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#61 chefken

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 08:46 PM

Amen.
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#62 Daaaaave

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 10:40 PM

Calabrese, does ANY of that pertain to the public market?

Tonight's city club was on the public market. What did I learn? Ron Paul's voice is annoying and Scott Dolitch is a boring speaker.

I wish they would have gotten into something more substantive and detailed. btw, it's now going to be the "James Beard Public Market".


Of course it doesn't.

#63 Calabrese

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 06:20 AM

http://www.oregonliv...i...&thispage=1

"A recently finished architectural study found a way to craft more than 31,000 square feet of market space by straddling Amtrak's operations in the main hall. Paul will present that $25,000 study, funded by a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant , to his board on Monday and has gone over details with City Commissioner Dan Saltzman and staff from the Office of Sustainable Development, which Saltzman oversees. "

OK, now this is real public money spent on the Portland Public Market. A study for $25K. That's a lot of study.

From the same article:

"Union Station needs $30 million to $40 million worth of work, including seismic upgrades and repairing water damage, to prepare for new tenants. After that work was done, Paul's group would have to raise $6 million to $8 million in private funds to install the market."

So Daaaave, where is the $30 to $40 million coming from? I doubt the Foundation has that kind of dough.

http://www.portlandt...609911754570000

"Now, the PDC is looking to unload the station, either to transfer the building to the city for public control or sell it to a private developer who will retain the rail functions.

"PDC doesn't want to remain owner of that facility," said PDC senior development manager Lew Bowers. "While we might be part of the financing to renovate it, we'd want to know whether the city will own it or maybe put it out for (a request for proposal) or see what the private sector would do with it. Nobody's talking about getting rid of the train station." "

Of course, there is a bit of fiction in this, in that the PDC is an arm of the city of Portland so in fact the city really technically owns the building as long as its in PDC control.

Again from the same article:

" "Whether or not the city takes it would definitely depend on the terms and conditions of the contract with PDC," said Mary Volm, a city spokeswoman. "It's a council decision. That's the bottom line."

One person who's paying close attention to the fate of the station is Ron Paul, the former restaurateur who's intent on siting a public market alongside Amtrak at Union Station.

The question of who will own the building doesn't faze him. "The public market has anticipated needing to respond to a continuum of ownerships," he said. "We understand that's part of the puzzle that awaits us, and we fully anticipate calibrating our strategies."

Recently, Paul received the results of the first feasibility study for the market at the station, and he's buoyed by the possibilities.

"Yes, there is the opportunity for the public market to coexist with Amtrak in Union Station," he said, summarizing the city-funded study by Mahlum Architects. "(It's) not without its challenges. But it also has tremendous opportunities." "

So there's some more public funding being mentioned. I am not going to spend more time digging through Google but the truth is out there.

Satisfied, Daaaaave???? You too, Zukin.

#64 chefken

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 01:35 PM

"Union Station needs $30 million to $40 million worth of work, including seismic upgrades and repairing water damage, to prepare for new tenants. After that work was done, Paul's group would have to raise $6 million to $8 million in private funds to install the market."


Gosh, and I think it's pretty likely that the project wuld eventually cost that $30-40 million, plus the $6-8 million for the market. Cause projects like these always cost about what the original projection is. Hello Tram. Hello PGE Park.
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#65 Calabrese

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 03:44 PM



"Union Station needs $30 million to $40 million worth of work, including seismic upgrades and repairing water damage, to prepare for new tenants. After that work was done, Paul's group would have to raise $6 million to $8 million in private funds to install the market."


Gosh, and I think it's pretty likely that the project wuld eventually cost that $30-40 million, plus the $6-8 million for the market. Cause projects like these always cost about what the original projection is. Hello Tram. Hello PGE Park.



Bwahahahahahah...... and of course the public, er city of Portland, in one form or another, will contribute none of that upgrade money. I've got some prime ocean front real estate along the San Andreas fault near the AZ border for anyone who believes that too.

#66 Flynn

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 03:52 PM

Aren't we going to be on the hook as taxpayers to upgrade Union Station with or without a public market?

#67 Calabrese

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 03:59 PM

Aren't we going to be on the hook as taxpayers to upgrade Union Station with or without a public market?



Why? Why couldn't it just be sold to commercial developers who would have to do that?

#68 chefken

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 06:24 PM

I believe it's owned by the city right now. If it stays just a train station, then it's likely up to the city to upgrade. it. Of course, the way that Amtrak is going, unfortunately, it remains to be seen how long it will continue to serve the function it was intended for. The move should be towards more mass transit, not less, and it would be great to see Union Station thrive as a transit hub, instead of going to developers as another mall for J. Crew and Banana Republic.

I'm not sure, however, if the seismic work is mandatory if it keeps it's current use. I always thought that it only had to be done with change of use.
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#69 Laksa

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 08:41 PM

I really think Ron Paul needs to decide whether he is going to champion a public market or run for the Presidency.

#70 Daaaaave

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 05:36 PM

Aren't we going to be on the hook as taxpayers to upgrade Union Station with or without a public market?


What? And risk a boondoggle to get the train station up to seismic code and repair decades of water damage due to neglect? No thank you. Let it crumble, I say.

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#71 Calabrese

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 04:54 AM

The city didn't save all kinds of historic terra cotta buildings, especially not the Congress Hotel, from being torn down to put up glass high rises downtown. Heck the city championed destruction of those historic buildings to make way for progress and support development. So if the city were to act in a manner consistent with its history, it would not be involved in saving the Union Station. It would favor urbran renewal and private development. Just saying.

#72 Daaaaave

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 07:03 AM

As always your logic is impeccable. Don't fund renovations or else the dirty developers win. Don't let it crumble to dust or else the dirty developers win. Anti-modernity if you costs you anything. Anti-antiquity if it costs you anything. Either way, you have a pet straw man you can complain about and you didn't have to spend one thin dime to build him.

Buildings like the Congress Hotel and more recently the St. Francis, allowed to decay, crumble and get condemned as unsafe because no one wanted to spend the money to keep them up...excellent examples to back up your miserly points of view.

After all, look at all your handwringing about the tram. Tell me...what was your total tax burden to pay for the tram? You do own a condo at the Meriwether, right?

#73 Calabrese

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 04:54 PM

Actually, Daaave, your sarcasm doesn't really do much to convince me of anything other than you believe in entitlements for things that are your special causes. And apparently you don't grasp the big picture as I see it. It's not about hating developers. My father used to be one (in another state) and he never got a cent of public money to fund his developments.

Let's start with the simple fact that City of Portland has limited income and resources. Limited is the opposite of unlimited. That means the City of Portland has constraints and limits in what projects, services, etc. that it can fund. So being perfectly rational about this, there are some fundamental things that the city is expected to provide, police (understaffed, poorly trained, underfunded), firefighers (in need of better training and more funding), roads (the city is trying to get volunteers to patch potholes in my neighborhood, can you say underfunded), other transportation issues, water and sewer (they're still spilling waste water into the river and it's been a know problem for decades and they're spending a fortune on the big dig but it won't fix all the problems and they still haven't been able to implement a workable billing system), education (schools are being shut down that could be saved and that neighborhoods want saved), parks and recreation, social services for the elderly, sick, handicapped, safey inspections, and more.

In my opinion the city's priorities for spending have been messed up for a very long time.

As I see it the city doesn't seem to have enough money to get the fundamentals covered. And unfortunately, if the city can't get it right providing fundamental services, it has no right to grant tax breaks to those in condos that they paid a lot of money for (you can argue whether or not builders should get breaks but not wealthy owners) and it has no right to subsidize developers like it has for the last nearly 70s years.

Since there aren't resources to cover everything that could be covered, saving historic buildings just isn't a priority for tax dollars in my book. People have made choices about how much taxation they are willing to accept Daaaave. And within those bounds the fundamentals come first.

If the Union Station is something that you think is so important to be saved, then let me challenge you to start a grass roots movement to save it. Put together an organization. Raise the money from like minded private citizens. Have fundraisers, have campaigns. And I say this as someone who led the effort to raise enough money to endow something that was important to me. It invovles higher education. And I say this as someone whose friends were involved in the effort to ensure that the Outdoor school survived despite having the Portland Public Schools cut-off all its funding.

"When Portland Public Schools announced that it was canceling the spring Outdoor School session for its remaining 6th graders, SOS jumped into action. They organized events such as Outdoor School in the square, door to door canvassing and a party at the Ecotrust building to help raise money. A major donor campaign built upon the momentum gained from the grassroots campaign and the final result of SOS's efforts was that over $470,000 in donations and matching funds were raised in less than 8 weeks, enabling the rest of Portland Public School 6th graders to attend Outdoor School."

So please Daaave, take your passion for the Union Station or a public market or both and raise the money to make it real. I just don't think it's one of those things that is essential to city operations.

#74 chefken

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 06:41 PM

I have to disagree here. Not with your disdain for breaks for developers. But I think that first, maintaining historic buildings is necessary in maintaining the character of a city, otherwise everything starts to look like Pearl District condos and McMansions and characterless boxy modern buildings. They're a link with the past and contribute to a place's personality and color, and soften the hardness of the city. I won't try to equate this in importance with an adequately staffed and equiped police force, or well-funded schools. But it's important that a city strive to fund it's civic beauty and character.

In addition, as global warming increasingly drives our society towards mass transit, I hope that there will be attempts to improve our train system. To abandon Union Station sends a signal that we've given up on Amtrak as well.
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#75 Daaaaave

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 08:41 PM

Tell me...what was your total tax burden to pay for the tram?



#76 Calabrese

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 10:09 PM

I have to disagree here. Not with your disdain for breaks for developers. But I think that first, maintaining historic buildings is necessary in maintaining the character of a city, otherwise everything starts to look like Pearl District condos and McMansions and characterless boxy modern buildings. They're a link with the past and contribute to a place's personality and color, and soften the hardness of the city. I won't try to equate this in importance with an adequately staffed and equiped police force, or well-funded schools. But it's important that a city strive to fund it's civic beauty and character.


Unfortunately, you have to make a choice. What programs and services do you take money away from to do this? Or how else do you save buildings short of non-profits with that mission and a strong volunteer and donor base? And does anyone care enough to do something with their own time and effort?

In addition, as global warming increasingly drives our society towards mass transit, I hope that there will be attempts to improve our train system. To abandon Union Station sends a signal that we've given up on Amtrak as well.



I don't disagree. But again, Portland's history is poor choices made at the behest of industry. The city once had a great rail and trolley system. http://www.trimet.or...tinportland.htm

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/dthompso1/Chronology.html ://http://mywebpages.comcast.net/dthom...uot;] [/color]://http://mywebpages.comcast.net/dthom....uot;] [/color]://http://mywebpages.comcast.net/dthom....uot;] [/color] However, a little industry lobbying led to a total replacement of the electic streetcars by buses that burned gas and needed tires (and remember that not all that long ago tires did not last very long at all). And parts of the old Council Crest trolley are buried near where the Hwy 26 tunnel into the SW part of town is. Cars over trolleys and trains as an everyday reminder.

I think that the Feds who own Amtrak are the ones giving up on it. Congress would rather bail out airlines and pour money into the interstate highway system than invest in a high speed rail system like the ones in Japan or Germany.

#77 ExtraMSG

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 10:20 PM

Daaaaave, that's a sort of economic version of the fallacy of division/composition. I assume you're trying to say that because Calabrese's personal tax burden is miniscule, and thus, insignificant (to her), that the combined tax burden is therefore insignificant. But while every Portland citizen may pay $10 for a $5 million project, that $5 million is still real money and if it gets used for refurbishing a train station, it can't be used for refurbishing a school, or paying for 100 police or teacher salaries, etc. Unless, of course, there's a bond levied for it or taxes raised. But then, that's an opportunity cost as well.

Still, better a public market than major league lameball.

I don't see why Whole Foods, New Seasons, and the Portland Farmers Markets can get by without public funding, but a public market, which presumably would be granted this property as part of the parks system, couldn't. Pike Place, Granville, and the Ferry Building get a shitload of people going through them. From listening to that city club thing, I don't get the sense that Ron Paul is even really trying.

While I think the public market as an idea is a good thing, I'm very suspicious of the current "effort".

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#78 chefken

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 05:28 AM

I think that the Feds who own Amtrak are the ones giving up on it. Congress would rather bail out airlines and pour money into the interstate highway system than invest in a high speed rail system like the ones in Japan or Germany.


Agreed. But I don't think that means we have to tolerate them giving up on it, and I think that eventually things might come full circle and the train systems will get the attention they need and deserve. It's become a viscious cycle where the trains have deteriorated due to neglect, and therefore fewer people take them and they therefore they fall further into neglect, etc.

I understand that communities have to prioritize, and find the right formula for paying for it's services and infrastructure. But buildings and maintaining the character of its community is part of that formula, and cities have to find a way to pay for these as well, though not at the expense of vital services.
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#79 Daaaaave

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 07:48 AM

Daaaaave, that's a sort of economic version of the fallacy of division/composition. I assume you're trying to say that because Calabrese's personal tax burden is miniscule, and thus, insignificant (to her), that the combined tax burden is therefore insignificant. But while every Portland citizen may pay $10 for a $5 million project, that $5 million is still real money and if it gets used for refurbishing a train station, it can't be used for refurbishing a school, or paying for 100 police or teacher salaries, etc. Unless, of course, there's a bond levied for it or taxes raised. But then, that's an opportunity cost as well.


What I'm saying, and have already said earlier in this thread, is that her tax burden is zero. So is yours, mine, Flynn's, and everyone else I know of on this board.

Again, it was an 85-15 split with OHSU paying 85% of the cost and the City picking up 15%. Now here is the important part: the city's 15% was deferred and will be paid back through property tax payments made by tenants in, AND ONLY IN, the South Waterfront District. It is, in fact, a form of a non ad valorem assessment which will be levied against future condo owners, which will be well disclosed prior to sale by law.

The simple fact is if you don't want to pay for the tram, don't move into the Meriwether or the Atwater once it opens. That's it.

But far be it from me to inject any kind of real sense into a "boondoggle" argument. We could also talk about things like the stalling process made by Lair Hill residents helping to exacerbate cost overruns because, as I'm sure you've found out as you open your deli, the cost of wood, steel and even nails tomorrow won't be what it costs today. Or that ridership has been above what was originally termed "unrealistic" OHSU projections. But what's the point? Someone thinks they might have to spend a little money and out come the Chicken Littles crying about the sky falling.

The same general principle applies to Union Station. The roof is badly in need of repair. The leaks have created water damage throughout the station. It is structurally not up to code. These fixes could have been cheap decades ago, perhaps even years ago, but now the cost to get Union Station back into good working order is $30+million, Market or no market. And so everyone balks at the numbers and no one wants to pay. So another decade or two will go by, the damage will get worse and be tougher, more expensive and take longer to repair. That $30+million will grow as well. It's called preventative maintenance and there seems to be a sizable section of Portlanders who'd rather let their historic buildings crumbles than pay for restoration. Worse yet, they remain completely and utterly two-faced about the decline of Portland's history while simultaneously refusing to do anything about it.

#80 ExtraMSG

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 08:57 AM

Again, it was an 85-15 split with OHSU paying 85% of the cost and the City picking up 15%. Now here is the important part: the city's 15% was deferred and will be paid back through property tax payments made by tenants in, AND ONLY IN, the South Waterfront District. It is, in fact, a form of a non ad valorem assessment which will be levied against future condo owners, which will be well disclosed prior to sale by law.

The simple fact is if you don't want to pay for the tram, don't move into the Meriwether or the Atwater once it opens. That's it.


I think you're missing my point. It's not about how much any individual has to pay -- even if it's zero. It's about the opportunity costs. Those taxes would have gone to other things such as possibly more important transportation expenditures and other higher priority needs of the city. The cost overrun mattered because there isn't a limitless supply of funds in any year. What gets spent in one place decreases what can be spent in another. So either taxes have to be raised on all citizens to pay for those things that can't be paid for because of the tram or the projects just go unfunded. And if taxes have to be raised, once again, you're doing so with opportunity costs.

There seem like two ways to approach this: 1) either showing that the tram or the public market or Union Station is more important than other things that public monies would be spent on, or 2) showing that such projects will be a long-term net gain, like is often argued for investments in sports stadiums or tourist destinations. Or as gets made with tax breaks for industries.

The first approach would be rather subjective, which is fine. The second would be quite objective, but speculative.

And even after this, which only shows that the public market is a good idea and a viable idea, there is some burden to show that the person in charge of the project, Ron Paul, is the right man for the job. There's no doubting his passion, but I have strong doubts about his success. What's he got to show for his efforts so far? I know he's been trying, but "do or do not, there is no try".

And what's wrong with a moderate approach, like the government lending the space in the park blocks, but then expecting the rest to be privately funded and self-supportive?

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