Shell games with the Moody Avenue project in South Waterfront

by NW Spotlight

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was in town yesterday, joining a ribbon cutting ceremony in South Waterfront (SoWa) for the Moody Avenue project.

But there is the bigger story.

Contrary to officials and Brad Schmidt’s Oregonian story, this project is not about enabling “redevelopment opportunities it will bring to the South Waterfront district” as Secretary LaHood stated. The “opportunities” have already been established, with millions in tax dollars spent on infrastructure and direct subsidies.

Project is for Milwaukie Light Rail, not Redevelopment Opportunities

Schmidt’s Oregonian article entirely misrepresents the project. The project is the REQUIRED MOVING and RAISING of Moody Street and the Streetcar to accommodate the Milwaukie Light Rail project. Without Milwaukie Light Rail, Moody Avenue & the Streetcar would be fine where they are. Moody would just need to be finished like South Moody was.

Schmidt’s article presents a deceptive picture by reporting the raising of Moody (by as much as 14 feet) is for moving the road above the flood plain. That is completely false. SoWa does not need 14 feet; only a 4-foot raising is needed for the flood plain. The same 4 feet that South Moody was raised. The nearly-new, existing Streetcar is already above the flood plain.  The 14 feet is to accommodate the Milwaukie Light Rail / bridge alignment.

Move of Moody Street also makes land available for Zidell and OHSU

Moody Street is also being moved 100 feet to the west leaving the equivalent of 4 city blocks behind for Zidell and OHSU to add to their parcels, at seemingly little or no cost.

Raising will create more parking

The raising of 14 feet does have other purposes, and the entire OHSU site for their planned Life Sciences Collaborative Center building will also be raised the 14 feet.

This will not only align their building with Milwaukie Light Rail grade but will provide two levels of parking, without having to disturb and spend millions to mitigate the capped brown field below the site.  Of course, parking is important because the stakeholders know that even with the Tram, Streetcars and Light Rail, people will be driving to SoWa in big numbers. Especially the affluent OHSU hierarchy and other elite.

Project masks true cost of Milwaukie Light Rail and OHSU expansion

This $51 million project is mostly a Milwaukie Light Rail project. Yet none of it is being included as a cost of either Milwaukie Light Rail or the OHSU expansion.

Cozy arrangement between OHSU and TriMet

There are other cozy arrangements being made behind the scenes. OHSU is giving some land to TriMet for Milwaukie Light Rail. TriMet will be calling it a $15 million in-kind donation and telling the Feds that it’s part of the local match for Milwaukie Light Rail. At the same time, TriMet will be giving OHSU $10 million towards their new SoWa building.

In support of this cozy relationship, OHSU’s Brian Newman attends TriMet hearings and provides ginned up testimony on how vital MLR is to their planned expansion in SoWa.

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  • ProudofRay

    OHSU saves lives, so I don’t care if anything is cozy or not. This LaHood guy knows what he is doing. He is smart and has the coin to pull this off. Portland will be the better for it.
    Quit all this sniping and criticism. These people are fine people who only want to help us all out of this mess we are in.
    I salute them all.

  • In The News

    ProudofRay,

    Funny.

    How about Part II

    There’s nothing about SoWa, The Tram, Milwaukie Light Rail, Moody Street or the streetcar that has any connection to saving lives.
    In fact, due to the reckless waste of their resources the significant cuts OHSU has made in recent years to their core mission of health care it is likely their venture into SoWa and boondoggle Urban Renewal schemes has actually cost lives.
    The corrupted shell games have placed the institution at great risk with Peter Kohler moving on and none of the other cohorts facing any accountability.
    It’s so bad one would think Metro had taken over pill hill.
    The mismanagement has also undermined and likely destroyed the Oregon Graduate Institute, taken over by OHSU, and has sent the biotech research jobs to Florida when their OHSU’s VGTI moved there. https://www.vgti-fl.org/

    It’s a story with many chapters, is only getting worse and is never told by our local “professional” media.
    For instance at the end of last legislative session, stuffed in a bill no one read, was $115 million in lottery backed bonds for the OHSU/Oregon University System Life Sciences Collaborative Center in SoWa. That’s another $115 plus another $100 million in interest taken from lottery proceeds that would otherwise go to the far more essential programs and services it currently funds.

  • Bob Clark

    Boy, PSU has become like the pro government green nazi forces. And you’ve got the Oregon state government revenue forecaster, Tom Potowski, lobbying to relocate the forecasting function from Salem to PSU. Moreover, whenever the city of Portland wants to cram down some new virtue or tax on its citizenry it calls in the pro government army of canvassers stationed at PSU. This is the green army that pulls off the eleventh hour push vote allowing for instance Kitzhaber to nose out Dudley.

  • Ron Swaren

    The whole Milwaukie light rail project is insane. We are seeing a string of projects concealed as for other purposes, so people don’t get a handle on the true cost: Downtown MAX extension; Transit bridge; now, this project on Moody. MLR at $200 million per mile is the most expensive MAX project to date—but lilkely not the last.

    I’m not against some type of commuter rail. The streetcar has promoted development. Could not tracks have been constructed on the lower piers of the Marquam bridge for something as lightweight as a streetcar and a bicycle track? It’s virtually in the same place as the new bridge will be. The SC could be extended on the E. side for a fraction of the balance of the MLR. Saving $1 billion isn’t petty cash.

  • Ron Swaren

    The whole Milwaukie light rail project is insane. We are seeing a string of projects concealed as for other purposes, so people don’t get a handle on the true cost: Downtown MAX extension; Transit bridge; now, this project on Moody. MLR at $200 million per mile is the most expensive MAX project to date—but lilkely not the last.

    I’m not against some type of commuter rail. The streetcar has promoted development. Could not tracks have been constructed on the lower piers of the Marquam bridge for something as lightweight as a streetcar and a bicycle track? It’s virtually in the same place as the new bridge will be. The SC could be extended on the E. side for a fraction of the balance of the MLR. Saving $1 billion isn’t petty cash.

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