (I don't know exactly who proposed that idea; I simply heard from Bob Caldwell that it was on the table for discussion.) That's when I told the group that not only was I opposed to endorsing Romney but also that I didn't think we should bother to endorse anyone in the fall.

My point of view, as I have expressed to anyone who wants to pay attention, is that I want our editorial and commentary content to be mostly local. We can have an influence on local matters to a far greater extent than on national issues. As I said to one of our associate editors, Supreme Court justices don't get up in the morning and check The Oregonian to see how they should rule. Similarly, Oregon voters aren't waiting for a proclamation from us to determine their choice for president. On the other hand, we might be able to convince Oregonians to vote a certain way based on our knowledge of the candidates, the issues and what we think might be best for the future of our state.

I have never discussed the editorial policy of The Oregonian with our owners. They have never, directly or indirectly, given any direction with respect to any aspect of our news or opinion/commentary content. An examination of the editorial positions of the various Advance newspapers will support this statement. There is no "Advance editorial position." Unlike my previous employer, where the owners dictated the editorial and commentary philosophy of all the company's newspapers, Advance's owners believe that editorial policies are best determined locally. Regardless of how people feel about our positions, at least they should know that the decisions are Made in Oregon.

Chris Anderson

N. Christian Anderson III
President & Publisher
The Oregonian
1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201

Not only does he respond to our speculation, but he reveals a bit of a new overall track for the O. Interesting stuff, and we're grateful to have it.

The next blow to the newspapers

The leadership of the Oregon state bar is gearing up to urge the legislature to change the rules about where legal notices are published. For eons, the law has required that legal notices be placed in a "newspaper of general circulation," but that's gotten more expensive and less effective as time has marched on. Those of us who never touch the dead-tree version of the local news any more have zero chance of ever seeing these notices (although we didn't look at them much in the old days, either).

Now the state bar is thinking about starting its own legal notice system on line, with proceeds going to worthy causes like legal aid:

[T]he legal notice system rules have long since outlived their time. It is time for legal notice to be better, smarter, and more efficient and much, much less expensive. This is both possible and necessary, and can happen by creation of a single, publicly owned, centralized system where anyone can publish a legal notice that satisfies the publication requirement.

This change is inevitable, and should be welcomed, although it will disrupt operations for those who profit from the existing system. When the new system arrives – and it will arrive – we will soon enjoy a host of benefits, many of which we cannot yet imagine. We can imagine some obvious improvements: without the exorbitant cost for publishing notices in newspapers with plummeting readership, we will see notices in many languages, video notices, notices about places with maps as finely detailed as desired, audio notices for the blind, notices with detailed definitions of complex legal terms, notices that show people the places being discussed, and on and on.

The newspaper companies can be expected to howl in protest. Craigslist killed their lucrative classified ad trade, and loss of the legal notice business could be the straw that breaks the camel's back at some of these publications. But it's hard to think that it isn't going to happen at some point, and maybe that point is now.

Eve of destruction on Hawthorne

Bad news from the Buckman neighborhood, and once again the apartment bunker weasels are the culprits. Two grand turn-of-the-century houses on the north side of Hawthorne Boulevard between 26th and 27th are reportedly about to be removed for a ghastly apartment edifice. The houses were converted to commercial uses years ago, but they're still part of the fabric of this great neighborhood. Now they'll be wasted for cr-apartments.

A neighbor reports: "The tenants have all recently been given 30 days' notices and one reported the owner intends to start the dismantling the day after they all move out." The Buckman neighborhood has no historic district protection, in part because many residents don't want to restrict their rights to alter their own houses. Well, wait 'til they see what they'll be getting on this block. Probably more garbage like this.

What a disaster Portland "planning" has become. The whole town is being Blumenauered into oblivion. To what end -- to save North Plains? Give us a break.

Nutsy enters the David Wu zone

The latest bombshell about Jeffer-Sam Smith sure is something, isn't it? His explanation is as disturbing as the incident itself. He was just defending himself, but somehow he agreed to do community service and pay the victim's medical bills. Uh huh. Did she get stitches? Can't remember. What kind of injury did she sustain? Change the subject. How did he hurt her? It all happened so fast. Here, here's somebody else who was there, to sort of explain it to you.

What a complete and utter clown. Perfect for Portland, if you think about it.

You know what documents we'd like to see? Smith's applications to the Oregon and New York state bars. He applied in both places, although for some reason he was never sworn in after passing the bar exam in New York. For example, the Oregon application asks a quite specific question about past brushes with the criminal justice system:

Did Smith come clean about his college party assault case, or did he assume, as some bar applicants mistakenly do, that what the bar admission folks don't know can't hurt them? It would be interesting to see the forms he submitted, but we doubt that the bar folks in either state would show the documents, even if the media asked for them.

Anyway, the choice for Portlanders is now crystal clear. They can have four more years of a deeply disturbed individual at the helm -- a rerun of Sam Adams -- or four more years of being forced to put out for the Homer Williams types -- a rerun of Vera Katz. Alas, jumping off the Fremont Bridge is not offered as an option.

Blessed event

We put our new big-ass garbage can out at the curb last night, for pickup this morning. It was full, but not bursting at the seams. It felt good to get the landfill stuff out of the house without having to force it into a receptacle that isn't big enough to hold it. The large plastic garbage bags we've switched to are another nice addition; they tie up pretty tight, keeping the stench down compared to the grocery bags that we were using previously.

We do what we can to cope with the ordeal that Portland City Hall foisted on us 11 months ago. That means sending a little more waste to the landfill than we did under the old program. And an increase in our garbage bill, of course. We still compost vegetable waste with the help of our worms, and we recycle lots of material in the blue and yellow bins. But life's too short to deal with the filth and stupidity of the food slop program. Until it's required by law, we're opting out.

Vestas layoffs get Presidential campaign spotlight

Romney and his party are portrayed on the tube as a big part of the problem for the wind energy industry.

Monday, October 1, 2012

It has begun

The news is straight out of Orwell yet again.

New Jeld-Wen CFO will be in North Carolina

But they're not moving their headquarters there -- just their CFO. Honest! Ron Goldschmaxton tells us so.

Jeffy Smith gets Wienered, but good

He was cited for hitting a woman at a college party in 1993, according to the assassins at Willy Week. Old Char-Lie and his flying monkeys are cackling with glee. They sure know how to time a planted story.

The parallels with David Wu are, well, striking, aren't they?

Somebody in the mainstream media really ought to ask the New York state bar why lil' JFK Wannabe was never sworn in as a lawyer there, even though he passed the bar exam. Maybe it was this incident. But we'll bet there's more.

From Klan to Cogen

Our friend Jewel Lansing has a new book out -- a political history of Multnomah County, co-authored with former Oregonian reporter Fred Leeson. She's given us a free copy, and we're planning to dig in soon. We hope it's not too wonky. Oh, what could be written about the Mean Girls, for example.

Rachel Berry back in California already

The dethroned Miss Oregon posted a new video reel here in early August. Sources tell us that she's been back living in southern California with her sister for more than a month now. Her time in Oregon was certainly brief; she was gone about a month after she resigned.

Meanwhile, the real Miss Oregon, Nichole Mead, is keeping busy with her duties. We applaud her.

Surprise! Alta gets the Portland bike share contract.

Who'da thunk it? Let's hope they can get one of their systems, somewhere, to work some day. Meanwhile, that bag with the wings on it flying south? That's your property taxes.

Publisher of the O responds! (At least somewhat.)

We blogged last week with our usual mixed feelings about the sorry state of Portland's daily (for now) newspaper. One of the things we pointed out was that a friend of ours who still gets the paper delivered recently got a renewal notice that gave him the option to re-subscribe for only a limited time. He thought, and so did we, that this might mean that the O's long-rumored shift to three-days-a-week publication might be imminent.

Later that day, we got an e-mail message from the very top of the heap at the O, refuting at least part of that speculation:

Dear Mr. Bogdanski:

Someone pointed out a post on your blog referring to a renewal notice received by an Oregonian subscriber. You inferred that meant we aren't accepting subscription payments past his expiration date. I suspect your friend is on a reduced rate, in which case we bill subscribers for six months or less at a time. All other subscribers are given the opportunity to pay in advance for up to a year.

Chris Anderson

N. Christian Anderson III
President & Publisher
1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201

Nothing specific in there about number of days a week of publication, but it seems to be telling us not to read anything into the limited renewal option.

It's funny that Anderson didn't say anything about the lead item in that same post of ours: The thought that he had wanted to endorse Romney, but his bosses in the Newhouse organization wouldn't let him. Should we take his silence as an affirmance that we were right about that?

State calls West Hayden Island pave-over what it is: a joke

The "green" hypocrisy of the City and Port of Portland in destroying wildlife habitat isn't fooling anybody who's paying attention.

Single men in tainted organization express views on marriage

The headlines say the American Catholic bishops are "fighting" the "gays," using Holy Communion as a political weapon. Gee, who should we bet on in that one?

Meanwhile, the bishop up in Seattle has declared that "the very foundational nature of marriage for the good and strength of human society would be harmed beyond repair" by same-sex marriage. That was an interesting argument 10 years ago, but a number of countries and even U.S. states have now legalized same-sex marriage, and the sky has not fallen. Better try another one, Monsignor. How about "Because we said so"? That always works for you guys.

Madison Square Nursing Home

Ball don't lie -- 'Sheed's reportedly joining the other arthritics on the Knicks.

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