Portlanders to be taxed from all sides

Just count the tax ideas that are being reported:

– Multnomah County is proposing a vehicle license fee (May)
– Portland is proposing a street maintenance fee (Jan.)
– Metro is considering a garbage rate increase
– Metro is looking into a transportation tax (Nov 08)

Not to mention”¦
– Kulongoski is considering a gas tax (2009 Session).

How can taxpayer families afford to survive?

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  • Jerry

    The good news on all these proposals is that finally the poor will be paying taxes, too.
    All of these proposals will hit everyone – but hit the poor the very hardest.

    Finally, they will pay their fair share.

    I thought the Dems and the left wing wack jobs were for the poor, the downtrodden, the disenfranchised?

    Guess not.

    Every one of these proposals hits the poor the hardest. No regression here. Everyone pays the same rate. How amusing.

    When the Dems want money and power they don’t care who pays.

    Simple as that.

    What pathetic morons.

  • eagle eye

    Waaahhh!

  • Crawdude

    The gas tax won’t fly since people already have sticker shock each time they fill up and they have no confidence in the current governments spending habits.

    I don’t think the Vehicle Registration fee will make it through or the Sewer / Water fee increase (that has what to do with roads?). If they are implemented I think there will be local initiatives to stop them and predict the registration fee will crash and burn but the S&W increase may survive.

    What does Metro want to use their tax for? Anyone know?

  • Henry

    Waaahhh?

    Because they are so good at spending it the public will benefit greatly, limited only by the imaginations of their lunatic activists who
    are able to create false impressions for the public to experience false benefits.

    • eagle eye

      Waaahhh!?

      Henry, I was poking fun at Jason Williams whiney over-the-top

      “How can taxpayer families afford to survive?”

      If the taxpayers don’t want it, let them vote it down or elect new officials next time.

      It happens that I voted against the gas tax in Eugene and Lane County income tax in recent elections (and voted with strong majorities).

      It wasn’t a matter of survival, though.

      And there’s still the very much unresolved questions of what to do about the crumbling streets and county government here.

      Waaahhh!

      • josh reynolds

        Eagle

        It really is about government trust. If you live in Eugene you know that across the freeway, the citizens trust Mayor Leiken and the rest of the city council and it is not close when it comes to Mayor Piercy and the ECC. Good luck.

        • eagle eye

          josh, I do live in Eugene, not Springfield and I wouldn’t have it otherwise. You are right about distrust of the the Eugene city government. I don’t get it why do they elect people they don’t trust? It’s kind of strange.

          • David from Eugene

            The Eugene City Council is elected by people who trust their Councilors. The catch is they only vote for one Councilor and the Mayor. The other seven are elected by voters in other Wards. The split in the current council is indicative of a similar split in the community. To put it another way the voters are not unhappy with the one they voted for it’s the ones they didn’t vote for they distrust.

          • eagle eye

            Up to a point I agree. But how to explain the council vote on gas taxes? On urban renewal?

      • John Fairplay

        “If the taxpayers don’t want it, let them vote it down or elect new officials next time.”

        This makes sense on the surface, but won’t work in practice. Remember that most Portlanders take Max or the bus, and 10,000 per day (!) ride their bikes over Portland’s bridges. They have no incentive to vote against gas taxes, since they don’t pay them. Those who do pay are beaten before the ballots are even mailed.

        The response to this stuff has been for the middle class and the rich to vote with their feet and move to Washington County or Vancouver. That is the smart move for those who can afford it and in a generation Portland will be stratified in the same way as Detroit.

        • eagle eye

          You could be right, but I’m skeptical. In Eugene there are plenty of bus and bike riders, but the gas and transportation taxes have been defeated pretty heavily. And I’m not at all sure that the bike/bus types are any more pro gas tax than the car drivers. They could be a lot more against.

          If someone has a workable, feasible plan for fixing the roads with the money already available, I’m all ears. I mean something that will actually get done.

          Otherwise, I’m open to higher state gas taxes. They haven’t gone up in Oregon in many years. The roads are falling apart. We need to do something.

          • Crawdude

            First thing would be to quit spending road money on choo-choo trains.

          • David from Eugene

            No one is building street cars or light rail in Eugene or Lane County. Lane Transit District, (a separate entity controlled by an un-elected board appointed by the Governor) is building the EmX (Bus Rapid Transit) using federal money and a dedicated transit tax.

            The problem here is deferred street maintenance. The problem with deferring street maintenance is that while you can get away with it for a little while, in the long run as damaged streets move from repairable to complete rebuild, costs skyrocket. And that’s before increased material and labor costs due to oil prices and inflation are factored in.

          • CRAWDUDE

            Yes, but the state sends a disproporatinate amount of road revenue to Portland that is wasted on light rail. In essence Eugenes tax payer are paying for light rail……….unfortunately its in Portland.

            Port does the same for maintinance, in fact they quit sealing the roads years ago knowing that by doing so they would deteriorate quicker.

            This is all a shell game, don’t fall for it by playing it.

        • Crawdude

          That 10,000 bike rider thing is a farce in my opinion, especially in the winter.

          The reson the Westside and downtown people vote for the increases is due totally to getting a free ride on the Max, Tax abatements on their condos etc…. They also get the vast majority of Urban Renewal money spent artifically inflating livability in their parts of the city while the rest get the crumbs. Basically they are paid off to vote the way they do, they try to rationalize other reasons but it comes down to who is buttering their bread!

          Please don’t lump the entire city into their voting habits. Devide the city at 82nd avenue and you’ll see 2 very seperate voting patterns.

        • Tim Lyman

          “most Portlanders take Max or the bus, and 10,000 per day (!) ride their bikes”

          That is complete and utter B.S.

  • lw

    Jason, you forgot to list Portland’s proposed, additional $5000 dollar SDC tax for each new housing unit; and a much more increase beyond for institutional, commercial, and industrial uses based on improvement valuation.

    This tax proposal is far beyond any of the other taxes you list, and will certainly hurt the economy and housing costs for all, and especially for the average and below taxpayers. This proposal is before City Council this month with little media attention.

  • stop the insanity

    Eagle eye says,
    “If someone has a workable, feasible plan for fixing the roads with the money already available, I’m all ears. I mean something that will actually get done.”

    Good grief do you have some filter in your brain that prevents you from recognizing the waste on boondoggles all around us?

    I got an easy, workable and feasible plan.

    Stop prioritizing more rail transit.

    It’s amazing that in the current yammering about the road funding crisis the Oregonian say we should first spend $1 BILLION on a new bridge for a new light rail ine to Milwaukie.
    Here’s their editorial advice.
    “First a tram, then a bridge”
    http://www.oregonlive.com/editorials/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/editorial/119889511559810.xml&coll=7

    Here’s my reply to their advice. [I am referencing parts of the editorial so it’s best to read it first].

    Who wrote that?
    The severity of the author’s naivety, ignorance on the topic and many misrepresentations leaves them wholy unqualified to either write about or advise anyone on how to view the matter.
    Never mind the lack of any legitimate measurement on whether or not the Tram is a “success”, the presumptions in this editorial are at best laughable and at worst pure balderdash propaganda.

    Speaking from the “We” as to “explain something” is nothing but manipulation and spin to cast the “wild and crazy” as something worthy because “our city has been hard at work planning” it.
    The it, “a light-rail-and-pedestrian bridge over the Willamette”, would certainly cost far more than the $100 million.
    The greater $1 billion-plus light-rail alignment to Milwaukie would be a reckless waste and fly in the face of the backlog of road maintenance, rising congestion and replacing the Sellwood bridge just up stream. Not to mention the I-5 fly over ramp to SoWa needed to
    avert the chokepoint and failure which ODOT and PDOT say is imminent.

    The lottery $250 million is shameless disregard for much higher priorities needed to be funded.
    There’s nothing “practical” about it.

    Russell feeds the propganda machine with his primer. “money miraculously seems to be attracted to worthwhile projects effectively presented”. There is nothing miraculous about elected officials directing funding towards boondoggles while basic infrastructure crumbles and our road system turnss to gridlock. It’s irresponsible.

    Of course this light rail extension and bridge is much worse than simply “far-fetched” and this editorial piece did nothing to genuinely change that.
    The effort to trumpet the Tram as a model the bridge should follow reinvents and rewrites history and the intent of the Tram.
    Yet the Tram success is a “Given”?
    The contrived success of the tram is as real as the city’s supposed “only $8.5 million” share. While negotaitons and politicking by City Commissioners to finish the tram proceeded, millions of dollars in cash payments to OHSU and developers miraculously appeared in SoWa budgets. Those cash payments, under various line items such as jobs accelerator, econominc development and biotech research, have grown to over $50 million to OHSU and many millions more to the developers in SoWa.
    So much for the city’s small Tram share.
    Whether or not the Tram should have been built or finished once the price soared is secondary to the dishonest cover up of tax monies being spent in SoWa.
    The arbitrary number of the “million-rider milestone” is no substitute for real accounting and assessing worth.
    Still propagandizing that the Tram triggered the $2 billion development echoes past lies equal to the notion that 10,000 biotech jobs wouold also be triggered. These lies extramaniacle.
    But this editorial takes major leap in that same direction claiming that “Oregon Health & Science University has completed one research building on the South Waterfront”.
    Anyone who has been paying attention to SoWa knows that first OHSU building in SoWa is not a research building at all. It is an OHSU doctor’s owned, tax exempt, clinic, doctors offices, administration offices, a lavish health club with some token components to accomodate some future research if ever needed.
    This editorial is so disconnected from reality that it staggers the mind of those informed. For instance, OHSU recently announced
    that they are $60 million short of equipping and staffing the much larger building recently completed on pill hill. That building, also intended to be a research building and funded with a $200 million bond will now being seeing very little reaseach occuring. Besides lacking any new generated research funding or activity OHSU is planning cutting back on current internal research funding.
    The bottom line? The Tram did not trigger anything but a park and ride lot in SoWa and an extenzsve cover up of the real public costs.
    The five condo towers and planned apartment towers and two other apartment buildings, plus a 30-story retirement community will little or no use for the Tram. OHSU has even advised AGAINST patients using the Tram.

    Is it a “success” to spend millions on a costly public transit link to a medical center which patients are then discouraged from using?
    According to the author of this editorial it is.
    OHSU has put more than plans for its new campus on hold. It has placed at risk it’s primary missions and fiscal stability, which is much worse than a big disappointment.
    Yet even with these serious realities the Oregonian peddles the reckless mismanagement as producing an “ultimate luxury of housing with an easy walk or bike ride — less than 2 miles — from downtown” making it all worth it.
    All told SoWa will, under false pretenses, devour some $1/2 BILLION or more in property taxes and other puiblic subsidies to provide luxury housing for the affluent. Without those pretenses this luxury housing would have been required to self fund and contribute to the taxing jurisdictions for basic services like all other housing. The Tram opened up the city cash drawers and now it must all be repaid and replaced for decades to come.
    As if that isn’t enough already the editorial calls for the SoWa to get another BILLION to provide light rail and a pedestrain bridge ahead of all the other needs. Needs including, (but among many others) the $60 million unfunded greenway along the river, $200 million unfunded Sellwood Bridge replacement, $50 million I-5 ramp and the $650 million unfunded street maintenance backlog.

    There is no “if” that the pedestrian [light rail] bridge is wild and crazy. Moreover it is without any rational excercize in fiscal prudence or fiduciary responsibility by any of our elected officials.

    If we are walking across it just seven short years from now we will also be experiencing far worse congestion and fiscal chaos. And it won’t be by accident.

    • eagle eye

      Now please tell me how all that will get DONE. (I won’t bother asking how much of it has to do with the area outside Multnomah Cty.) I mean before the roads where I live fall apart and have to be replaced at much greater expense than maintaining them.

  • Jerry

    You could fix the roads in a heartbeat if you contracted all road repairs, all management, and all administration of ODOT to the private sector.
    Those idiots waste more money than is humanly possible to believe.
    Trust me on that. WASTE WASTE WASTE.

    Just remember what I said, it is the poor who are hit hardest with all these crazy tax and spend schemes.

    I guess no one cares.

    • eagle eye

      Fine, maybe sometime this centurya candidate and legislature will run on that and win. In the meantime, what happens to the roads where I live?

  • Bob Clark

    I support the vehicle registration fee because it is targeted specifically at replacing the Sellwood bridge, and will get Federal Matching.

    But I strongly oppose the Portland street maintenance fee for a number of reasons. First, Portland City Hall has a lavish budget unlike Multnomah county. Second, the state should be spending state lottery funds on things like road improvements instead of a new train set for downtown Portland. Third, the street fee revenues could be spent on almost anything but actual road surface. The sponsor, Commissioner Adams, is proposing using it on street “calming projects”, pedestrian amenities, and not just road surface. Fourth, a good bureaucrat could find a way to shift funds from Portland Development Commission surpluses to street projects.
    Fifth, the street maintenance fee will have a social engineering angle which will allow certain folks to avoid the fee. Those whose incomes are below a certain level, those owning no cars, and god knows what else. On this point, I own a truck but I hardly ever drive it. It’s there just to haul things for friends, family, or lumber to fix the house. I guess that makes me an inferior citizen. Sixth, Adams is so unsure of the willingness of Portlanders to pass such a fee, he is not going to put it up for a city wide vote but restrict it to a vote of the City Council. Bottom line: Don’t trust Adams. He’s out to continue building his downtown fiefdom no matter the overall equity to Portlanders at large.

    • Terry Parker

      Take a look at the proposed replacement options for the Sellwood Bridge. All of them allocate less than half the of the deck width to motor vehicle traffic. Therefore, it only makes logical sense that bicyclists and transit users pay their share in locally applied taxes for the other half. In other words, a county-wide bicycle tax and a surcharge on transit fares ought to accompany any increase in motorist paid taxes.

  • Terry Parker

    Added to what was mentioned in the list of additional taxes is the $6.50 increase in garbage rates already passed by the Portland Coty Council to pay for two humongous roll carts, one for recycle and one for yard debris. The increase will take effect this summer. Then there is the annual increase in sewer rates to pay for the big pipe project to handle all the crap from increasingly more high density development. These increases along with the others make a person wonder how any politician can sit around a table with a straight face and discuss affordable housing when all these tax increases take away more than an hours pay per household per month. The middle class is working more for less pay when keeping up with inflation and now the government is even taking more away. Recession here we come brought to you by the tax and spend politicians.

    Another tax that was not mentioned is the proposed toll for a new Columbia Crossing. The concept here is to toll motorists to pay for not only the local share of a new bridge, but also for the light rail and bicycle infrastructure that will come with it. The special interests of freeloading pedal pushers, snail rail streetcar activists and other transit advocates has become so embedded into Portland politics, the City has become a welfare community for bicyclists and transit riders. This good buddy good old boy usual suspect network that dominates Portland’s stacked deck transportation citizen committees needs to change. The first priority listed for Commissioner Sam Adams’ blog for his Street Maintenance Fee is “a significant investment in the bicycle network”, not maintaining and repaving streets in poor condition as the name of the fee suggests. Furthermore bicyclists and transit users are in line to receive fee discounts on their utility bills for their mode choice. The whole town hall thing with all the hoopla has been an orchestrated façade back door approach to obtain more money to support the freeloading pedal pushers. Having the government provide exclusive infrastructure for bicyclists is a privilege, not a right.
    Isn’t about time bicyclists started paying their own way with a bicycler tax instead of poaching funds from motorists and taxpayers in general that don’t use the specialized bicycle infrastructure? The public hearing for Sam’s Street Maintenance Fee and the socialistic applied taxation to aid bicyclists will be on January 9th, 2008 at 2:00pm.in Portland City Hall Chambers 1221 SW 4th Avenue, Portland. Come, sign up to testify and tell the City Council how you think the bicyclists and not the public in general should pay for bicycle infrastructure.

  • Anonymous

    Simple cure for all of our transportaion problems (For both ODOT & PDOT):

    Ask each employee if they:

    1. Own a bike
    2. Commute on their bike more than 2 miles.

    Then fire all those who commute more than 2 miles and put the rest on probation.

  • Dave Lister

    Portland’s all funds budget is now 3 BILLION dollars. The amount Adams claims is needed for the maintenance backlog is less than 1 percent of that total budget. It could easily be squeezed out of the existing budget if they had the will and the business experience to do it.

    Nearly all the bureaus spend huge amounts on consultants and facilitators. They spend it on things like “diversity sensitivity training” and “customer relations training”. And the funniest part is the people working in the bureaus think it’s a joke. They just want to do their jobs, but the commissioners get in the way.

    Get someone in their with a good business head, a high-lighter and have them go through that budget line item by line item. The money to fix the roads could be found in an afternoon.

    • Crawdude

      I don’t work for Portland government but I can attest to your comment: “And the funniest part is the people working in the bureaus think it’s a joke”.

      Having gone through the same type of “Training” seminars, courses etc… numerous times, I have to agree that they are a joke. 7-Habits, Covey…….you name it I’ve been made to go to them along with my supervisors and their supervisors. After a waste of funds and time , we all went back to work and the supervisors supervised the same way as before and the work was handled the same way as before. Nothing changed = wasted time and money. I have no doubt that the same happens with the Portland employees. Daves right, that money would be much more useful spent elsewhere.

    • David from Eugene

      The All Funds Budget does not accurately reflect the amount of real money that a city has available to pay for the products and services it needs. The problem is the practice of internal billing. This system has departments paying other departments for products and services they supply, the paying department reports it as an expense while the department providing it reports it as income. The net result is that the same dollar is reported twice.

      While this internal billing system may appear clumsy and convoluted it does provide for a true picture of the costs incurred in providing a governmental function or service. It also allows for the efficient use of limited funding sources.

      This brings us to the other reason that looking at the All Funds Budget can be misleading, which is the matter of fungibility or the ability to shift money from one use to another. Money from some funding sources has limitations on their use. For example; Road Funds which come from gas taxes can only spent on building and repairing roads, Federal Community Development Block Grant funds have geographic limitations as do Urban Renewal funds. Property Tax funds on the other hand can be spent on anything. As the All Funds Budget includes monies with different degrees of fungibility there are limits on the ability shift money between services.

  • Henry

    Adams is pursuing the new tax money so he can continuethe same agenda he champions.
    Right now there are billions of dollars being spent or earmaked and about to be spent, on light rail, commutter rail, light rail transit mall, a light rail bridge, streetcars, Urban Renewal subsidies for developments and multiple agencies with around 400 planners busy planning more of it in Multnomah county alone.
    There is no way this warped prioritizing can continue and at the same time begin to take care of our long neglected basic infrastrcutre without new taxes. A lot of new taxes. Sam Adams et al are like little adolescent brats who insist on getting a steady supply of new toys and fun while the family’s home falls further into disrepair and the houshold budget weakens from all the fun stuff spending. Sam stomps his feet and tells his parents to just go out and get second jobs at night. He whines how this is the only way the family can afford their life style.

    The taxpayer parents need to send Sam to the wood shed unemployment line and start taking care of the home and family.

    But when we have the eagle eye mindset which is oblivious to the enormous waste, and government mission creep into everything, they’ll be the patsies enabling Sam’s new tax increase, the further degradation of fiscal stability and delaying the inevitable for another decade or so.

    • dean

      I don’t live in Portland or Multnomah County, and thus don’t have much dog in this fight (I don’t have a dog period). But it is a reality of the political world that elected officials get more credit for building new things than they get for maintaining old things. And since much infrastructure construction is funded by the taxpayer at the federal level, we get bridges to nowhere that local communities would never finance themselves. It is also a reality that street maintenance funds still come from the gas tax, which has not been raised since 1993 or so. Citing “all funds” budgets is very misleading, since many funds are restricted to specific services (i.e. sewer, water).

      As for building new transit facilities versus maintaining pavement, the elected officials who support rail and transit do so because THE ELECTORATE supports these investments. They did not take over local government agencies through force of arms did they? The Portland regional electorate is supportive of a less car oriented infrastructure, and has been this way since the Mt Hood Freeway project was killed off in the early 1970s.

      So stop whining and get more car crazy politicians elected if that is what you really want.

      • Jerry

        I guess we did get what we asked for, but that means we are stupid.

  • Henry

    It’s not whining and it shouldn’t take “car crazy” politicians to stop rampant neglect of our local infrastructure.

    Your boiler plate excuse making is sickening.

    Who needed to hear again about the gas tax not being raised?

    You got to be one of the most uninforming broken records no this blog. Forever echoing the ultra obvious and predictable talking points from the Metrospeak propaganda dictionary.
    The fact is BILLIONS of local dollars are being spent on boondoggles only the local policiticans decide upon. With our newspapers printing Deanspeak the taxpaying voters are out of the picture.
    The voters haven’t even been adequately told the legislature
    recently directed $250 million from the lottery to Milwaukie Light rail and every time road matinenance crisis and call for new taxes is reported the press leaves that latest expenditure out of the story.
    They always do that.
    They report at length Sam’s case and all the resons for new taxes while leaving the rest of the story untold.
    With activist clowns like you tossing in more propagandizing the fix is in.
    The only way you can claim the “Portland regional electorate is supportive of a less car oriented infrastructure” is by avoiding public votes and continually misrepresenting the alternatives as good substitutes that are working.
    Just like the bogus emissions study that Portland and Metro concocted and the Oregonian so willingly reported.
    Our local public agencies have been taken over by dishonest zealots like you who see any means as acceptable to perpetuate their bogus and unworkable agenda.
    Even here it is clear you find any claim any of our agencies make as the truth.

    And again, one doesn’t have to be car “crazy” to recongize how the vast majority of people and commerce gets around.
    It is crazy to ignore it and let that infrastructure fall into disrepair and lacking in capapcity.

    But you and your fellow nut cases are just loony.
    Such as one named Lenny who recently advocated that ODOT should have as standing policy that every ODOT funded project include a requirement that NO added traffic capacity shall be included.

    Everything this topic is about has regional significance and uses reginal funds, one way or another.
    You can’t even be honest about not having a dog in the fight.

    You spin everything.

    • dean

      You are right as always Henry. Its not whining. In your case it is ranting. Though both amount to the same end result. Bubkes.

      I said I didn’t have “much” of a dog in the fight, which seemed focused on Portland. But never mind. Henry does not do nuance.

  • Henry

    It’s not a matter of “me being right”. It’s amatter of the truth being right. And you are forever evasive as you deliberatly manipulate every discussion.

    “nuance”?

    You have a direct dog in the fight as you have been and are involved in the Metro/Damascus policy making to craft a new city in Metro’s model. You also write about it in your local damascus paper.

    And it will suck up 100s of millions more if we follow Metro’s process and model.
    You’d like nothing better than to support any and all tax schemes that support all things, Sam Adams, Metro, smart growth crap that doesn’t work and wastes billions we need for basic services and infrastructure. You’re a zealot who advocates without regard for truth effectiveness genuine sound public policy.
    That’s why you find the lying propaganda comletely acceptable means to that end.

    Your near verbatim Sam Adams rhetoric about many funds restricted to specific services is pure obfuscation meant to mislead and distract from the reality that countless millions are shifted at will from general funds to special uses all the time.
    But that’s just one more in a lengthy stream of misrepresentations that you, these officials and agencies utilized as more and more every year.
    Without any oversight and accountability these policy makers have been green ighted to fabricate and use public deceit at will.

  • Jerry

    ODOT is so messed up it isn’t even funny. You could pave the roads with gold they way they spend money on nothing.
    I think they need a workshop or something.

    • dean

      Yes Henry, Neil, or whoever you are…I forgot. Truth = whatever you think it is.

      And yes, I’m guilty of working with my local community to help plan the new city of Damascus that was foisted on us. I should just rant instead. It seems to be working for you.

      CD…(up above)…I had a similar experience when I worked at the Forest Circus. Many management seminars, not much improved management. Its a bureaucracy thing.

      • CRAWDUDE

        I know, they seem to get us every 5-7 years with those programs……….uh oh, that’s about how long its been since the last one:(

  • Jerry

    Right on Dean.
    Those fools from Happy Valley tried to take you guys over. Shows you how low politicians will go to seize power.
    I don’t trust many of them, that’s for sure.
    Hope you guys can cling on out there. People will keep trying to mess you up.
    Sounds like it is pretty messed up already, though, I must say.

    • dean

      Jerry…our odds of being “successful” are not great. But there are some fine people in this community who are trying hard to come up with a plan that works for everyone here. I have been lucky to have so many good neighbors.

      You have it right that a big incentive for incorprating was defense against Happy Valley expansion, also Gresham, though they were less covetous.

  • Henry

    Dean Dean Dean,
    Yes, you are guilty of working with the Metro Regime to thrust upon your local community an unworkable Metro plan that you, through advocating Metro/2040 central planning, helped enable and foist upon your own community.
    Now you are attempting to dance on the head of a pin while decrying the central planinng you support for doing so to your own town. At the same time you disparage your good neighbors who are circulating initiative petitions to stop some of the worst Metro methods adopted by the Damascus city council.

    Metro’s wasting of milions of dollars on this planning quagmire is yet another example, among countless others, of why they are clamoring for new tax money.
    Their retardation of UGB implementation has resulted in complete chaos on all fronts resulting in the highest cost and least productive management of growth.
    The examples of this wholsale failure are so plentiful it’s staggering how you continue to champion their mission.
    Even when the chaos attacks your own town.

  • Robert Canfield

    The proposed Multnomah County vehicle registration fee increase does NOT go specifically to repair/replacement of the Sellwood Bridge.

    According to ORS 801.401(7), Multnomah County cannot raise the vehicle registration fee for a specific purpose unless it enters into an intergovernmental agreement with ALL overlapping jurisdictions including Troutdale, Gresham, Fairview, Wood Village, Maywood Park, Lake Oswego, Washington and Clackamas Counties, TriMet, and Metro.

    The Troutdale City Council voted last month to “just say no” to Multnomah County’s proposed $27 vehicle registration fee increase.

    Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler asked the City Council to approve a request to sign an intergovernmental agreement that would allow the County to place a ballot measure on the May 2008 ballot. The ballot measure would ask Multnomah County voters to approve a $27 increase in vehicle registration fees.

    Why did I vote no? First of all, I agree that the Sellwood Bridge needs to be replaced. Having said that, Wheeler’s plan doesn’t raise enough money to do so. Wheeler intends to raise $100 million in seed money with the increased vehicle registration fee. He also said the County might be able to get $30-50 million in matching Federal funds.

    However, Chair Wheeler indicated the estimated cost to replace/renovate the Sellwood Bridge could be $300 million. Based on my experience with “rough estimates”, the actual cost will probably be closer to $500-600 million. Even at the “rough estimate” cost of $300 million, Wheeler’s plan comes up $150 million dollars short.

    My other reasons for voting no? 70% of traffic on the Sellwood bridge is from Clackamas County residents. Wheeler told us Clackamas County isn’t willing to pitch in any money. The city of Portland won’t pitch in either, although most of those Clackamas County residents are driving into Portland.

    I had problems with the proposed intergovernmental agreement also. It said the increased vehicle registration fee would be in place “in perpetuity”.* It didn’t specifically mention replacement of the Sellwood bridge.* It only stated that 100% of the funds would be used for reconstruction and/or maintenance of County bridges over the Willamette River.

    However, I did tell Wheeler last night that I would be willing to change my vote to “Yes” on the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) if some contingencies were built into the IGA.

    I would agree to the IGA if it was contingent on the addition of other funds/solutions:

    -Successful passage of a gasoline tax increase in the next state legislative session,
    -Creation of a Regional Bridge Authority, to address bridge maintenance/replacement on a regional level
    -Sufficient Federal Matching funds($30-50 million isn’t enough!)
    -Appropriate financial contribution from Clackamas County and the City of Portland
    -Use of existing Multnomah County general funds to help pay for bridge replacement.
    -Require trucks over 25,000 lbs gross vehicle weight to pay their share of bridge replacement costs, not just cars and small trucks
    -Creation of bicycle license fee that would go toward bridge replacement costs.

    This is a regional problem. The entire region needs to pay for replacement of the Sellwood bridge, not just car and small truck vehicle owners within Multnomah County.

    And don’t get me started on the wasted tax increment finance revenue that’s going to wealthy developers and condo owners in the Pearl District and SoWa instead of to Multnomah County road/bridge maintenance, public schools, etc.

    • CRAWDUDE

      The gas tax is a non-starter in my opinion, I don’t see anyone voting for it since we’ve all seen our road money spent on the Max and other special projects.

      I like the bike fee!

      Since Metro has proven to be such a mess and waste of money I’m not sure if I like the idea of a regional bridge authority or anything with regional control of anything. Yet another bad layer of bad government.

      I’d like to see these one time surpluses that the city of Portland and the county seem to find at the end of every year spent on infrastructure by law. I don’t mean bike trails and Max stops when I say infrastructure, I mean roads and bridges!

      Trucks should have to pay, regardless of size, as should Clackamas county and Portland.

      I see about 50% of your conditions being met so I would assume you’ll hold to your vote and not be persauded to sacrifice your integrity. If that’s the case you’d have my vote if you ran for a county position.

  • Henry

    Robert,
    Thanks for the post, but how do you, beyond the TIF watse you acknowledge, not include consideration of the last legislature directing $250 million for a new light raill bridge and line to Milwaukie. All told this project willdevour $1 BILLION yet it is apparently ahead of the line without any concern from any elected official insight.
    We the voting, taxpaying public should not stand for this.
    In the face of such heightened and desperate need for road and bridge funding it should be thoroughly insulting for taxpayers to hear another boondoggle is on the way without any objections from any elected official.
    And worse yet not one of you will be clear and explain this scenario.

    How can you be so aware of the TIF waste and ignore the BILLION being directed to a new light rail/bridge boondoggle that will certainly trigger even more TIF abuse?
    The Sellwood Bridge is a vital regional transportation link deserving, demanding, the prioritizing our elected officials have neglected in favor of the politically correct rail.

    No light rail would be best but if this light rail is unstoppable it should at least be incorporated into a Sellwood Bridge replacement instead of it’s own bridge just down river. A fully functioning double decker Sellwood bridge with light rail/ped/bike on the lower deck and four lanes of traffic above would be far preferrable than the current plan to build a new light rail bridge and ignore the Sellwood for decades longer.

    • dean

      Henry…my response to bad planning decisions is not to get rid of planning. It is to work within my community to get better planning decisions made.

      As for my “disparaging” my good neighbors, with respect to their initiative petitions, I’m curious. In what way and where did I disparage them? I’m thinking about voting yes on one of them.

      The Damascus Council was elected by Damascans Henry. They are doing everything they can within the law to create a plan for this city that reflects local values. Perhaps surprising to you, local values appear to be mostly consistent with those promoted by the very planners at Metro that you hate so much, i.e. a traditional town center, walkable streets, bike trails, natural resource conservation, and transit.

      And if your side can’t win over a majority of large lot suburban and small farm landowners you really have no hope at all do you?

  • Jerry

    I sure agree about the stupid light rail to Milwaukie. No one wants the stupid thing.
    Kill it.
    Kill it now.
    What a joke.
    What an idiotic plan.
    Do people really need to go to a mall on light rail?
    I don’t think so.
    Should help increase theft in the stores, though, with free rides for criminals to the mall.
    Great idea.
    Keep up the good work PDX!

  • Henry

    Dean,
    How typical. You straw man, by msirepresent my position as wanting to get rid of all planning.
    Yes you have disparaged your neighbors who disagree with you. You know it. And I’ll wager you have done so to the extreme behind the scenes in conversations with those trying to stop them.
    But now you pretend otherwise as you say you MAY vote on one of the petitions. I’ll bet you’re opposed to the two that prevent the council from stopping the initiatives themselves.

    There is no making our current planning work for your community any more than it worked for Pleasant Valley, Cascade Station, Beaverton Round, North Bethany or now SoWa.
    There’s no learning curve for this regime of planning zealots.
    They never aknowledge any failures, advocate more of the same
    while conspiring to grab more tax dollars to perpetrate it.

    You and Metro can wrap up their dysfunction in your “local values” propaganda forever and it aint going to change anything.
    The current planning sucks. It the most costly, least effective and neglects most of the basic services, infrastructure and core functions of government. Leaving chaos and a perpetual fiscal crisis in it’s tracks.
    Your cult has nothing but madness in store for Damascus.
    Fortunately some of your good neighbors have been circulating initiative petitions to save your city.

    • dean

      Henry, you are truly amazing. You repeat the charge that I have “disparaged” my neighbors without offering anything to back that up. You simply say so, therefore it must be true.

      Then you want to bet me that I am working “behind the scenes” with others to stop them. Okay Henry…bet me.

      And to top it off, you apparently do not even know what the 3 measures on the Damascus ballot are even about. There is no measure that has anything to do with the council’s efforts with respect to initiatives. 3 measures on the March ballot Henry. One is a local Measure 37, the 2nd restricts some types of condemnations, and the 3rd would require a city wide vote on every tax or fee increase passed after 2006. That is the sum total.

      Since you are cyber-clairvoyant, you of course must know which of these I am thinking of voting for.

      Local values Henry, are what the people who actually live here say they want. You can read all about it on the City of Damascus web site. But wait…you don’t need to do that. You already KNOW what everyone here thinks or should think. What a guy!

  • CRAWDUDE

    Get rid of Sam!! Here is Sho’s site : http://shoformayor.com/

  • Keno

    Sam used to be the voice of business in City Council. Now he out front causing the most damage. Somehow Mr. Adams has to know that Portland is not handling this right.

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