Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What's wrong with this picture?

Multnomah County, by admission of its presiding judge, has had multiple opportunities to acquire a specific downtown property for construction of a new county courthouse.

It didn't.

And now, after the property (located on Main Street between First and Second Streets) has been sold to a developer for construction of a 16-story office building, with the developer seeking tenants so it can start construction in 2007, the County Commission is trying to figure out how to change history, to cut in line and steal the property before construction begins.

And if the developer won't sell, trade or deal, the commission will consider condemnation. According to Doug Butler, the county's facilities director and leader of a study on potential downtown locations:
The board said to me, "This is our No. 1 site. Do everything humanly possible to acquire it. If you can't get it, come back to us, and we'll decide whether to condemn it."
So in other words, the board knows it screwed up, and the public (or in this case, the developer) be damned as it rectifies that error.

Or, it could spend more than $10 million in taxpayer money to move the westbound offramp from the Hawthorne Bridge, so that land could be available for development. After the way the tram costs exploded, does anyone believe that would be the final pricetag?

And even if the land is available for private development, is this a good use of public money?
Keep in mind that the office building proposed for the Main Street parcel would, according to the developer, lead to an additional $1 million in annual property tax revenue. Thus, it would take more than a decade to pay for itself.

But hey, it's well established that short of extreme idiocy, the commission has no accountability. Why would this be any different?

3 Comments:

  • At 10/03/2006 10:50 AM, Anonymous Dave Lister said…

    Same shenanigans as when the county acquired the Hawthorne building, cutting out Columbia Sportswear and running them out of the county.

     
  • At 10/03/2006 4:26 PM, Blogger Max said…

    Even in extreme idiocy, the commission has no accountability.

     
  • At 10/03/2006 7:31 PM, Anonymous gullyborg said…

    I was typing the other day, and spell check determined that "Multnomah" should have been "melonoma."

     

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