Campaigning vs. Governing

Chris Smith

As a member of the Steering Committee for Commissioner Sam Adams’ “Save Lives – Save Money” project, I’m getting a close-up look at the nitty-gritty challenges of governing. Sam is embarked on the very unglamorous task of explaining to the citizens of Portland that:

Which leads the fun question of how to pay to fix this? And how do we address the unimproved and sidewalk-less streets? Under current code (as in most cities in Oregon) this is the property owners' responsibility. Should we (all the taxpayers in Portland) shoulder some of the cost to bring these streets up to standards? They are sub-standard because they were developed before the areas were annexed into the City.

Talking about new taxes or fees is never popular, but Sam is stepping up because the need is real, and he’s not going to let the problem get worse on his watch (to the tune of $9M in increased maintenance backlog each year). 

So what does this have to do with campaigning? We have a City Council candidate, Charles Lewis, suggesting that these funding and policy challenges could go away if we just exercised “accountability and creative management.” 

Full disclosure: depending on how the dominos fall regarding Mayoral and Council campaigns in the 2008 cycle, I am a potential candidate for the same seat as Mr. Lewis.

Of course it’s easy and popular to run a campaign saying that we can expand services without increasing taxes and fees, but is it helpful to the institution of government?

Mr. Lewis conveniently ignores or glosses over a number of inconvenient facts: 

Perhaps Mr. Lewis believes that we should move General Fund dollars away from Police, Fire and Parks to deal with the needs in transportation (which does not operate on General Fund dollars from property taxes)? If so, shouldn’t he identify which of those functions he’s prepared to reduce or eliminate? 

Shouldn’t a candidate who is seeking public campaign dollars (through Voter Owned Elections – a system I championed and support) have a higher obligation to conduct a dialog about real issues, not convenient sound bites?

I can understand in partisan elections why the policies of the party in power get criticized, but in a non-partisan race like City Council is it really necessary to campaign in a way that makes citizens even more cynical about government? Does campaigning have to be destructive to governance?

Comments

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    The problems cited above appear to be another example of growth not paying its way caused, in part, by builders and developers opposing realistic systems development charges (SDCs) need to cover the costs of new infrastructures needed because of growth.

  • BlueNote (unverified)
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    I am not familiar with the author or his political adversary, but if the author actually has a workable solution to the half-billion dollars in deferred maintenance on Portland streets, I salute him. In the current "I got mine, so go F*&^ yourself" political environment, I have a hard time seeing how any tax or fee increase is going to withstand voter scrutiny.

    Washington voters have passed some large gas tax increases related to roads, but those are due primarily to unique Seattle area problems related to the Alaska Way Viaduct (earthquake damage) and the Evergreen Point Bridge (capacity problems), both of which are becoming bottlenecks or potential disasters. Portland's problems are more mundane - crumbing road shoulders, potholes, unpaved roads on the east side, rusted overpasses, etc. In my opinion it is going to be almost impossible to raise voter awareness and support for a major gas tax or vehicle registration fee increase in Portland.

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    Bill, this is not about new growth, but rather about paying to maintain the older infrastructure, something we have traditionally relied on gas taxes for.

    Bluenote, I agree this is a difficult conversation to have with voters, and I admire Sam for taking it on.

  • Jim (unverified)
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    Just to keep something in mind... A lot of those who live on unimproved roads and sidewalk-less streets LIKE it that way.

    If my last house had been big enough for a family of four, we would gladly still be there on the dirt road and opposing any effort to pave it.

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    Each new streetcar line sucks up about a quarter of a million a year in city money, forever. Maybe we ought to stop building those.

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    Jack, we've had that debate elsewhere. The operating funding for Streetcar comes from sources local to the district where it operates (e.g., downtown parking fees) that are not realistically available for city-wide use.

    And the total operating budget for Streetcar would only be a small fraction of the $9M annual deficit for maintenance.

  • Dave Lister (unverified)
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    This is good politics on Sam's part. If he gets a shot at the mayor's office, he can campaign as the one who is willing to "face the tough choices and make the hard, unpopular decisions". Great contrast against Potter's "let's convene a commission and consider all points of view" before we do anything. Sam can also use the same theme when he runs to retain his seat.

    Potter can have four more years if he wants it. No question about it. No one, including Sam, will challenge him. My bet is that he does, Sam keeps his seat, Randy keeps his seat and nothing changes before 2010.

    Newsflash to Lewis: Don't break a hard sweat running against Sam. You can't beat an incumbent. I oughta know. Erik Sten was arguably the most vulnerable incumbent in a lotta years, and the combned votes for Burdick and myself did not get to 50%.

  • Dave Lister (unverified)
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    By the way Chris, all these campaigns are sound bite campaigns. Doesn't matter if they're funded publicly or privately. The only people who are paying attention to anything having to do with the '08 primary are political junkies like us or the media. Most of the voters could give a rip right now.

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    Dave, if we have to live in the realm of sound bites, can't we at least ask that they not mislead voters about the facts on the ground?

  • Johnathan G. (unverified)
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    "Full disclosure: depending on how the dominos fall regarding Mayoral and Council campaigns in the 2008 cycle, I am a potential candidate for the same seat as Mr. Lewis."

    No offense Chris but it sounds like you are jumping on Sam's bandwagon in the hopes that he runs for mayor and will support you in your bid for his seat.

  • Dave Lister (unverified)
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    Chris, Come on and get real. Look at the mailers that went out on Strong Mayor with George Bush pasted all over them. You and I were both fighting strong mayor. If soundbites got the job done, so be it. That's politics.

  • Dave Lister (unverified)
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    Johnathan G.

    Sitting commissioners hardly every endorse anyone for the council. They don't want to piss off potential colleagues. Might need to trade a vote her or there with them in the future.

  • Johnathan G. (unverified)
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    Dave, I wasn't implying that Adams would outright endorse anyone. All I was saying is that if someone supports and defends your policies, there are a lot of ways you can help them (such as doling out advice to their campaign) should they ever decide to run.

    What if Defazio decided to run against Smith and one of Defazio's supporters decided to run for the vacant House seat? Are you telling me that their is no way a sitting politician could help a supporter run for the seat they are vacating minus an endorsement?

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    Jonathan, I included the disclaimer because you have the right to question my motives. However, I can tell you that Sam and I work on a number of projects together and I doubt that this blog post will have much impact on our overall relationship. And I'm supporting the policy initiative because over most of a decade as a neighborhood transportation chair I got a pretty good sense of the problem.

  • Dave Lister (unverified)
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    JG:

    No argument there.

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    Chris,

    Let's get Salem to step up and raise the gasoline tax.

    As far as the primary thrust of your post, I don't know what you are asking for. Do you want an evaluation of the legitimacy of Lewis's campaign slogans? You imply that they are detrimental to the institutions of government, but nothing in your rejoinder addresses provides any more specifics that Lewis has.

    You note that the buying power of the gas tax has gone down. Ok. You tell us that the buying power of the gas tax is lower than in other Western states. Ok again. You say that Sam has replaced the old Transportation team with his own team. Again OK but not sure why that translates into accountability (why were they replaced? Were they not doing their job? Perhaps Sam installed people who shared his own vision?)

    I don't claim to know the details, but surely you do, so I think you should let us know.

    Is there any evidence that transportation dollars are misallocated?

    Can we address long term maintenance issues in ways other than general fund dollars?

    Last point: I find the politics of this fascinating, perhaps the curse of being an academic. Most of the long term maintenance needs are in areas of the city (outer SW and SE) that may not feel well served by the current focus on streetcars, transit malls, and other downtown amenities.

    Do we think the Council has (or needs to) establish a trust and accountability relationship with these folks so that they will support higher taxes?

    And if not, how can they do so?

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    Do we think the Council has (or needs to) establish a trust and accountability relationship with these folks so that they will support higher taxes?

    Yes, absolutely. If we are going to ask the citizens to pay higher taxes or fees, we need to have a credible conversation with those citizens, which is exactly what Sam is trying to do. My point is that having a candidate who steps into the middle of the conversation to say "you can have something for nothing" without details is not helpful to a genuine dialog with citizens.

    You can find lots of details about the problem and the potential revenue solutions on CommissionerSam.com, I won't detail them here other than to address the specific question about the state gas tax:

    1) I have no faith that the Legislature will step up.

    2) To plug Portland's funding hole, the gas tax would need to go from $0.24/gallon to something like $0.55/gallon (because 60% goes to the State, 20% to the County and only 20% to the City). That big an increase just isn't going to happen.

  • Max (unverified)
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    Build more streetcars. Build more light rail. Fixed rail will solve all problems, as Sam himself mentioned recently. He wants to turn the clock back 80 years, at a cost of literally billions of dollars. How very progressive.

    Bicycles may be an option in the flatlands of northeast, but as a long-time southwest resident, I can tell you for certain that it's not viable for most folks. It's kind of fun to whiz on down the hills, but getting back up them is a whole other story.

    Instead of building fixed rail lines at enormous cost - how about building roads with our tax dollars? I know, it sounds like heresy, but bear with me: for the price of building one mile of fixed rail, we could buy 300 shiny new rubber-tiresd buses. Even worse, buses can be rerouted pretty easily in order to accommodate changing load patterns. Fixed rail can't. But of course, choo-choos are just so cool!

    Sorry, I don't buy into the train fixation. And I'm sure not buying the "we need more taxes" line when the train nuts are blowing billions on toys.

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    Paul, you'll also find a 3-part series on the issue over at PortlandTransport.com if you want more details.

    My point here is to raise how irresponsible campaign tactics make it harder for Government to have any credibility with citizens.

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    Max, while we can have a legitimate discussion about rail versus roads, that doesn't answer the maintenance question. The capital sources we build rail with simply aren't legally available to be used for road maintenance. Nor are the payroll tax dollars that pay to operate rail and buses available for road maintenance.

    And since buses and bikes use those same roads, it's important to a good multi-model system to maintain the roads.

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    Instead of building fixed rail lines at enormous cost - how about building roads with our tax dollars? I know, it sounds like heresy, but bear with me: for the price of building one mile of fixed rail, we could buy 300 shiny new rubber-tiresd buses. Even worse, buses can be rerouted pretty easily in order to accommodate changing load patterns. Fixed rail can't. But of course, choo-choos are just so cool!

    "Building roads to prevent congestion is like having sex to prevent pregnancy." In other words, more roads ultimately only makes things worse, not better.

    Your comparison of building costs is an incomplete way of analyzing benefit. Most recently, the analysis of efforts to relieve congestion on Hwy 43 from Lake Oswego found that while streetcars cost much more in upfront development, the operating cost was LESS THAN ONE-FOURTH that of bus rapid transit (BRT).

    Furthermore, development doesn't occur around bus lines, precisely because they are considered transient routes. It DOES occur around fixed rail, however.

    And further, with rail in some cases you can qualify for matching federal funds. And on the cost tip--billions? The largest light rail project yet so far is the Green Line, and IIRC Portland's share of that is around $150mil.

  • James from SE (unverified)
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    Bicycles may be an option in the flatlands of northeast, but as a long-time southwest resident, I can tell you for certain that it's not viable for most folks. It's kind of fun to whiz on down the hills, but getting back up them is a whole other story.

    Are you honestly suggesting that most people in Portland live in SW? SW is tiny. As far as going up hills, sorry that you fill that way about a little exercise.

  • Sarah Ames (unverified)
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    I'll let the guys argue over the merits of transportation funding. But how can someone steering the "Save Lives, Save Money" project keep a straight face while accusing an opponent of using "convenient sound bites"?

    We all use sound bites. And voters should know to dig beneath them.

  • je (unverified)
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    Chris: You sound just like Sam Adams..."pots of money" and all that.

    It's tax money, more specifically transportation money. The restricted "pots of money" line is just an artful dodge. Political will could direct that money anywhere the "political will" wants it.

    Let's face it, choo choo trains are more glamorous than potholes. But don't get into municipal government if all you want is glamor.

    Torridjoe: You really drink the Kool-Aid deep don't you.

    Sure, increasing road capacity will increase usage, but your "logic" taken to its conclusion would have us build no roads at all. You're full of dogma.

    Besides, while I can't prove it, I suspect transit development(by way of streetcars) is exaggerated, or an outright urban myth. How much of that development would have happened anyway with a growing economy and how much of the specific development gets a subsidy to locate next to the streetcar?

    Under your logic NW 23rd should still be a dump and SE Hawthorne a drive, but wrong, both are vibrant without any streetcars.

    Sam Adams' streetcar vision has nothing to do with democracy as over 90% of people drive cars.

    It's pure social engineering and elite "I love the European look and feel". Over 90% of folks want to get from Point A to point B as fast as possible, in example: My time is valuble, I have a destination(job, friend, or whatever), I want to get there in 15 minutes not 45 minutes to an hour.

    Put tax money into maintaining and expanding our roads which benefit the most people and promote independence, not "Oh, don't you just want to take a picture of the streetcar.", "O.K., but first let me park the BMW so the picure will be in focus."

    Don't tread on me.

  • Dolly (unverified)
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    Chris Smith is worried about others using sound bites and misleading the public? Now that's funny.

    Sam has been around city hall while the backlogged mainteance soared. Cheif of Staff for Vera and as a cmmissioner. He now uses peope like Smith to distribute bunk like

    "The capital sources we build rail with simply aren't legally available to be used for road maintenance"

    What an absolute lie. Much of our rail was built with Urban Renewal TIF money which as Smith knows has been used on every concievable thing. The effort to hold hostage road maintenance for a new tax or fee is shameless and transparent. And I guarantee there won't be any proposal coming that does'nt fund more streetcars, bike ped facilities. That's what this is all about. Ever notice there's not been a push for a new tax for rail/ped/bike facilities. No, they just scurry around taking money from every where and every thing to do that. Now that Urban Rewnewal has been abused and debt soars Chris is out here pitching the road maintenance crisis as a ruse to get more rail/ped/bike money.
    For decades the city, counties and metro made choices to disregard the need for more roads and the rising maintenance backlog. All sorts of moneys from general fund budgets have been spent along with quasi-laundering ways of spending it without spending it. Sam recently approved $3.5 million to be taken right out of the PDOT budget to pay to OHSU for future parking spaces in a future building which may not be built. Big priority there. That $3.5 million is one of many millions whihc could have gone to maintenance and Smith knows it. There's an ethics defecit here folks.
    And is it really road safety at stake here?

    Metro has a draft copy of “A Profile of Regional Safety in the Portland Metropolitan Area”.

    The report demonstrates an amazing treatment of safety by an agency, who like Portland, has long promoted policies undermining traffic safety.

    On page 3 Figure 1, it is shown that fatal accident rates (per million miles traveled) on Interstates highways in the Portland Metropolitan Area are 0.26 or only 67% as much as on Arterials (0.39) and only 29% as much as on Local streets (0.89). (They do not show that for ALL accidents this disparity is even greater, with Interstates scoring one-third the accident rates of Arterials.)

    This is one of the few bits of real information shown in the report, somewhat marred by the fact that Figure 1 is labeled as “Speeding-Related Fatalities by Roadway Functional Class”, which it is definitely NOT. The data is not related top speeding and does not show number of accidents. As typical of Metro, the people writing about (or “analyzing” the data don’t know what the data is, let alone what it means.

    Because of the Portland area’s hare-brained policy of freezing freeway capacity, the traffic growth has tended to be greater on arterials, as shown in the many computer projections they have done over time. Yet here is a tiny crumb of real data being shown that tells us that this, in effect, means greater exposure to more hazardous driving conditions, and certainly more fatalities. Would this not suggest some change in policy for our “planners” ?

    On page 14 under “Policy Implications” they give their answer. A “Key Finding” is to: “Creating a culture of safety within an organization helps achieve significant safety improvements”. Nothing about how it might be a good idea to shift traffic on to freeways nor in why, in over 30 years, of “planning” in the Portland Metropolitan Area has no “culture of safety” ever been yet created within the Planning Establishment. Since to “create” means it does not yet exist, their statement is a back-handed admission that they have had no consciousness of traffic safety all this time in spit of numerous laws and regulations (see pages 6-11) mandating that they create safer roads..

    Sam and Chris are charletans pretending to be advocating for more spending on road maintenance. In reality they pursue more revenue for their adgenda and will make any pretense neccessary to find it. When it comes time to spending it they'll be making the pitch that it is best spent on alternative modes to avoid future road maintenance backloggs.

  • Amanda Fritz (unverified)
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    By the way Chris, all these campaigns are sound bite campaigns. Doesn't matter if they're funded publicly or privately.

    I agree with Dave Lister's first point, disagree with the second. Public Campaign Finance candidates (and those seeking to become one) should strive to meet a higher standard. The means/arguments used to attract support to qualify, and the way public money is used in the campaign, should be part of the way voters assess whether a candidate can be trusted with stewardship of public money if elected. Even though "we all use sound bites", candidates seeking or using public money have a particular (new) obligation to elevate the debate, and to aim for the campaign to serve the long term public good.

    Chris, the skills required to win election are not necessarily the same as those needed to govern well.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Bill, this is not about new growth, but rather about paying to maintain the older infrastructure, something we have traditionally relied on gas taxes for.

    If new growth contributes to commercial buildings in Portland that attract commuters from the surrounding Metro area and these commuters are using and beating up the existing roads but they and the magnet business are making no contribution to paying for upkeep surely growth must be a factor, if only one of several.

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    Under your logic NW 23rd should still be a dump and SE Hawthorne a drive, but wrong, both are vibrant without any streetcars.

    Uh, NW 23rd DOES have a streetcar, and has benefitted greatly from it.

    My logic does not dictate no new roads; it dictates not building a road as an attempt to relieve congestion.

    I find it ironic that your main goal is speed, but can't see that building roads in order to address increased traffic ultimately will make your trip longer, not shorter.

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    But how can someone steering the "Save Lives, Save Money" project keep a straight face while accusing an opponent of using "convenient sound bites"?

    Touché :-)

    I wanted to call us the Pot Hole Posse, but I got overruled...

    Seriously, there are 30 pages of PowerPoint behind the sound bite name for Sam's effort (taken on tour to five neighborhood town halls so far, with seven more next month). I'd like to see what's behind Mr. Lewis' "accountability and creativity".

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    If new growth contributes to commercial buildings in Portland that attract commuters from the surrounding Metro area and these commuters are using and beating up the existing roads but they and the magnet business are making no contribution to paying for upkeep surely growth must be a factor, if only one of several.

    One of the funding approaches that Sam is asking for feedback on is a "street maintenance fee" that would be based on the trips that a given site generates. So that "magnet business" would get assessed for the trips it attracts. But that's just one of several options and I encourage you to attend the town halls and learn more.

    And, Dolly, State Law DOES NOT allow TIF to be used for maintenance.

  • Keith (unverified)
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    My taxes are too high already and I will not vote for any politician who wants to raise them. Period, no questions asked. Which means I will not vote for Sam Adams. I don't care if the roads turn to mud -- you will get no more of my money.

  • Terry Parker (unverified)
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    One of the primary tax fairness principals in America is “user pays”. However under our current system of transport taxation and user fees, some modes of transport, specifically transit and bicycling not only do not pay for the roads over which they travel on, but they don’t even financially contribute to the specialized infrastructure that only these alternative modes can use. TriMet fares for example only cover 21 percent of the operating expenses and bicyclists directly contribute zero dollars towards bicycle infrastructure. The proposed Eastside Streetcar will require a 5.6 million dollars in annual taxpayer subsidies just to keep the flanged wheels turning. At the same time the gas and fuel taxes, registration, license fees, parking and other fees that motorists and motor freight carriers pay are being siphoned off from road maintenance and improvements to pay for bike lanes and bike infrastructure, the proliferation of curb extensions for transit stops that add to congestion on city arterials, super-sizing sidewalks, nature trails and even other indirect development subsidies. Raising the gas tax is not the answer.

    Having personally attended all of Commissioner Sam Adams’ town hall meetings, two things repeatedly came up: At all five meetings a bicycle tax was suggested from the audience, and at four of five of the meetings, Adams himself stated TriMet’s two axle busses do the heaviest damage to Portland streets. Yet the steering committee Adams has assembled is basically a socially engineered stacked deck of the “usual (anti-auto) suspects” of streetcar and transit advocates, hardcore bicycle activists, pedestrian coalition people, neighborhood rubber stampers and one-sided bureaucrats that already serve on just about every other regional and city transport citizen committee. Additionally, a few token representatives from other groups have been added like one from AAA Oregon and the freight community. However, this can hardly be called a cross section of the community when it comes to recommending a funding course of action, particularly when the committee is absent of any direct ordinary citizen motorist representatives and absent of motorist commuter representatives that should be included to quantify representation based on the current mode split and motorist paid stakeholder transport taxes already being paid.

    Not including the primary motorist stakeholders on the official steering committee is political censorship when it comes to users of the majority mode of choice. People vote by driving their cars. It is as if when control advocates and the social engineering lobby forces can not obtain total alliance, or even majority support from the public, the answer is just to stifle the opposing voices thereby intentionally skewing the balance of support/non-support to be in their favor. This is done out of fear of loss of political control and a desperate attempt to silence what could be a majority contrasting view. Adams for or example intentionally left questions off his public survey that would poll the public on taxing bicyclists and transit riders to help pay for roads. In a democratic society, politicians are the servants of the people. Social engineering including striking these types questions from public surveys has no place in governance.

    Sharing the road must require sharing the financial responsibility. Primary stakeholder motorists and motor freight carriers already pay a much larger funding share towards roads and other transport infrastructure than any other mode that utilize roads. Transport tax equity including a bicycle tax directly assessed to bicyclists only and a transit fare surcharge must be implemented to bring alternative transport modes in compliance with the “user pays” tax fairness principals before any other funding increase is considered. If motor vehicle registration/license fees can cover the administrative costs and also supply funding to pay for roads, so can a similar priced registration/license fee be designed for bicycles that covers the administration costs and also supplies funding to pay for bicycle infrastructure. Bicyclists should be directly paying for any bicycle infrastructure, and transit fares need to cover a much larger share of the costs of providing the service. Both modes of transport also need to directly be taxed to help pay for street maintenance like motorist paid gas taxes already do.

    Furthermore, Portlanders should be extremely skeptical of any proposed Street Maintenance Fee. If the fee is not totally 100 percent dedicated to street maintenance only, it should be totally rejected. Just like Portland sewer bills that started out as temporary tax, a mere fifty cents, now has a high priced rain tax attached and has become among the highest sewer tax in the nation; Adams’ Street Maintenance Fee could easily be a surreptitious plotted backdoor scheme to fund his full sized Lionel streetcar layout along with a profusion of expensive non-user subsidies for bicycle infrastructure. With the majority of the Steering Committee membership makeup being alternative transport cronies that continue to plot against improving roadway infrastructure for motorists and motor freight carriers, Portlanders should be exceedingly suspicious of any recommendation and possible hidden agendas this stacked deck committee has to offer.

  • Steve (unverified)
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    Here's the problem, people pay taxes adn it is getting to be a bigger bite all the time. BDS raised their fees 7% and Water is going up 5% for each of the next 4 years. All of this is going faster than inflation.

    Spending - We always seem to have enough for streetcars, trams, light rail and downtown street improvements. At least I don't hear Mr Adams say he doesnt have enough money.

    Now we have spent $35M on PGE Park, $35M on the floating sidewalk, $15M (CoP) on the tram and Mr Adams thinks he can get $85M for the Burnside couplet (1.5 miles of one road.) This is a total of $200M on ONLY 4 projects.

    Now, he comes with hat in hand saying he has no money for road repairs. When will people realize that road repairs have no priority with Mr Adams (Vera Jr?) I'd say Charles Lewis at least has his mind in the right place.

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    Here's the problem, people pay taxes adn it is getting to be a bigger bite all the time. BDS raised their fees 7% and Water is going up 5% for each of the next 4 years. All of this is going faster than inflation.

    The gas tax has had no inflationary adjustment since 1993.

  • je (unverified)
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    To torridjoe: You really think you're smarter than everyone else. That's why you're so easy to stomp.

    NW 23rd took off way before the streetcar started running and it crosses way down by Good Samaritan Hospital.

    At least you didn't say SE Hawthorne took off in anticipation of a future streetcar.

    According to torridjoe: Once a two lane road is built, never widen it so more traffic can travel at the original speed or upgrade it so people can go faster.

    Under your logic we would all be using Interstate and I5 would never been built.

    There are too many examples to list them all to show you must have a brain tumor to be so stupid.

  • Steve (unverified)
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    "The gas tax has had no inflationary adjustment since 1993."

    Uh, so what? The increase in other fees/taxes more than compensate. Dear god, at least give a more compelling reason to raise than we need to raise it because we haven't done it lately.

    How about taking some general fund money instead of blowing it on training doulas and flying a ballet troupe around. We did have a $30M surplus, y'know, any chance we could use that?

    One day, you'll get it.

  • Kathleen (unverified)
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    What am I looking for in a city councilor regarding street maintenance in Portland? I am looking for what I would call a prudent person. The city of Portland had $35 million more in income than they had budgeted for this year. I didn't hear Sam Adams or anyone else suggest that it be used to reduce the maintenance back-log. I think a few bicycle projects made the cut, but I don't think any street or side walk repairs were even discussed.

    If the roof of your house is deteriorating and you haven't been able to budget the needed replacement and you get an unexpected bonus, the prudent person does not spend the money on a TV or new set of dishes, they spend it on shingles and patch as best they can.

    This extra money was not the permanent funding for maintenance that we need, but according to your figures, Chris, half of it could have kept up from us from increasing the backlog for two years. I am willing to pay more in taxes for roads, but only when I see a city council that spends that money prudently.

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    The city of Portland had $35 million more in income than they had budgeted for this year. I didn't hear Sam Adams or anyone else suggest that it be used to reduce the maintenance back-log.

    Sam did suggest it, but didn't get sufficient support from his Council colleagues. Sam was successful in convincing them to spend some of the surplus on safety projects. Putting safety above potholes is a prioritization I can certainly support.

    And I believe the actual 'spendable' surplus was $19M.

  • Terry Parker (unverified)
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    I agree with Kathleen. Transport funds should be used to fix the leaky roof, do the repaving needed and fix the pot holes before any spending & planning is done for new furniture, streetcar toys and bicycle frills. Furthermore, I agree with the concept that if the political will is there, money already in the government kitty can be redirected and used for roadways and street maintenance. Good roads are a good investment, a good development incentive and Portland with a transport dependent economy, increase family wage job growth. Instead of continuing the trend of attempting to raise the gas tax and increasing taxes on those who drive, which also creates the scenario of increasing taxes on Portland families at a faster rate than income increases and inflation, Adams and committee should be looking to redirecting development subsidies and making requests for economic development lottery funding that can used to help the economy in the form of motor vehicle related street repairs road improvements that reduce congestion and the cost of congestion on the evconomy.

  • Dolly (unverified)
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    Chris said "Putting safety above potholes is a prioritization I can certainly support" Of course you can. And no doubt adding more ped/bike and streetcars is for safety?

    Chris said, "And, Dolly, State Law DOES NOT allow TIF to be used for maintenance." Quite your lying. What a crock that is. TIF is used for every friggin thing imaginable. Anything deemed under developed. The only requirement is it has to be in an Urban Renewal District. A lot of the maintenance backlogged which was inside the 11 UR districts (now 12,000 acres of Portland)could have been completed, under the guise of renewal of blight, right along with the rest of BS TIF has been used for.

    For you to tell people state law prohibits upgrading roads in UR districts, with TIF, is pattently dishonest. The twisted methods Sam and company have used to use TIF for all sorts of lesser priorities makes it almost creepy that you would suggest they have no twisted way to fix roads with it. What kind of sick game are you playing?

    As an example of the twisted manipulative ways things work, and YOU know full well how it is, I mentioned above that Sam et al diverted $3.5 million from PDOT to pay OHSU for future parking spaces in a future building. It wasn't that clean pal. They paid OHSU with $3.5 million in SoWa TIF which was meant for Moody street improvements in SoWa. Then the city PDOT diveerted $3.5 million back into SoWa and the Moody Street improvements. I'm sure a perfectly legal money laundering.

    This approach has been common place throughout the UR districts in Portland. Shifting of monies between districts and various agencies'general funds to make sure the priorities get funded is why the lesser priorities, Roads and road maintenance doesn't get funded.

    This is nothing but a slick con job you find acceptable means to and end. The backlog isn't because the gas tax or any other tax hasn't been raised. It's because money across the board, for decades, was comitted to an agenda you support. Sam shares a big responsibility for this growing problem. So do you as you advocate for more of the exact same decisions into, seemingly, perpetuity.

    Shame on you and shame on city leaders for their deceit.

  • Hawthorne (unverified)
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    "Dolly" you seem to have a similar voice to some other posters here...coincidence or are you the same person under multiple names?

    Regardless, to think that given inflation that we could get more with less is a pipe dream. Cook up all the conspiracies you want. Frankly, I surprised you didn't mention Neil Goldschmidt!

    At the end of the day, we get what we pay for and short sightedness is gonna make our children pay. At least the anti-tax poster above was honest in saying that he didn't care if the roads turned to mud.

    Same on you.

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    The operating funding for Streetcar comes from sources local to the district where it operates (e.g., downtown parking fees) that are not realistically available for city-wide use.

    You can repeat that nonsense a hundred times, but it won't make it true.

    And the total operating budget for Streetcar would only be a small fraction of the $9M annual deficit for maintenance.

    Now there's some great logic for you. "Since we're not wasting as much as it would take to fix all our problems, we should go on wasting." You'll fit in great on the City Council under Mayor Sam the Tram.

  • je (unverified)
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    To Chris Smith: This dialogue has been interesting to read and participate in.

    The discussion reminds me of a scene from "Thunderball". That's right, the 1965 James Bond movie.

    In the scene a hitman is sent to kill Bond at his hotel room by Largo, a S.P.E.C.T.O.R bad guy. Of course, Bond figures it out; knocks the gun out of the hitman's hand; throws in some punishment; and asks questions, "Who sent you?"

    Bond gives the hitman his gun back and tells him "Go and report, now...Vamoos!"

    Chris, you got your head handed to you. Go report to Adams. What started as an attack on Lewis, turned into an asskicking for you(the hitman) and Adams(Largo).

    Adams and his various henchmen can go out, but you know was happened to the weasely hitman in the movie?

    He was thrown to the sharks in Largo's pool.

    Chris Smith: Go and report, now...Vamoos!

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    Well, JE, I'll concede it's a learning experience :-)

    There are three different sub-conversations going on here:

    1) Responsible campaigning (my main point, which got hijacked).

    2) The need to maintain our infrastructure.

    3) Blowback on the new kinds of infrastructure that I believe (and many agree, although not so much on this thread) are essential for our City to face the future.

    The thing Sam (and the rest of the steering committee) need to figure out is how #3 ties back into #2. They really are two almost completely different financial questions, but as we see here, many citizens link them closely.

    So yeah, I'll take some learning back to the steering committee, and will find other opportunities to work on Mr. Lewis' campaign style.

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    I see Jack has brought his angry Karlockian friends with him!

    "Adams for or example intentionally left questions off his public survey that would poll the public on taxing bicyclists and transit riders to help pay for roads."

    ...for which he deserves huzzahs for being responsible enough to have ignored the concept. Bicycle tax? Where do people come up with these absurd ideas? Tax them for WHAT? They use no fuel, create no pollution, and incur wear on infrastructure so unbelievably negligible as to call it none. Anybody who uses a bicycle for transportation should get a $100 check from the city--and car owners ought to happily pay it, given that every additional bicycle means less congestion for them.

    Up certainly is down with some of you people. What's next--a tax on the harmful byproducts of solar energy?

  • Dolly (unverified)
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    Chris, You become more isulting with every post.

    1) "Responsible campaigning" is a smokescreen to obscure your continued effot to help stack all decks in favor of the agenda you share with Sam. "hijacked" ? You mean you BS is getting stale so it's back to the boiler room to cook up other schemes?

    2) The need to maintain our infrastructure has been neglected and made a step child need for decades. With the push you join for a web of streetcars and more of the same infrastructure neglecting agenda we'll not be seeing any improvements.

    3) The "Blowback on the new kinds of infrastructure that you, and yours, believes are essential for our City to face the future" are not "new kinds" at all. The "blowback" here on BlueOregon shows how Sam (and the rest of the steering committee) need to figure out is how to ramp up the propoganda to further your rhetoric about two different financial questions and other deceptions.

    So yeah, you take some learning back to the steering committee, and find other opportunities to work on your snowjobs. And make darn sure you don't trigger any discussions about avoiding any public votes on more rail transit. You won't like the blowback.

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    Dolly, let me lay out where I'm coming from:

    I believe that complete pedestrian environments, Streetcars (and other transit) and safe and comfortable bicycle connectivity are essential for our City and region, because:

    1) In the short term they are the best hope to protect our livability from the effects of excessive reliance on automobiles.

    2) In the medium term they will help cushion us from the very disruptive effects of sharply rising energy costs.

    3) In the long run they are essential to leave a world for our grandkids where the climate has not been permanently damaged.

    I acknowledge that there are challenges with this. Right now our techniques for delivering these tend to favor those with higher incomes. We need to fix that and I intend to work on that so that working families, middle class families with kids and everyone else gets the benefits too. But we have to keep moving even as we work on this.

    You may not agree with me, but I will keep spreading the message because I think it's vital. By all means if you don't agree with me, feel free to vote for someone else if I run for office.

    But you don't get to shout me out of the forum of ideas with anger. I will keep cheerfully coming back in this forum and others to discuss these ideas.

    I promise you that I will not get angry with you for disagreeing with me, all ask is the same courtesy in return.

  • Todd H. (unverified)
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    Dolly and je grab a valium please. Everyone here is much more knowledgeable than someone like me but it would appear that nothing productive is coming from your comments.

    I agree with Chris in theory, but I also have a hard time placing new infrastructure ahead of maintaining our existing infrastructure. I'm not advocating new roads and highways, but we need to take care of what we have and then we can pursue other options. I’m sure there is a middle ground somewhere, but it would appear that might not be attainable on this thread.

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    I also have a hard time placing new infrastructure ahead of maintaining our existing infrastructure

    Me too, Todd! And polling would suggest most folks agree. But we have a slanted funding system. TIF can be used for capital but not operations. Federal match is available for capital but not operations. See a theme here? This is part of the conversation that Sam is trying to conduct.

    The source that has funded street maintenance (gas tax) is the one that hasn't been inflation-adjusted since 1993.

  • jim karlock (unverified)
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    3) In the long run they are essential to leave a world for our grandkids where the climate has not been permanently damaged.

    Of course you are referring to electric transportation as a solution to the CO2 “problem”. Why not advocate for flexible, cheap and convenient electric transport in the form of plug in hybrids - essentially fully electric cars for 30 mile of driving, then oil only for longer trips.

    It would be less disruptive than filing our streets with slow, sardine packed, congestion causing, overpriced ($1.67/passenger-mile) streetcars. And plug-in hybrids, at about 1/5 the cost, would be far cheaper than filing the city with more toy trains.

    Of course some data is showing that the world stopped warming about 5 years ago and is now likely to start a cooling cycle, so we can all propose re-ordering society to get ready for the next ice age.

    Thanks JK

  • Dolly (unverified)
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    Chris,

    Oh yes be sure and use "suggestive polling" instead of any public votes. The source/spending that has funded all sorts of transit, bike/ped facilites and development subsdies (TIF) is the one that has far exceeded inflation as the city now skims property tax revenue from 12,000 acres of the CoP which has risen to $75 million a year to retire the mounting Urban Renewal debt. Your shifting dance that TIF can't be used for much of the maintenance backlog is poppy cock. Anywhere within the 12,000 Urban Renewal acres any street could be completely replaced with TIF. Many have that are adjacent to the favored and chosen developments, in the form of makeovers, enhancements or "streetscapes". Paid for with TIF. You know this to be the case. Yet you are attempting to mislead people and create a false impression that the only option is a new tax or gas tax increase. Of course that may be the only option to continue the agenda you advocate given UR TIF has somewhat dried up with debt limits beginning to curb the soaring TIF spending so abused for years, for your fun stuff. The city has also abused Federal restrictions by spending $10 million in federal gas tax revenue on the Eastbank Esplanade. Further demonstrating how easy it is tospend tax money any whay they want when they want something built. Trouble is not Sam nor you or anyone else directing the spending has been interested in the auto-oriented road category. Maintenance or new.

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    Jim, electric vehicles of all stripes are clearly important. But simply as a matter of not needing tons of real estate for travel lanes and parking, we need to reduce dependence on single-occupancy-vehicles.

    It's also important to get land uses more concentrated (you call it 'congested', I call it 'vibrant') to shorten trip distances and allow more trips to be by foot or bike. Streetcars help create these kinds of environments, electric vehicles don't particularly.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Chris Smith: 3) In the long run they are essential to leave a world for our grandkids where the climate has not been permanently damaged.

    Bob Tiernan: How do you know what it's really supposed to be like, permanently? Ice once covered North America, Europe etc, and that ice cover receded waaaay up to the north without a single combustion engine being fired up. Gee, how'd that happen? And then afterwards, when Viking settlers were growing crops and rasing livestock on Greenland, things changed when it got colder (again), without a single combustion engine being fired up, with those conditions remaining to this day.

    Bob Tiernan

  • Dolly (unverified)
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    Chris Smith, I know where you are coming from:

    I prefer pedestrian environments, Streetcars (and other transit) and bicycle connectivity over any comprehensive approach to transportation which genuinely accomodates growth and growth in traffic.

    You don't believe failure to meet the needs of growth adversely effects livability. You think you are helping to preserve our livability while you promote altering it regionwide. You wrongly justify your stance by assuming your agenda is a good substitute for ignoring growth in traffic. You fail to grasp that your agenda is not accomodating the needs of growth and does not reduce reliance on automobiles enough to make any adequate compensation for ignoring the demand. You rely upon speculation, theories and often false claims such as "cusioning us from sharply rising energy costs". That is baseless and ignores the effects of rising congestion. In the long run you use claims of climate protection to further justify your agenda.

    What you should be acknowledging is the failed outcomes our regional land use and transportation planning has delivered instead of simply and blindly advocating form more of the same. The problems we face are more than "challenges". "Challenges" is a buzz word which politicians use when they really haven't the slightest idea what to do. In Sam's and your case you want more of the same, period.

    Oh you say we need to "fix" these things that "tend to favor those with higher incomes". For you, "fix" means public subsidized transit oriented development for those working families, middle class families with kids and everyone else. So you say keep moving along with more of the same and just pretend it somehow "fixes" things.

    You may keep spreading your message because you think it's vital but that doesn't give you or any public official and agency licence decieve and misrepresent. Which you are clearly doing. Getting elected doesn't give license to lie to the public either. You can pretend and miscast that it is only "anger" that opposes you. I cheerfully call you on your falsehoods.
    If you don't happen to like it well that's pretty much too bad. I don't appreciate your misleading the public no matter how courteous you think you are while doing it. It aint.

  • Lee (unverified)
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    Chris, in your statement "state law DOES NOT allow TIF to be used for maintenance" how do you explain TIF dollars that were used to curb, repair, install new sidewalks, and repave SW Moody in SoWhat. I suppose you will provide a dissertation of your definition of "maintenance" and how existing streets in SoWhat, the Pearl and Chinatown (all with TIF dollars) when resurfaced, etc. are not really "maintenance". Good luck.

  • Lee (unverified)
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    Chris, by the way, SW Moody has existed since the 1880's and the recently improved streets in the Pearl and Chinatown have been there since the 1860's.

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    You fail to grasp that your agenda is not accomodating the needs of growth and does not reduce reliance on automobiles enough to make any adequate compensation for ignoring the demand.

    That's funny, I thought Portland's vehicle miles are flat or even DECLINING since 1996 despite adding about a million new residents...and mass rail transit, and the rise of widespread bike avenues and lanes. Sounds like it's accomodating the needs of growth just fine.

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    Chris, in your statement "state law DOES NOT allow TIF to be used for maintenance" how do you explain TIF dollars that were used to curb, repair, install new sidewalks, and repave SW Moody in SoWhat. I suppose you will provide a dissertation of your definition of "maintenance" and how existing streets in SoWhat, the Pearl and Chinatown (all with TIF dollars) when resurfaced, etc. are not really "maintenance". Good luck.

    Isn't that pursuant to TIF development, however? That's wholly different from routine pothole filling, repaving (or paving the first time) or restriping on regular old residential-use streets absent some sort of specific associated development.

    And further, how the heck is the SoWa TIF going to pay for the paving of streets in Raleigh Hills or pothole filling at 60th and Reedway in SE?

    I'd like an example of routine maintenance and basic improvement like paving (not design-specific alterations to serve some other purpose such as calming or transit) done in a TIF not pursuant to new development, please.

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    I will admit that I honestly don't know where the line between 'maintenance' and 'redevelopment' gets drawn. I suspect it has do with whether the street can be considered 'improved' when you're done, or just brought back to where it started. But TJ makes the important point that TIF can only get spent in the district. I doubt that we want to draw an urban renewal district around every major arterial in the City :-)

  • Dolly (unverified)
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    Torrid, You don't even read and comprehend. Of course TIF can't be used miles away from a UR district and no it can't be used to fix all the pot holes all over the city.

    The point is it is routinely used for maintenance to provide freebee makeovers for developers and other fun stuff. And the point is it could easily be used to fix blighted streets throughout a district. TIF moneies are also used to simply buy and then hand over property to developers. That money could be used for streets throughout the district. But that's not the choice made by city electeds. Furthermore as I stated above TIF revenue comes from a far greater area than the particular UR development. SoWa is 130 acres and the district is 411 acres. There is much needed "maintenance in that 411 acres not in SoWa. The city chooses to ignore it so they can divert the money into the developers playground. The North Interstate district is 3744 acres and UR developement maybe takes up a few hundred acres. Imagine how much maintenance is needed for the blighteds streets in that area. The city has chosen to subsidize developers, place calming and streetscapes and build rail transit while knowingly letting streets fall behind in maintenance and become blighted. The examples of free choice to spend flexible monies are are many throughout the city for decades.

    No Chris TJ didn't make that point I did at 11:47 "Anywhere within the 12,000 Urban Renewal acres any street could be completely replaced with TIF" Do you understand that 12,000 acres of the city is within UR districts? How about you Torrid? No we can't "draw an urban renewal district around every major arterial in the City". Law limits the amount of area and the debt that can be in UR districts. But is it not obvious you would love to draw those new districts? :-) Never mind the massive siphoning of dollars from basic services that would trigger. The city could simply neglect that problem as they have the streets. As I said TIF revenue is funny money for city hall. So cavalear that city council regularily approves using it to provide real estate for private development. Torrid will play make believe this isn't true and launch another one of his falsehoods so here is a stellar example. The PDC spent around $2.5 million in TIF nmoney for the Holman building on the east bank of the Willamette near the Hawthorne Bridge. They later sold the same building to Group Mackenzie for $400K. Why? Because GM is a favored dev/engineering firm in town doing business with the city and the owner is the Chair of the SoWa Urban Renewal Citizen Advisory Committee. GM's current offices/location is in SoWa, now rezoned for high rise. How cozy is all of that? There is no question that millions in road maintenance backlog is within the blighted Central Eastside UR district. The PDC could have used the $2 million they gave away and fixed up all of Water avenue for example. But they didn't want to. This kind of decision has been made over and over again. Metro does the same by spending millions subsidizing TOD developments. TriMet and the Port do the same kinds of things. Sam deliberately ignores all of it while clammoring for more money for more of the same.

  • Terry Parker (unverified)
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    Furious torridjoe may think Adams deserves huzzahs for ignoring bicycle tax concept questions on his survey of public opinion and suggests the idea is absurd. He asks; ‘Tax them for WHAT?” Easy answer; The MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars spent on and used to subsidize the construction of bicycle infrastructure. Examples include the Eastbank esplanade, widening the sidewalks on the Hawthorne Bridge, the Springwater Trail and the Three Bridges Project, bicycle boulevards costing as much as seven million dollars each, the bicycle infrastructure soon to be installed on the Morrison Bridge that will compromise motor vehicle safety and possibly capacity, the projected costs of providing bicycle infrastructure on a new or refurbished Sellwood Bridge, the projected costs of providing bicycle infrastructure on the I-5 Columbia Crossing for about 200 bicycle crossings a day, the Glenn Jackson Bridge bicycle infrastructure, the I-205 parallel bike trail, all the paint for bike lanes, bike racks all over the city, all the costly specialized signals for bicycles, etc, etc, etc. What is truly absurd and totally irrational is the expectation that funds from motorist paid gas taxes should pay for this specialized infrastructure so bicyclists can continue to freeload off of the rest of society. Asking the public if bicyclists should pay their own way is totally appropriate. Not asking is bad public policy and a censorship of ideas. If bicyclists want bicycle more bicycle infrastructure, they alone should be the ones that pay for it. A bicycle tax, license and registration fee needs to be implemented to pay for it. This is a simple tax fairness principal that is stated in two words; “user pays”. If motorist paid gas and fuel taxes were totally dedicated to roads, there would be far more money available for street maintenance and to fix the crumbling infrastructure. Chris claims he is concerned about “our grand kids”. I too am concerned about future generations and their ability to provide a decent living for their families. The social engineering proposals that create a miles and miles of streetcar trackage will not provide enough flexibility to meet the majority of mobility needs, but will require millions of dollars in annual taxpayer operational subsidies in addition to paying off the local match bonding for construction and vehicles. This creates a financially unsustainable reoccurring debt for the future generations to pay off. The economic implications of this debt threatens impending harm to the regional economy and family income. No way should this financial burden be forced on the public. Either the streetcar systems need to be built under the user paid tax fairness principals or the proposals scrapped.

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    Dolly sez:

    No Chris TJ didn't make that point I did at 11:47 "Anywhere within the 12,000 Urban Renewal acres any street could be completely replaced with TIF" Do you understand that 12,000 acres of the city is within UR districts? How about you Torrid?

    Are you asking me if I understand that about 12% of the city is within UR? I do. I also understand that a great majority of those 12,000 acres are in central city areas where the streets are in good shape for the most part. I highly doubt a major chunk of the maintenance backlog occurs within URs.

    Terry Parker thinks I'm furious. Not furious, dumbfounded at the idea that bicycling somehow costs the area money instead of saving it. There is no small amount of delusion in believing that the transportation grid and its effect on the MSA is negatively impacted by cycling modes. I'm not the one who went on a single-paragraph rant about making sure we have more cars and more pollution because bicycling is so damaging to the city, so perhaps you're simply projecting your fury on me. I guess you like it when Oregonians send literally BILLIONS out of state for cars and oil that is not produced in Oregon.

  • Jerry (unverified)
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    "...huzzahs for ignoring bicycle tax concept"

    Don't stop there. Why do motorists have to be subsidizing pedestrians? We spend huge amounts on sidewalks and parks, yet there is no tax on feet. If people choose to walk, then they need to pay for it. Don't ignore the need for a shoe registration fee.

    On the other hand, as a motorist, bicyclist, pedestrian and mass transit user, I'm more than happy that part of my motor vehicle fees go to help to solve some of the problems that motor vehicles create through using some of those fees for promoting alternatives to cars.

    I would like to see studded tires go away. Portland gets very few icy days each year. Studded tires spend most of their lives chewing through bare pavement, not ice.

  • Dolly (unverified)
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    Torrid said, ",a great majority of those 12,000 acres are in central city , where streets are in good shape for the most part. I highly doubt a major chunk of the maintenance backlog occurs within URs."

    You don't understand squat. I got this list from this blog where you participated. Urban Renewal Acreage Airport Way 2780 acres Interstate 3744 Central Eastside 681 Convention Center 601 Downtown Waterfront 309 Gateway Regional Center 653 Lents Town Center 2472 North Macadam (SoWa) 409 River District 310 South Park Blocks 161 Wilammette Industrial 751

    So much for your BS Torrid. I'm sure there is much of the backlog out there in these district's acreage. Any doubt there's plenty out in the Lents 2472 acres?
    Just as Chris Smith misled people that TIF could not be spent on any of the backlogged maintenance, you are spreading falsehoods about none or little of the backlog being in the districts. I see,in your usual style, you have no comment about the Holman Building giveaway.

    Chris Smith is engaged in an effort to perpetuate the misperception that there are no other choices but to raise new tax money. In doing so he is telling falsehoods such as the TIF restrictions. Then when called on it he says that wasn't very nice and admits he doesn't know what he is talking about or what can be called maintenance. Anything can be called maintenance just as anything is called "blight" when city hall wants to giveaway money for private development.
    The dollars diverted directly from the PDOT general fund budget which could have gone to the backlog are many many millions. In SoWa alone two diversions for OHSU and the streetcar amounted to $6.5 million. Times that many times over around the city and WE ALL know where the maintenance money has been going. Spent by our public officials pretending to be big shots as play time developer patners. With other people's (public) money.

  • dddave (unverified)
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    Chris, I do think you have had your ass handed to you, this happens all the time to politicians. 98% of the time, those same folks could give a crap. Say anything, do anything, just get elected cause you are set forever with the advantage of being the incumbent. The real problem is that you represent constituents, and should not be driven by your own lop sided idealism. Try this:

    Stop all development INSIDE the urban growth boundary. We dont want MORE traffic in Portland. The hub and spoke pattern is inherently limited to grid lock no matter what. Get good Portland bypass and divert all passers thru. Develop several regional hubs to serve the public. We DONT want to have to go downtown for anything. And lastly, if you are going to talk budget and money, publish the city and Multnomah county budgets in detail. You have a billion for Portand and 1.2 bil for the county? Cant find $9 mil around there, huh? I think the unwashed masses might help you on that point. Abolish the "not in my pot" scam. All monies go into the pot and all are prioritized. You really should be finding ways to reduce our tax burden, but already being contaminated in the tar pit of politics, you cant see the trees. How much is enough? 75% of my gross, counting fed, state, local, and fees? We are easily over 50% now. At that burden rate, I am really sorry, but ride your freaking bikes on the street, we cant afford you.

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    Develop several regional hubs to serve the public. We DONT want to have to go downtown for anything.

    Hmmm... sounds a lot like the regional centers in Metro's 2040 plan.

  • Lee (unverified)
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    Torridjoe and Chris: Where have you been? Contrary to your remark that TIF "cannot be used for maintenance" lets take for example again SW Moody. Moody had curbs, sidewalks, pavement, etc. before SoWhat, but SoWhat taxpayers paid for "maintenance" of those streets to accommodate the trolley extension, all taken out of TIF dollars and an LID and even $6.5M from the general fund transportation budget. Same analogy applies to the Pearl and Chinatown remaking of streets that all had curbs, pavement, etc.; and again TIF and LIDs paid a substantial share of those "maintenance" costs. Those streets were fine before UR, and in fact, many of the surfaces were even better than today. These are clear examples of TIF "paving" not "pursuant to new development.

    Secondly, here is how SoWhat TIF is going to pay for paving in Raleigh Hills (that part that is within CoP. If CoP has $400M budgeted in the general fund for "road maintenance" and TIF and LID money (future taxpayer dollars-line of credit) pays for the "paving" in SoWhat, then that leaves approximately an additional a $24M pot saved in the general fund that can pay for potholes in Raleigh Hills. It is that simple and done by Sam all the time.

    Chris, I think it is a "political" line that determines the difference between "maintenance" and "redevelopment"; and I hope you begin to recognize this and not play the shell game.

    Third, your wrong that all TIF dollars are used in the UR district that generates the funds. State UR law says you can't but it is done. SoWhat borrowed millions from the Gateway URD. PDC borrows frequently from other URD's-just ask Larry Brown of PDC with the NMURAC staff. That is one reason that I advocate auditing of PDC and each URA as required by law.

    All that I am asking for, is both of you, and Sam and his blogging staff tell the rest of the story, and the facts behind the "shell games".

  • Jerry (unverified)
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    Chris, you may have read a similar post of mine in the past month that paints a different picture than what you convey in regards to total expeditures for intermodal transit.

    ODOT STIP (Statewide Transportation Improvement Program-see items 1121 thru 15494) on their website highway.odot has the recent accounting of dollars to be spent on "bikes/peds/transit improvements, commuter rail, LRT, bus purchases, multi-use trails, curb extensions, intermodal connectors, ped/bike bridges, towncenter ped improvements, citizen education, travel smart programs, programs to encourage aternative modes to drive alone, streetcar extensions-purchases", etc.

    Just in Region 1, the Portland Metro area, ODOT's budget for this year totals over $146.323 MILLION DOLLARS. Since only 3% of metro trips are intermodal vs. the 97% by vehicles, that would mean that ODOT should be spending just in the Portland metro area $4.731 BILLION DOLLARS. That is, if you want to be fair. That is not even close to our actual road investments.

    Your claiming that bikes/peds, etc, only receives 1% of Portland's transportation dollars is extremely misleading-well, it is false. Dissecting dollars, and leaving out other parts of the total local transportation dollars as you have done is disingenious at the least.

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    If CoP has $400M budgeted in the general fund for "road maintenance" and TIF and LID money (future taxpayer dollars-line of credit) pays for the "paving" in SoWhat, then that leaves approximately an additional a $24M pot saved in the general fund that can pay for potholes in Raleigh Hills.

    Lee: 1 - Road maintenance doesn't come out of the general fund, it comes out of 'GTR' (General Transportation Revenue - i.e., gas tax) and the 'spend what you didn't spend in SoWa over here' approach only works if maintenance is actually fully funded, and it's not.

    Jerry, I'm afraid I don't follow what you're saying about ODOT's budget at all. The comment about 1% of spending on bikes that Sam (at least I think that's who you're quoting) made was about PDOT, not ODOT.

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    Lents Town Center 2472

    Thanks for making the point--that's the only legitimate non-core URD. Maybe Airport Way and Interstate north of the hospital, at best. And notice many of the sites you reference have indeed had work done on their streets recently, so what's the point again? I said very little of the backlog was outside the central core. 2,000 acres out of over 93,000? And not all of Lents is backlogged?

    (I just drove Airport Drive last week; it's in great shape to my untrained eye and well-travelled ass.)

  • Dolly (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Torrid, You are 100% political. That's not a compliment. How did I make "your" point? 1000s of acres are NOT in the central city as you claimed. 1000s of acres are legitimate non-core URD. In which many streets are included in the backlog. You are dancing around the issue attempting to mislead people and support the clammor for new taxes. The work done on "their streets recently" all relates to devloper giveaways, streetscapes and not the boring maintenance backlog. Yes you said "very little of the backlog was outside the central core" Buy you are full of crap on what's central core as I clarified. Who said all of Lents is backlogged? That's your typical play. Who said Airport Drive was not in great shape? Of course it is, it's been given a huge amount of money over the past ten yeasr while the maintenance backlog soared across the rest of the city. Are you even cappable of discusing anything?

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