This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 25, 2004 12:26 PM. The previous post in this blog was Win early, lose late. The next post in this blog is Stinking to high heaven. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Ding dong, the boondoggle's dead

Now that former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt has been forced from power, his client and crony, developer Tom Moyer, says the plan to have the city buy up several downtown blocks and extend the Park Blocks is "dead."

One can only hope and pray that he's right.

Right now there's a two-minute wait in this city for a 911 operator. The city just lost $7 million in an arbitration over police pay. Our police are understaffed and trigger-happy. The police precincts are closed at night and on weekends. Murders in the city are up 35 percent.

Let's stop talking about pork projects and take care of basic governmental services, shall we? We've got a golden opportunity to straighten ourselves out with the Queen of Bad Ideas on her way to the door.

Comments (6)

You know what a sucker I am for "good ideas." I even like the tram! But this one just never made any sense. For one thing look at a map - the north and south park blocks, if continued on their current paths, would never meet! They would be a block off.

Here's the best pie-in-the-sky proposal I've come up with:

1. Bury I-5 in a tunnel under the Willamette River from the Ross Island Bridge to the Rose Garden.

2. Turn the Marquam Bridge into a Portland Ponte Vecchio, with upper and lower level condos and cutesy shops.

3. Get rid of all those unsightly businesses on the East Side and create another Pearl District, with a Parisian boulevard along the waterfront (perhaps we could name it "Avenida de Charlie Hales").

Whaddya think?

Jack, my understanding of the Park Blocks project is that the people behind it were going to buy the blocks, operate the buildings until they were paid back for the purchase price, and then simply give the land to the City -- the City wasn't going to have to buy any of the land from private owners. Tom Moyer wrote the first check for $5 million to buy the first block. I haven't seen anything suggesting that Moyer was Uncle Neil's client; he wouldn't need Uncle Neil's help to give $5 million to the public. (And most of Neil's clients are people who want the government to give *them* money, not the other way around.)

Isaac: If you think this project wasn't eventually going to involve (1) millions of dollars of city property taxes, and (2) quid pro quo's to the "donors" in the form of zoning variances and other favors, then you are a naive fellow.

In 2003, City of Portland spent 122 million dollars on the Police. That was the largest single expenditure for any city agency.

Seems to me the first question on the Police should be, where is that money being spent? Can we reform the police department, reduce crime, and stop the police from shooting unarmed motorists with the current level of funding instead of throwing more money at a failing system?

Jack, let's not get carried away. 85% were answered within 20 seconds, and the number of people who waited 2 minutes or longer were less than 0.5% (roughly 2,000 in 6 months, out of about 470,000 calls). Anybody who has to wait that long with a potential emergency is being disserved, but it's broadly unfair to say that "there's a 2 minute wait for a 911 operator." If you called 200 times, you still would likely not ever wait that long.

Similarly, when murders go up by 35% that sounds like a lot, but there are so few murders in Portland. To KGW's discredit, they fail to report the raw totals, which makes interpretation impossible.

I don't have a substantive comment on the Park Blocks expansion, but you don't need to wildly exaggerate a crisis in city services in order to make your point. That tactic is for PR men, not lawyers. :)


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Ding dong, the boondoggle's dead:

» A free park is a smart park from Isaac Laquedem
Today's Oregonian reports that retired theater magnate Tom Moyer says the Park Block unification project is dead. Moyer says the project is dead because of the recent disgrace of its leading exponent, Neil Goldschmidt. Moyer had put up $5 million [Read More]

Clicky Web Analytics