What Transportation vice grip?

In the Oregonian’s Jim Mayer wrote,
“Here’s the vise grip the state is in: Oregon expects to spend $32.8 million between 2008 and 2011 on highway “modernization” projects in the Portland area.”
Story here

What Mayer doesn’t report is, the bigger pinch (or bench vise) the state is in has 100s of millions being spent on rail transit and other non road projects during that same time period.

But that didn’t stop Mayer from using Metro speak:” the delicately balanced transportation politics of the Portland area.” Ha! Some balance. And delicate? Hardly.

Mayer points out that 217 improvement may not happen till 2089 but gladly quotes the incredibly misguided Rex Burkholder saying “Not everybody understands the hard choices, including our congressman,” said Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder, chairman of Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation.”

In a way Rex is right. “Not every body understands” the spending $150 million plus on the Washington County commuter rail while adjacent road improvements wait till 2089.

The collective totals of spending on commuter rail, 205 light rail, transit mall, and other non road improvements over the next few years will likely talley up to over a BILLION dollars in the Portland Metro region.

With related Urban Renewal devouring many more millions during this same time period every basic service will suffer greatly right along with our road system.

Even more inept and insane are the not so “delicate” policies that hand out 10 year tax property tax exemptions for transit oriented development as reported in this story.

It’s unfortunate Mayer and the “O” will not combine these related components and tell their readers what is happening to our transportation system and revenue.

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Posted by at 08:38 | Posted in Measure 37 | 35 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • The problem here is simple, Oregon cant manage money we know that. We spend huge amounts of money on extending light rail and other “mass transportation” projects without looking at the effects of that on the business environment. A perfect example of this is the new “Bus Mall” extension of light rail that is pushing light rail up SW 5th ave. At least 2 business in the area (one of which has been in Portland for over 30yrs) are already considering moving their offices across the river to Vancouver due to the negative effects of light rail. In my opinion I saw we make a common sense decision and say that gas tax money can ONLY be spent on the development of roads. This means, don’t use gas money for bike lanes, or more MAX trains, or bloated ODOT salaries. Hmm, novel idea, spending money gained from drivers to benefit drivers sounds like common sense something this state often lacks.

  • 2089? Where did they get that number from? 8 o’clock in the morning is hell on this highway, even more so when there is some kind of flashing pretty light on the side of the road. We need to get something do to this road now not in about 80 years.

  • gtcsherman

    It would be great if Steve could list out all those billion in expenditures. The list woudl eb invaluable.

  • q123

    Every single day I-84, HWY 217, I-5 Portland and I-5 Tualatin, and I-205 Clackamas are predictably jammed at drive time and long after and before. This traffic problem is here TODAY, right now! The people stuck in these jams are not the type to spring into trains, bike paths, lights rails, skateboards, unicycles or trams.

  • Steve Schopp

    The transit mall and 205 light rail will be at least $600 million alone.
    Clackamas County is throwing in another $25 million ( urban Renewal TIF money) to expand for Clackamas Town Center and other projects to spur what the new light rail will not.

    TOD, transit oriented development, property tax abatements were just exapnded meaning many millions more will be lost.

    Washington County Commutte rail will devour some $200 millon once various municipal station improvements are made. (Urban Renewal)
    The Tram, street cars, bike facilities and planners planners and more planners will devour many milions more.
    The many desperatly needed road improvements, the Columbia River Crossing, the sunrise corridorr, I-5/99 connector, Dundee-Newberg bypass, Sellwood bridge replacement, will all be screwed up, delayed and cost inflated by the transit/bike radicals who dominate the agencies, committes and policy making.
    All the while being touted by every single newspaper who can’t quite seem to talley up what are doing or what they cost.

  • Total bike capital expenditures planned over the next five years by PDOT: $3.5 million. Freight projects: $49.8 million.

    Anti-bike rhetoric runs hard into reality. Ouch!

    Streetcar and transit are real expenditures. Bike spending is negligble.

  • Steven Plunk

    Speaking as a bike rider and a tucking company owner I not only see too much money being spent on bike projects but I also see it being spent in the wrong ways.

    A previous poster notes $3.5 million on bikes vs $49.8 million on freight. It may seem like a small amount but a quick comparison of the number of trucks vs the number of bikes shows us that we are way overspending on bike projects. They simply will never be a viable alternative to other modes of transit and such spending should stop.

    Here in Medord the public works dept recently finished a intersection rebuild with bike lanes and signage designating the beginning and end of the lanes. The lanes were fifty feet long. That means two signs on each of the four directions for fifty feet of bike lane that suddenly disappears as quickly as it appears. It is actually more dangerous than it would have been without the bike lanes. Stupid beyond measure but fully compliant with law.

    It’s a simple case of spending money where it will do the most good for the most people. Rail and bikes are the worst uses of the money. We have seen it in Portland and elsewhere so why can’t ODOT learn from experience?

  • Steve Schopp

    Jerry Man, that’s just PDOT numbers.

    An that’s an agency who’s credibility is about the same as the PDC’s.

    We’re talking the “delicately balanced transportation politics of the Portland area”.

    The AREA.

    If one were to add up all of the bike spending including planning and Rex’s and his Metro staff time it would be far more than the few million you wish to deceive the public with.

    And of course proportianate to use and need it’s outrageous.

    We are really talking about all non-road expenditures. Not just bike spending.
    The bulk of which is for rail transit. Something which radical anti-car bike advocates champion and work towards with their radical electeds such as Rex Burkholder.
    A guy who thinks all city streets shoud have a 15 or 20 mile per hour speed limit.

  • Max

    Great article, Steve. Rex Burpholder’s a real nutcase, which is something too many don’t get. He wants everyone to live in condos and take a choo-choo or ride a bike to work – but of course, his rules don’t apply to him. Live in a condo? Ha!

    Like many in the PDX area, he prefers to live in a house. Does he ride the choo-choo? Not if he can help it. Does he ride a bicycle? Yes. So do I.

    Yet like me, Rex isn’t about to buy a living room set at Ikea and trundle it home on a choo-choo.

    Rex is about the clearest example of the term, “hypocrite” ever to hold elective office.

  • mac

    You all forgot the millions ODOT is spending on sidewalks all over this state. Every little town in the state his its sidewalks and bulbouts and street lamps now – this is the ABH – anything but highways – policy of ODOT.

    Remember about 10 years ago when we stopped having “street” levy elections? Now those are called “transportation” levies. The handwriting was on the wall then, but I was too dim to recognize it.

  • Dave A.

    How about the millions now and recently being spent on concrete and agregate sound walls on our freeways. I drove up to Seattle this past weekend on I-5 and hardly saw a one anywhwere in Washington. Why are we spending millions on this every year. If people have property near the freeway, let them erect their own fences or sound barriers. This is an exorbitant waste of tax dollars that need to be put into traffic lanes – not walls that do nothing.

  • Bert

    To Dave A.

    That seems pretty contrary to what I’d expect are member of this blog’s views on Measure 37. Why should property owners who live next to a now exanded highway have to foot the bill to benefit suburbanites’ travel?

    Noise is not the worst of it if you consider toxic air pollution and runoff.

  • dude

    a few thoughts:

    the street car took very little public money and had a huge public good. it was supported by the property owners along its alignment and helped jumpstart the redevelopment of the pearl district that raised over a billion in property values. the same is happening in the southern waterfront. the street car is helping to spur growth. It is being planned for the inner se loop along MLK and grand and will dramatically improve the area and spur economic development. rail takes less right of way than freeway and road lanes, which means less expenditures on condemnation and right of way takings. and as bert mentioned, the many advocates of measure 37 on this board should be winching at the support of a “let them erect their own fences or sound barriers” if they live near a freeway mentality. what about those that lose their land to the expansion of 217? or those that suddenly find themselves next to a proposed freeway? They should have to live with the pain of that ‘growth”? sounds like double talk to me. dave certainly wouldn’t want to have a freeway next to him or have to pay for a wall to block traffic noise.

    studies of successful cities (economically successful that are desirable to live in) find that mixed modes of transportation generate the best environments… for pedestrians, for pollution, for economic development, for aesthetics and for transit options. if the light rail and busses suddenly stopped running, rush hour would be a day long event. think of Los Angeles, which actually is one of the most dense cities. it’s already hell because of the nightmare spider web of interstates. Portland is constantly rated as one of the most livable cities and one of the most desirable. That is one of the reasons ugly, bland, and bare subdivisions are springing up all over (especially in western Washington county).

    The cost to construct freeways is incredibly high. the amount of time it takes to study alignment, erect the lanes, and then operate and maintain are astounding. plus, it has significantly more adverse impacts on neighborhoods and homes than light rail or streetcars. the minute a new freeway opens, it is full and congested. Transit oriented development helps keep vehicles off the roads so all you suburbanites can drive where ever you want with few cars to impede your way. Tax abatements help make homes or condos affordable – especially to first time home buyers. Tax abatements help rejuvenate once blighted neighborhoods and spur redevelopment like in the Mississippi neighborhood and along Interstate Avenue. Tax abatements help make fun neighborhoods you can shop in, grab a bite to eat or drink and hang out in, like the ones I already mentioned, plus the pearl, south waterfront, Beaverton Round, the civic neighborhood in Gresham, downtown Gresham and soon to be the inner SE area and Clackamas town center area. Light rail to Clackamas actually won’t require hardly any new right-of-way (paid for by the public) because it can be run in the existing right of way whereas new lanes would require additional land taken from property owners (you know, the dreaded takings and measure 37 issues)

    i live near Lloyd center, and its actually amazing how many people bike. those in suburbia really don’t have a real understanding of their use in the city. from NW portland, to downtown, to SE, and inner and outer NE, bikes are used as a main mode of transportation by a pretty sizeable portion of the population. watch the rail cars during the morning, afternoon, and evening rush hours. they are PACKED. try taking your family downtown for the fireworks WITHOUT light rail. the traffic would be insane, and parking would be even more insane then it already is.

    the truth is that the majority of people in the Portland area like transit options and want them built. those who are radical anti-mass-transit are few and far between and congregate in web rings and blogs to rant – which makes them seem more numerous then they are. since this is a democracy, the majority rule, and in the Portland metro area, that means light rail, busses, bike lanes and street cars are constructed. and as we have seen, it spurs economic development.

  • Anonymous

    the gateway neighborhood is about to see an explosion of new development because of the lightrail, tax abatements and new zoning.

  • Steve Schopp

    Dude,
    You couldn’t be more misguided.

    The talking points you cling to serve only to demonstrate your greater ignorance on what “spurs” development” and how our land use and transportation planning fail miserably to accommodate growth in every way.
    Yeah you live near Lloyd Center. Big surprise.
    Your story telling is just more of the defrauding of the public.

    Leaving out things like the massive spending of Urban Renewal property taxes on private development because the spurring you preach doesn’t happen at all the way you claim, is a prime example of your misrepresentation.

    Another is your declaration that our rail transit has reduced traffic.
    What a crock.

    The tax abatements, Urban Renewal TIF and other subsidies are massive giveaways of basic services funds to prop up the illusion of planning successes.

    When in reality the reckless and irresponsible management of these resources means big trouble as the misspending, on policies that don’t work anything like you preach, and long term commitments will cripple budgets for decades.

    Amazing is that you have declared SoWa a success when literally every project in addition to the Tram is over budgets and TIF revenue is falling way short of expectations.

    I can only assume you are either Homer Williams or some PDC hack chiming in with their con man planners rhetoric.

  • Anon

    Steve,

    You can apply all your arguments to auto transporation systems as well. There’s massive subsidies for oil, for road building, parking lots, etc..

    Yes the development game is rife with political manoeuvering by builders, realestate people, developers and politicians. This is true for all patterns of development.

  • Steve Schopp

    Anon
    Shut up with the lying Metro speak.
    I’ve heard that garbage over and over again.
    Gas taxes, user fees, pay for all road and auto transporation.

    The UR TIF, tax abatements and other and subsidies used by planners to play their develpment and rail/bike games is entirely different, dishonest and corrupt.

    Just as you likely are, if not simply iognorant on the issues or both.

    Dude showed he is dishonest as no one speaks as he does but the entrench manipulators running our land use and transportation planning.

  • Anonymous

    stever,

    were you beaten as a child? why all the rage and hate? i’m not sure how you can call NW portland, hawthorne, orenco station, the pearl district, fairview village and civic station as massive failures they seem to be teeming pretty well with activity, economic development, increased property values, taxes and revenues. tax abatements, public private partnerships, transportation oriented development have worked very well in portland as well as around the country.

    rail transit hasn’t helped congestion? where would all 89,000 riders be if not on max or the streetcar? oh yeah, the roads. where is your evidence that rail hasn’t reduced traffic at all? i’m very curious. even houston, texas – a city built by the automobile and freeways has finally realized that rail is a significant piece to the puzzle of fixing congestion and alsp spuring development and redevelopment.

    gas taxes and user fees do not pay for all roads. otherwise the federal government wouldn’t have to heavily subsidize bridges, freeways, etc. it’s all subsidized.

    since all you seem to do is scream, yell, belittle and attack those who disagree with you, why don’t you explain to us in your infinite wisdom what the true source of economic development is, what spurs growth. how do you account for study after study and success after success of urban renewal completely changing the landscape and character or portland and other cities around the country?

    i do see the south waterfront as a success. what once was a blighted brownfield is now thriving in development, increased property values, taxes and revenues and contains a huge influx of private developing and financing. so what if a condo is going over budget? the developers absorb the cost. they are making enough profit that it’s not a worry to them, if they are in fact running over budget. which, since i don’t have access to thier financing or development plan, i have no idea. how do you know what the bottom line is on the developers building there?

    is it even possible for you to open your eyes to other viewpoints? are you so closed minded you can’t possible see altneratives to your reality? what happened to you? did the government take your house, bulldoze it and give the land to a private developer, or worse yet, sell it to a city council member at a reduced price?

    not everything is a plot or conspiracy, not ever government worker is cutting backroom deals to screw YOU, steve, over. your antagonistic attitude and approach is one that significantly isolates you and closes any possibility of someone actually listening to what you have to say. coming out of the gate with a “ME vs. THEM” attack mode doesn’t solve problems, doesn’t change people’s minds, and certainly doesn’t bring change.

    and no, i’m not any of those individuals you mentioned.

  • Steve Schopp

    #18 Anonymous,

    Quite a story you make up.

    Wrong on all counts of course. While missing at least 3/4 of the whole story.
    The larger part that people like you are either incapable of grasping, banking on misinformation, and/or deliberately and dishonestly ignore.

    If you think that is too mean, so be it. I’m no where near as mean as the
    dishonest policies and officials who perpetrate them around here.

    And your psychoanalysis of me is a hoot.

    I’ve wrestled with many like you who spew the local planning garbage.
    It’s the same old tired BS with pure fantasy front and center.

    The only way you can call planning around here successful is to make up results that don’t exist and do so without any regard for true costs or the real effects.
    “teeming pretty well” is just the kind of shallow benchmark you must rely upon.

    Your “increased taxes and revenues” line is a perfect demonstration of your ignorance on the spending and drain on basic services budgets the planning arena causes.
    Transit Oriented Development is a costly fraud without anything but the propaganda you spread to back up the fabricated benefits.

    Less than 1% of commuters use MAX. Meaning very little benefit during the congestion rush hours has been provided with many of those riders forced off their prior express bus routes.

    Quit lying about light rail spurring development. It’s the millions in subsidy
    hand outs from UR and tax abatements.

    Gas taxes and other fees do pay for all roads including the federal government dollars which also come from gas taxes.

    That’s another whopper you told.

    Your take on our local Urban Renewal is juvenile, misinformed and dishonest.

    South waterfront wasn’t a “blighted brownfield” That’s foolish and inaccurate.
    The increased property taxes and revenues will not appear for 40 years or more.
    The project overruns I was talking about was NOT the condos. It’s the many public improvement projects including the Tram that are over budget and the revenue,TIF, that was supposed to fund them is far short of expectations.

    The condo builders have responsible and professional estimators and managers who would be fired if they pulled the PDC crap.

    Is it even possible for you to open your eyes to reality?

    The public is on the hook for around $800 million in SoWa and the PDC has yet to provide anything resembling a full and legitimate account or budget for even the SoWa Urban Renewal Citizens Advisory Committee or their budget sub committee.
    You don’t know what you are talking about.
    What happened to you? Did the government take your brain?
    Or does your skepticism machine only work on the Bush Administration?

  • Anonymous

    ”Wrong on all counts of course. While missing at least 3/4 of the whole story.
    The larger part that people like you are either incapable of grasping, banking on misinformation, and/or deliberately and dishonestly ignore.”

    Steve, please give the details and sources to show I was wrong. Help my feeble mind grasp your dizzying intellect.

    ”If you think that is too mean, so be it. I’m no where near as mean as the
    dishonest policies and officials who perpetrate them around here. “

    has your name calling, belittling and rude attack attitude and debate style EVER won someone over to your argument? I doubt it. That type of debating only pushes people away, and in the end makes any kind of compromise or change of mind possible. You’re only hurting your own side by behaving as you are.

    ”And your psychoanalysis of me is a hoot.”
    I know! and yet accurate!

    I’ve wrestled with many like you who spew the local planning garbage.
    It’s the same old tired BS with pure fantasy front and center.”
    rather than talk rhetoric and start name-calling, please give me solid sources, examples and reasons why I’m spewing fantasy and am completely incorrect.

    ”The only way you can call planning around here successful is to make up results that don’t exist and do so without any regard for true costs or the real effects.
    “teeming pretty well” is just the kind of shallow benchmark you must rely upon.”

    so give me the evidence you lean so heavily on that has entrenched you from thinking differently. Show me the true costs of developing the neighborhoods I called out (pearl, gersham station, orenco station, NW Portland aka the alphabet district, Hawthorne, Fairview village). Give everyone here the ecidence that shows they are not successful and are empty parts of the city. Do you even go to the City? I visited NW 23rd Saturday and it was completely packed with people who were shopping, dining, and enjoying the urban lifestyle. And funny part is, half of them are probably from Beaverton, Tigard, Gresham, Damascus etc.

    ”Your “increased taxes and revenues” line is a perfect demonstration of your ignorance on the spending and drain on basic services budgets the planning arena causes. Transit Oriented Development is a costly fraud without anything but the propaganda you spread to back up the fabricated benefits.”
    explain how I am ignorant on the subject. Show me how the development of the areas I mentioned did not increase property tax revenues or business income tax. Compact development costs much less than suburban sprawl. There is no way to argue otherwise. In fact, single-family residential development always costs more money than industrial or commercial properties. So when subdivisions go in on land, even though it may increase the tax base, the services required for the area far outspend the tax revenue. That’s why suburbs are more costly than more dense development. You talk about how transit oriented development is a costly fraud. But please, explain how. How does it drain city coffers? Explain how over 20 years revenue is much less than it is now.

    Less than 1% of commuters use MAX. Meaning very little benefit during the congestion rush hours has been provided with many of those riders forced off their prior express bus routes.
    how did you come to this conclusion? How many commuters are in the urban area? What is rail ridership? Bus ridership? Alternative modes ridership (such as bikes)? Without numbers, your 1% argument is just conjecture.

    Quit lying about light rail spurring development. It’s the millions in subsidy
    hand outs from UR and tax abatements.”

    so you’re saying that the private/public partnerships don’t improve areas, don’t clean up neighborhoods, don’t’ increase property values, don’t spur economic development? Again, please explain how the communities I mentioned before grew and spurred economic vitality. Urban renewal funds are put back into the local area they are derived from. It’s still being spent for the public good. Maybe not in your neighborhood, but don’t be jealous.

    Gas taxes and other fees do pay for all roads including the federal government dollars which also come from gas taxes.”
    what other fees? Where do they come from? You’re admitting that the roads must be subsidized by the federal government and other sources. Those who use roads do not fully pay for their maintenance, construction and adverse impacts.

    That’s another whopper you told.

    ”Your take on our local Urban Renewal is juvenile, misinformed and dishonest.”South waterfront wasn’t a “blighted brownfield” That’s foolish and inaccurate.
    The increased property taxes and revenues will not appear for 40 years or more.
    The project overruns I was talking about was NOT the condos. It’s the many public improvement projects including the Tram that are over budget and the revenue,TIF, that was supposed to fund them is far short of expectations.””Is it even possible for you to open your eyes to reality?

    The public is on the hook for around $800 million in SoWa and the PDC has yet to provide anything resembling a full and legitimate account or budget for even the SoWa Urban Renewal Citizens Advisory Committee or their budget sub committee.
    You don’t know what you are talking about.
    What happened to you? Did the government take your brain?
    Or does your skepticism machine only work on the Bush Administration?”
    No, I don’t believe in those conspiracy theories either. I’ve never been much for a conspiracy theorist like yourself. and who says I have skepticism for the Bush administration? Where did that come from? Wow, out of the blue!

  • Anonymous

    ”Your take on our local Urban Renewal is juvenile, misinformed and dishonest.”South waterfront wasn’t a “blighted brownfield” That’s foolish and inaccurate.
    The increased property taxes and revenues will not appear for 40 years or more.
    The project overruns I was talking about was NOT the condos. It’s the many public improvement projects including the Tram that are over budget and the revenue,TIF, that was supposed to fund them is far short of expectations.””Is it even possible for you to open your eyes to reality?

    The public is on the hook for around $800 million in SoWa and the PDC has yet to provide anything resembling a full and legitimate account or budget for even the SoWa Urban Renewal Citizens Advisory Committee or their budget sub committee.
    You don’t know what you are talking about.
    What happened to you? Did the government take your brain?
    Or does your skepticism machine only work on the Bush Administration?”
    No, I don’t believe in those conspiracy theories either. I’ve never been much for a conspiracy theorist like yourself. and who says I have skepticism for the Bush administration? Where did that come from? Wow, out of the blue!

  • Chris McMullen

    Anon, you obviously haven’t been paying attention. Steve Schopp has posted scads of evidence proving the huge fiasco that is urban renewal. And conversely, you don’t provide any proof supporting your claims that urban renewal does work. Pretty hypocritical, Anon.

    Go check out bojack.org or commissionersam.com and do some research on Mr. Schopp’s multiple posts and links supporting his claims.

    Seems to me, you’ve been buying into the pablum spoon fed to the general public by Metro and the PDC. And furthermore Anon, I have one question that Smart Growthers like you never have an answer to: “If smart growth is so desirable, why does it need subsidy?”

    P.S. Is there some reason you won’t post your real name?

  • Anonymous

    i recently found this site so i haven’t seen the scads of proof that includes actual numbers, figures of ridership, spending, projected taxes etc. i see a lot of conjecture and opinion. i would gladly read over his numbers, cites etc. and when i say cites, i don’t mean to other blogs or political advocacy sites such as this one or even 1000 friends. i mean unbiased, news sources. i don’t think asking for that is too much to ask.

    i noted several neighborhoods that are very economically viable and alive with development. he stated they weren’t and i was wrong. i’m asking him how so since to the naked eye and based on obersvation and tax roll information that those neighborhoods have exploded in growth.

    a mall takes a critical mass before it will survive. an airline takes a critical mass before it can get off the ground. many times ‘smart growth as you call it (mixed use, mid to high density development, transit oriented development) takes a critical mass. there is significant risk in such projects that with out some incentive, investors don’t want to build. once built, the public flocks to them. the tax incentives also help spur the growth far in advance of what the normal process would generate. which in the long term of the city, equals an increase in revenue. more jobs, business etc within the city limits which adds to the coffers.

    i could use your argument for our military developers. if submarines were so desirable, why do they need subsidies and incentives? because without them, one of the companies (there are only two so the government gives both a contract to build subs even when there is not a need) would fold or stop trying to be innovative in design and submarine improvements. not everything can start in a vacuum

  • Steve Schopp

    Anon 23,
    You should take your demands for data to the agencies you groupy for and see how much supporting documentation you get to back up the cockamamie nonsense you spew.

    Try and get simple things like a simple budget from ANY PDC project or Urban Renewal Dsitrict, any list of expences, any list of results or even the current TIF interest rate or the TIF rate over the last 10 years.
    How about a list of debt service costs, or a SoWa budget other than the original 1999 plan?
    After all they staff at these agencies are paid to keep track of things right?
    So go try and get it.
    Your obvious reliance on nothing but bureaucratic propaganda, which you echo as if it’s “knowledge” you’ve gained, is wholly naive.

    I wonder, do you take everything the Bush administration says, on face value like you do with all the local governance.

    I imagine you being such a smart guy you probably “know” Bush lies about everything.

    What are your other names anyway?
    Cab?
    MarkDaMan?
    Homer?
    Mark Brunster?
    or are you a city staffer?

  • Anonymous

    so i take it you’re not willing to back up your critical analysis of the projects i called out? for being so positive and storng worded on how wrong i am, i would assume you’d present those facts.

    this deals a whole lot more than just budgets. have you tried a public information request from those agencies? not just going in and demanding the information on the spot (i’m sure it’s not just sitting on someone’s desk) – but actually go through the official freedom of information act process to get it? it’s an idea.

    regardless, i’m still waiting for your evidence to show that those neighborhoods didn’t actually see increases in revenues, tax base, jobs, housing and activity. after yelling me down so many times about how wrong i was and how it’s a shame, i honestly would love to see your evidence. try to change my mind. i’m open to seeing actual numbers and information.

    you say the information i rely on is wholly naive. however, i’ve seen numbers, statistics, even looked up numbers myself and seen with my eyes the activity and growth in those areas. facts that are in stark contrast to your rantings and theories. seriously, provide evidence here. i want to see your side of the story.

  • Steve Schopp

    anon #25,

    You are a liar.
    You don’t want the other side and,
    You have NOT looked up any real data or budgets or anything but agency hype.
    I haven’t the slightest intention of wasting my time on such an anonymous planner’s groupie who demonstrates an agenda of BS and requires no genuine validation of any of the local claims.

    Of course you are completely wrong and yo have no grip on the massive investment and abuse UR has become.
    All you see is stuff and you figure it must be worth it.
    Your barometer for success is so low it fits well with the bureaucracies. As soon as millions are spent declare success.

    Your ignorance boils with your elementary suggestion to make “public information requests”.

    Really? Wow! I wonder if the local journalists every thought of that too?

    PIRs are essentially useless around here.

    Go make one for yourself.

    Request from the PDC their running TIF financing costs for SoWa.
    That’s pretty basic and should be readily available.

    Watch the “freedom of information” reply you get.

    I don’t think you have any idea how UR and TIF works or the massive amounts it diverts from basic services.

    This FY there is $4 billion in real estate in Portland not being taxes for schools or any other basic services. Every dime of it goes to pay off UR debt created by the PDC planners playing developer with tax money and no accountability.

    That’s not an “increase in revenues” or tax base for, jobs, housing or any basic service and will not be for many decades to come.

  • Anonymous

    wow, it’s too bad you’re not willing to back any of your smoke up with fire. you’re not willing to show all the numbers you use to base your hell-fire arguments on? wow, i hope everyone in this forum realizes what you’re saying. that you will rant, scream, and yell about the government working on useless projects but won’t give anything that supports your argument. i suppose it is easier to rant instead of dealing in facts. for as much time as you spend on the net yelling and blogging about government misappropriation of funds and how thier programs don’t work, you sure are suddenly interested in using your time for other matters.

    you’re right, i haven’t looked at the PDC’s budget. so what. this discussing isn’t about the pdc. you supposedly have looked at thier budget, give us the numbers you found. or admit you haven’t looked at it either. if you ahven’t looked at it, i’m not sure how you think your cry of them using money inappropriately stands since you have no clue how they use it.

    i have looked up the other information. and anyone with eyes can see how busy those neighborhoods are, how they have benefited from urban renewal, and that it is obviously benefiting the city fiscally.

    and it’s quite easy to find numbers to back it up. use portlandmaps.com. i randomly picked a block in the pearl district, 11th and lovejoy. let’s see how urban renew money has benefited the city:

    1997 real market value: $288,400 Assessed Value: $218,320
    the lot was vacant at the time. since then it was put into urban renewal

    1999 real market value: $2,557,300 Assessed Value: $357,300 – that’s an increase in assessed value of $138,988

    the next year when the property didn’t receive that tax exemption the numbers were:
    2000 real market value: $3,404,470 Assessed Value: $2,152,740 – so the boost given by urban renewal increased the value almost ten fold. an increase in assessed property value of $1,934,420 – because of urban renewal. that’s a boost to the economy. that’s a boost in jobs, that’s a boost in property taxes. yes they received a subsidy to help jump start it. but as anyone can see, the increased value on the property more than pays for it over -especially over the years. in 2001 there was a tax abatement due to the street car, and the assessed vallue went down to 1,396,880. the abatement will be there for 10 years. big whoop. the increase in revenue on PROPERTY TAXES ALONE is $1,178,560. the 2005 real market value of the property: $28,625,810 the Assessed Value: $1,572,180. not too shabby of a deal for the city and tax payers. they are getting a huge return on thier money. the only sad part about this was the 3% cap on property assessment limitation passed a few years ago that limit the property tax revenue this property generates. because of that mueasre, the city is losing rougly 27 milion dollars.

    where are your numbers steve? i found some that were very easy to obtain. where do you get your information? just a side note too. if there is 4 billion in abatement currently, based on the example i gave above , just think how much property tax was generated. it would generate 5 times the property value – or 20 billion in increased property values – which means more money to fund city services.

  • Chris McMullen

    Anon, you can go to almost any suburban neighborhood in the metro area and see the same (if not greater) equity gain — all without subsidy.

    Developers aren’t stupid, Anon. They knew they could soak Portland for subsidies in the name of “Urban Renewal.” The Pearl would have had the same increase in value without subsidy.

    It’s sad people like you would rather see developers getting their pockets lined than seeing schools and basic services properly funded.

  • Anonymous

    First, show some numbers of that kind of substantial increase.

    second, when there are areas that are blighted, and the pearl was a blighted old warehouse district with very poor infrastructure (many roads were still BRICK), old, delapidated old historic buildings (which many have protections because they are over 50 years old which requires the owners to obtain other permission/permits at added cost). again, this is about critical mass. how many areas in the suburbs have that critical mass that stands alone for development? i’m not sure of one. Fairview Village, a success in it’s own right, required a jump start too. in fact, banks would only loan on single-family residential development at first. in order to get that highly valuable, highly desirable place to live, area with new jobs and businesses and increased tax revenue (sound familiar?), the developers had to ask the city to develop a new zoning code. then, the developers had to build around 30 single-family dwellings at *a loss to them* in order to start the critical mass that would begin to increase property values. then, they added more single family dwellings that had mother in law flats above the garaves and mixed use, high density development that included homes with store front businesses below them. the beginning of the project was subsidized by the city of fairview to help get it started. and today, its one of the most desirable places to live in the east metro area. it wouldn’t have happened without some subsidy from the government.

    look at the pleasant valley/springville corridors south of gresham. developers want to build out there, being brought into the urban growth boundary has increased property values, but no one is building yet because there is no infrastructure. so developers are trying to get the city to help subsidize the growth to get the critical mass together to make the place explode in growth that would include jobs, businesses, increased property values and tax revenues.

    now, if you buy your argument, along with the home builders association and OIA, then the city of gresham would be swamped with requests to build subdivisions, new businesses, schools etc because everyone says there is so much pressure on the UGB that the land is desperately needed. well, if it was, and your theory holds true, why are developers and landowners asking the city to help build the needed infrastructure to make it happen? why are they asking for subsidy’s to get the growth started?

    sometimes, public-private partnerships are required to jump start. it’s true, that over time those areas would grow without the jump start. but how far down the road would it be? and that is assuming no expansion of the UGB.

    so yeah, provide us all with numbers to show that the astronomical type of growth can occur in suburbia without any kind of abatement, subsidy or boost by the government. a 10x increase in property value. i’m curious.

  • Chris McMullen

    Anon, I paid $179,000 for my house in 2000. According to Zillo.com and the prices of other houses selling in my neighborhood, it’s worth $330,000 — it’s almost doubled in value in 6 years (you’ll have to take me at my word, because I’ll be damned to tell you where I live).

    Furthermore, developers are asking for handouts because there’s a good possibility they’ll get them! Portland loves to finance failures like PGE Park, SoWa and Cascade Station. All developers have to do is mention “lynch-pin”, “density” and/or “Urban Renewal” and the bureaucratic piggie’s ears perk up.

    Go check out the valuations of older, established suburban neighborhoods in Lake Oswego, West Linn, Beaverton, Tigard, etc. via Zillo.com. Educate yourself on the skyrocketing values of single-family, non-subsidized homes. Homes where developers risked their own investments without “Katz and crews” financial handouts.

  • Anonymous

    i’ve used zillow quite often. and i’m sure you’ll agree, it’s not entirely accurate. for some it is close, but it’s certainly not nearly as accurate as an appraisal or assessment by professional assessors. that being said, i have no doubt that many homes have doubled in price over a six year span – i’ve seen that first hand as well. however, the increased valuation i showed in the pearl (which is not an isolated incident) was a ten fold increase. and not to be disrespectful, it provides a whole lot more tax revenue than your single family dwelling. in fact, if you recall, the property in the pearl was originally worth less than your home is now. so do you think that your home will increase in real market value to 28 million like the property in the pearl? most likely not. and just your one property doesn’t provide jobs, or shopping opportunity like the high denisty or mid density mixed use developments. nor does it help reduce any number of other negative externalities like traffic, toxic auto fumes etc.

    SoWa isn’t even nearly complete, so there is no way to pass a sweeping judgement on it’s failure. true, you can’t say it’s a success at this point. however it definitely leans in that direction based upon the substantial expenditures by the developers and the massive increase in property valuation of the condos, soon to be stores and businesses.

    I’m glad you mentioned Lake Oswego because they have an urban renewal district downtown called Lake View Village that has developed into a thriving town center. complete with shops, condos, new businesses, increased property values and tax revenues. and, the city owns the parking garage there. oh, and the residents who live there or around the area can walk over there, to the park, the store, get coffee, a beer or see a movie. all without driving and getting in your way as you drive to where ever.

  • Chris McMullen

    Anon, you provide absolutely no proof that subsidies are needed in order to spur development. There’s no proof that NW 11th and Lovejoy would not have been developed if it wasn’t for subsidies.

    Furthermore, The City Club of Portland report on Urban Renewal concluded there’s no real evidence properties with UR subsidy increase in value more or faster that unsubsidized ones.

  • Anonymous

    chris, that’s like saying:
    you provide no proof that if the TSA had been in existence before 911, the twin towers would still be here.

    the fact is, NW 11th (and the rest of the pearl) DID develop because of urban renewal. if it was going to develop at the same pace, it would have, but it didn’t. and again, i’m not saying it wouldn’t EVER develop. i’m saying it developed MUCH sooner than it would have and because of that, the city is realizing the value that is there now and the tax revenue that comes from it. SoWa would still be a big vacant lot if not for urban renewal. can you prove it would have developed as it has without it? give me the link to the city of portland report because i’d like to read it.

    and again, ever example i gave you: peal, fairview villate, lake View Village, N. Mississippi, Interstate, orenco station, gresham station (and the entire civic neighborhood), downtown gresham, downtown lake oswego, and soon to be the MLK loop on the eastbank.

    development is an equation. until developers can make a profit, they won’t develop. so subsidy’s that bring the cost of development down to the level where profit can be had do spur development. the development that first occurs then raises property values, which makes rent increase and makes it more feasible for development to continue to occur. banks are more willing to lend money for projects then. and it escalates.

    chris, are you seriously saying that the pearl district would be what it is today without the subsidy? where is your proof that it would be the same?

  • Katie Strong

    *I haven’t the slightest intention of wasting my time on such an anonymous planner’s groupie who demonstrates an agenda of BS and requires no genuine validation of any of the local claims.*

    I read this all with amusement. anyone else find it ironic that the author of the article that started the above debate refuses to supply any statistics, cites, or any proof? I do

  • Steve Schopp

    Katie,
    You’re misreading my rejection of anon’s play.

    He or she is playing the planners con song and he isn’t the slightest bit interested in anything beyond “look at the pretty”.

    It is futile to engage his dishonest agenda.
    He can’t even use his real name.

    $4 billion in assessed real estate value is not being taxed for any basic services resulting in a $65 million loss to basic services this one 05-06 FY,

    Anon’s claim of revenue benefits from increased values resulting from Urban Renewal is part of the con.

    SoWa was planned in 1999 to spend $288 million plus $160 milion in debt service for the first 20 years with years and millions more needed to retire the debt.

    The Tram, ped/bike bridge over I-5, park, greenway, street improvement, north portal access, south portal access, I-5 fly over exiy to SoWa and other public improvements are all over budget, and/or not funded, and/or behind schedule.
    Urban renewal TIF revenue is falling short of projection, debt service cost have soared, and later phases willnot have any funding at all.
    Transportation is already collapsing into a bottle neck quagmire with the median curb and signal installed at the I-5 exit onto Macadam.

    Taking anon from the womb of Urban Renewal and walking him along to grasp it’s dysfunction, abuse and misappropriation is a total waste of my time.

    Many people who read this site are up to speed on UR.
    Anon is not.
    To the extent that I help your understanding that is worth my time. You at least use your name.

    Anon is a phony hack who probably works for the city, at the PDC or has some other conflict.
    So he hides and echoes the boiler plate tripe I’ve heard countless times.

    He hasn’t the slightest idea what the net costs or benefits are from what he talks about.

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