Tuesday, April 15, 2008

South Waterfront is bankrupt.

Over at Jack Bog's blog, there's a video of Sam Adams admitting, in a question/answer forum, that the infrastructure projects in South Waterfront are totally unfunded. Basically bankrupt.

First, kudos to Jim Karlock for not only asking the question Adams had to answer (which was so clearly and specifically worded that Adams couldn’t BS his way through it,) and also for videotaping the entire exchange.

Adams had to admit that the money has run out, so all sorts of the “improvements” the urban renewal bonds were supposed to pay for are now not going to be completed unless there is some kind of bailout. These “improvements” are little teeny details like taking care of the traffic choke point at Macadam that will prevent the ingress/egress points from clogging up for ten hours each day.

Adams basically shrugged his shoulders in his answer, and tried to make some lame claim that ran something like: “Yeah, it’s true that this thing is way underwater, but if we didn’t put all that density in South Waterfront, we would have to put it in your neighborhood, so you shouldn’t complain.”

What a pile of crap! The only reason for higher density in Portland is because the smart growthers like Sam Adams have mandated it! So it is a bit disingenuous for him to claim we should be happy that South Waterfront is absorbing it all.

Unfortunately, because of the format of the Q/A, Adams never had to answer the obvious follow-ups.

1) Sam, critics of the South Waterfront plan said before this fiasco started that the estimates for the budgeted improvements were a fantasy, yet they were completely ignored. Then, as the projects were in process, there were never any revised estimates produced, even though members of SoWa’s Urban Renewal Advisory Committee time and time again asked for the revisions and pointed out that projects were all way over budget.

Where were you when this was all going on?

2) You are the head of PDOT. According to ODOT, under the best case scenario the SoWa district will create a new traffic choke point bringing about F ratings effecting I-5, Barbur, 43/Macadam, Ross Island Bridge and the Selwood Bridge. Why would we vote for you for mayor when you sat idly by and let this fiasco happen on your watch?

3) Whose heads are going to roll at PDC, the Portland Planning Commission, and in other parts of the Portland bureaucracy for this fiasco?

There are lots of other questions that could be asked. Bottom line, though, is the fact that nobody will ever be held accountable for this mess.

We all told them from the jump that this thing would fail miserably. Every single element of SoWa was built on a lie – from the original rationale of “10,000 biotech jobs” to the ridiculous idea that we should subsidize the construction of a bunch of high end condos.

Now, it is finally admitted that every single thing the critics shouted about have come to pass. Every last one. And what do we have?

A thousand empty condos, $300 million remaining in unfinished infrastructure, almost $300 million in tax revenue already bled off for in-favor developers.

And the cheerleader of it all will be the next mayor!

Once again, my motto for Portland:

Portland - Where nothing succeeds like failure

1 comment:

daleedwardsherbourne said...

I have to agree about infill and growth.Neither one pays for them selves and only makes matters worse for the people here in Portland where the problems will expotentially out strip the resources and call for higher taxes to fix the mess. You can never catch up tothe infrastructure needs unless you take a breath fix the mess we have and then decide on what you want to allow and vote on the taxes needed to support those proposed growth actions. Like more cops for crime, more fire fighters and equipment for taller buildings , larger jails , bigger sewage treatment plants, more reservoirs, more ground water wells, more social services for desintergrating families, more street lights.
Why is it that we always put the cart before the horse in this town. Is there some reasonn we need more people here. Maybe what we need is more productive industry instead of service industry.