This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 10, 2004 6:49 PM. The previous post in this blog was Lawsuit of the Week. The next post in this blog is My day of mourning. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, June 10, 2004

Done deal

The Portland City Council has voted unanimously to approve the building of the OHSU aerial tram.

It also voted 3-2 to buy out residents along the street below who don't want to live under an aerial tram.

Perhaps the most alarming news to emerge from the hearing was testimony that the real budget for the construction, originally pegged at $15 million and recently increased to $28.5 million, is going to be more like $40 million. And counting.

And that the tram's operating budget is going to be more than $3 million a year. And that there's still going be lots of increased street traffic on account of various shuttle buses that will be running up and down the hill in addition to the tram.

Congratulations to Homer Williams and all the other developers who will profit enormously from the massive outlay of scarce city tax dollars that this project will entail. And to their political fixer, wherever he may be hiding.

(Via a helpful pointer to the City Council webcast from Portland Communique.)

Comments (16)

Alright! It will be like DisneyLand! Long lines, too much money, and a short ride. I bet the construction cost hits $60-million before the end of 2004.

And how much is budgeted for home purchases? Are they going to be re-sold?

People of Portland, lube up!

Francesconi sez this will become a symbol like the Space Needle or the Eiffel Tower. Haw, haw! Yeah, tourists will come from the world over to take a two minute tram ride to a hospital. Tres romantique!

Maybe you'll get lucky and get to sit next to a fat guy with the shingles. Or a lab technician with blood all over his gown.

Well, I'm happy to pay for it.

And apparently, most of Portland doesn't seem to mind either. Because there really hasn't been that much protest, at least not compared to the outcry revolving around burying the resevoirs.

I do love a Democracry.

justin - The democracy of Portland is still too sore from the last few tax outlays to complain about this one yet.

I believe the protest was called the primary, where Jim "Tram" Francesconi got his head handed to him.

I'm being slightly facetious. And I think if you polled Portlanders and asked if they supported spending 40 million on a tram, the majority of them would oppose the Tram.

That being said, and I'm no fan of Francesoni (or however you spell his name), I'm not sure losing a close primary is a mandate from the public on special projects. And for my money, I think Francis is still going to be mayor. He's just got too much money.

I'm starting to like working in Portland while living on the other side of the Columbia...

Folks like the Zidells used to be Vera's money pot. When they start grousing about public works you know that the current regime has become disconnected from their base.

Respectfully, keep fighting, but you don't know how good it is here. In other places I've lived, the government is totally opaque and hostile to public comment. I know, that's what it's like in Portland. No, it is much worse elsewhere. In most places, the problem is that the old money landowners refuse to develop their property, to maintain their grip on the community. The most extreme case I ever saw was in Borneo, where the same families have owned agricultural property forever, and do not develop it. A person rich enough to buy land effectively only buys a leasehold, and the farmers come with the leasehold. There are vestiges of feudalism in the US, too, and you see them wherever local government and landowners conspire to keep the status quo. The price we pay for dense urban development, with diverse ownership, is the payoff to the large landowners. This is known as the feudalism premium in tax law, right? ;-)

Why did OHSU choose to put its hospital on a hill with no possible room for growth?

This post & comments are going in my "To Revisit in 10 Years" file. Wonder if the opinions will be the same.


Randy Gragg answers that for you...

With its steep, hillside site, OHSU is a case study of medical needs using engineering to trump topography. The location was an accident: Oregon Railway and Navigation Co. bought the land for a major train station -- never having visited the site nor consulted any topographic maps. On discovering no train could climb the grade, the company donated the land to the University of Oregon medical school. The county hospital soon located there. And so began OHSU's fight with the landscape.

Hey Jack, you made the Lars Larson show again today, he quoted this blog. Seems you two have something in common.

Me and Lars -- I'm not sure that's a good thing.

I wish he'd quote me when I talk about Bush. Don't hold your breath.

If the main purpose of the aerial tram is to transport doctors and patients, why don't they just keep the patient units on the hill and move only the research unit to the waterfront? (Or better yet, moving the entire patient units to the waterfront since going up the hill in an emergency is a ride itself.) At least that was the plan/rumor when I was a grad student up there.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Done deal:

» Tram Tram Tram Went The Folly from The One True b!X's PORTLAND COMMUNIQUE
Note: This post has been updated. Any and all updates appear at the end of the original post. As we write this, we are watching the live webcast of the Portland City Council's consideration of various aspects of the South Waterfront development, includ... [Read More]

» Portland backs tram concession from AboutItAll.com | Oregon
The Oregonian has a story about last nights council meeting on the tram here. Jack and B!x have lots of other Tram news. Do go check them out. My favorite quote in the Oregonian's article:Francesconi said he thinks the tram will become a Portl... [Read More]

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