Wednesday, April 04, 2007

OHSU Bait and Switch

Remember the rationale for the huge public subsidy in the South Waterfront District? OHSU's President Peter Kohler talked of "10,000 new biotech jobs."

Biotech was the next big thing. All the planners knew it. Biotech companies were going to line up to headquarter their research, development and manufacturing facilities on prime urban waterfront real estate. But only if there was a tram....

Five years later, the "vision" is now just a little different. Now that the deal is done, the urban renewal scam completed, the money allocated for the buildout, what is the new vision?


Oh, and OHSU campus buildings.

What happened to the 10,000 biotech jobs that the Oregonian hyped at every opportunity as the reason we needed to spend a half a billion or so in public subsidy, draining money from police, fire, schools and other core public services?

It takes longer to get biotech ideas from patent to marketable product than for the standard high-tech products, Robertson said. That wasn't known as recently as five years ago, said Robertson, who became OHSU president last year.

That wasn't known five years ago? Why not? How long did it take Genentech to have positive cash flow? Has the life cycle of biotech products changed in the last five years? That is the lamest excuse I have ever heard.

If we were sold a huge public investment on the mistake of some planners who didn't know how long it takes a biotech product to be developed, why aren't the heads rolling?

Another hysterical part of the South Waterfront plan is the fantasy they seem to have about the transportation infrastructure. Get this whopper:

Commissioner Randy Leonard said he likes the transit orientation of the vision.

"If we are creating a community down there where a car becomes more of a liability than an asset, people can buy more of a house and have amenities that they couldn't otherwise afford," he said.

You have got to be kidding. Randy, are you gunna tell me that someone affluent enough to live in the South Waterfront district is going to not want a car? What planet are you on?

This just gets better and better all the time.

When does the RICO lawsuit get filed? Seriously!


Jack Bog said...

Somebody needs to go to jail.

rickyragg said...

Re Randy,

You know how hard it is to let go of a fantasy with which one has so credulously identified oneself.

Randy's conflicted.

One minute (out of one side of his mouth) he's all "not on my watch - fool me once..." and the next he's over at the Kool-Aid cooler filling cups for the Joneses.

...or should that be the Williamses?

Anonymous said...

Care to cite sources?

And our family could afford one of the (smaller) condos at SoWa, and we would love to get rid of our car.

We had two cars, then a little over a year ago got rid of one.

But anecdotal evidence is not much better than no evidence.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the ol' bait and switch! People go to jail in the private sector for exactly this kind of thing, although rarely on the 1/2 billion dollar scale.

If Commissioner Leonard had the courage of his convictions, the South Waterfront would be built out with no roads in or out, just bicycle paths and a streetcar line.