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  #21  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2005, 5:31 AM
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I know what you mean. I work a block away from Gibbs right off of Corbett and I think SoWa is going to bring so many connections to that neighborhood. I'm excited for the streetcar and footbridge to be done so I won't have to drive to work anymore! I think Lair Hill will turn into the next 23rd type neighborhood. Which I guess, if you live there, might not be too appealing.
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  #22  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2005, 9:01 PM
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Tram planners get costly lesson

By TODD MURPHY Issue date: Fri, Oct 28, 2005
The Tribune


The first thing officials say about the ever-burgeoning costs of Portland’s yet-to-be-completed aerial tram — now estimated at roughly $42 million, almost triple the original estimates — is this: “Hindsight is 20-20.”
The second thing they say is this: The city and tram planners probably made a mistake in their ballyhooed international competition to design the controversial tram three years ago.
The city and tram planners should have required architects to partner with engineering firms to offer proposals that had more solid estimates of what the tram would cost, said city Commissioner Sam Adams and others.
“Design-build” estimates — rather than just the designs offered by architects alone — might have led tram planners to change some of the more expensive aspects of the tram. Or at least know earlier what they were getting in for, Adams and others said.
“That needs to be chalked up as a mistake and a lesson learned,” said Adams, who joined the City Council this year — more than two years after the council approved the tram — and is the commissioner now in charge of the city’s transportation office, which is responsible for building the tram.
Some of the people who oversaw the tram design competition said they now agree with Adams.
“I don’t necessarily disagree with that, and I’m not sure other board members wouldn’t tend to agree with that also,” said Pat LaCrosse, former president and current board member of the nonprofit Portland Aerial Transportation Inc. The group was set up to oversee the design of the tram, whose construction costs will be mostly borne by Oregon Health & Science University. The tram will link OHSU’s campus on Marquam Hill in Southwest Portland to the South Waterfront development on the Willamette River south of downtown.
LaCrosse said architects were told that the rough expectation for tram costs would be $15 million to $20 million.
But, he said, “The question is, do you say, ‘Design to this absolute number,’ or do you say, ‘We’re sensitive to costs, but we’ll see what you propose and then we’ll work from there.’
“If we’d known where the costs were going to go … it might have been designed differently,” LaCrosse said. But “it’s quite a balancing act between trying to satisfy the desires of the broader community, and certainly the immediate community (under the tram), and at the same time being very sensitive to the costs.”
Either way, LaCrosse said, “We could have not foreseen that the costs would have gotten to where they are.”

How we get there

Adams’ announcement last week that the tram’s costs would be even higher than the $40 million expected six months ago became just another chapter in the story of a transportation device that’s only beginning to be built but probably already is the most controversial in the city’s history.
OHSU leaders wanted city approval for the tram before they committed to expanding the OHSU Marquam Hill campus by constructing research buildings in the South Waterfront development. The tram is expected to be predominantly used by OHSU doctors, researchers and employees as they whisk between the Marquam Hill campus and the South Waterfront buildings.
But the tram has been vociferously opposed by many residents of the Corbett-Terwilliger-Lair Hill neighborhood under its route. Tram cars will run above the neighborhood about every five minutes. Some neighborhood residents still believe the tram will hurt the livability of the historic neighborhood and hurt property values.
When the City Council approved the tram in 2002, the cost estimates for a basic tram were $15.5 million. After the city finalized more construction bids, Adams announced last week that the tram costs would likely rise to at least $42 million, and that the city needed to find an additional $3 million to stock a reserve fund for future cost overruns.

Who pays?

Adams and city planners said the recent cost overruns have occurred in large part because of the skyrocketing costs of steel — the three huge supports for the tram are made of steel — and because of rising costs of other construction materials and labor.
It is far from clear who will pay for the recent $5 million in additional costs.
Through tram and South Waterfront development agreements, OHSU committed to paying for about 60 percent of the original estimated cost of the tram. The cost estimates later rose to $28.5 million in February 2004, then to $40 million in April this year.
OHSU, through payments it will make as part of a local improvement district on Marquam Hill, picked up the recent $11.5 million in additional costs, and was set to pay about 77 percent of the $40 million cost.
But Steve Stadum, OHSU’s chief administrative officer, said this week that “I don’t have any authorization to commit OHSU to additional funding, and I would be surprised if our board would be open to that.” He said he believes city officials are satisfied with OHSU’s commitments to pay roughly $30 million for the construction of the tram.
Among other possible sources of more money: private developers and other entities that have investments in the South Waterfront development, and more money through the tax increment financing sponsored by the Portland Development Commission. The tax increment funds would come from increased property taxes collected from South Waterfront because of the significantly increased value of land since OHSU and other developers started constructing buildings in the area.
“We’re asking all the stakeholders” for possible contributions, Adams said.
The city is facing more than increased costs related to the tram. It also is facing a deadline: The development agreements with OHSU and others call for the city to have the tram built by the end of September 2006 or it can be liable for damages OHSU incurs when it opens its first building in South Waterfront and the tram is not operational.
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  #23  
Old Posted Oct 30, 2005, 4:34 PM
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A pretty good editorial in todays Oregonian:
Quote:
Adams must rescue tram in mid-sway Despite the cost increase, the project is vital to OHSU and the South Waterfront development
Sunday, October 30, 2005

Cost overruns in public projects make taxpayers' blood boil. So it's understandable that Portlanders are, in effect, suffering a kind of altitude sickness over the latest $5 million climb in the price for Oregon Health & Science University's aerial tram.

In three years, as The Oregonian's Fred Leeson reported recently, estimates of the tram's price have nearly tripled, going from $15.5 million to $45 million. Such a breathtaking increase undermines public confidence. However, it's reassuring to know that the proportion of the cost, borne by the public, hasn't grown. Currently, the public's share of the tab is less than 10 percent.

No money from the city's general fund -- used to support police, fire and other city services -- is going into the tram. The public's contribution will come from urban renewal dollars, flowing from the taxable value created by the South Waterfront development.

Exactly who will pay the latest increase isn't clear. Commissioner Sam Adams, who oversees the Transportation Bureau, must work out a fair distribution, without compromising the tram's design or sabotaging the riverside trail, affordable housing and neighborhood amenities that urban renewal dollars are supposed to support. Last spring, when spikes in the cost of steel and concrete first drove the tram's cost up, initially to $40 million, OHSU filled the gap.

OHSU is now in line to finance more than three-quarters of the tram's cost. And that is fair. The best guess is that 85 percent of the tram's riders will be OHSU patients, students and employees. The tram will whisk them from the Marquam Hill campus to new offices and laboratories below in South Waterfront.

Public ridership may be only 15 percent. That should be the upper limit for the public's share of the cost. But other property owners in South Waterfront should help foot the bill for the $5 million increase, too. The tram, after all, is a snazzy selling point for their condos.

The public's benefit from the tram is not confined to riding on it, of course. OHSU, with 11,400 employees, is one of the state's largest employers. By linking OHSU to the South Waterfront, the tram has triggered a $2 billion redevelopment of a rusted-out river front that will soon be an extension of downtown Portland.

Three years ago, when the city guessed -- wildly, it turns out -- that the tram would cost $15.5 million, that number was so rough that it didn't deserve to be treated as a serious estimate. "Soft" costs for design weren't added in. Although nothing exactly like this has been built before, the tram's uniqueness was all the more reason not to raise public expectations about the price without nailing down a realistic figure.

Apparently, the tram is destined to be a leap in every sense. Once it opens, if all goes well, even its most ardent detractors may find their opposition softening when they're gee-whizzing up Marquam Hill in less than three minutes. But if the price keeps leaping, too, public confidence can only plunge. Adams must do everything in his power to make this price the tram's last stop.

Soon, the tram will be a trophy for OHSU, a tourist destination and a true transportation link.

For now, it's a critical test of Sam Adams' leadership.
Link
Adams must rescue tram in mid-sway Despite the cost increase, the project is vital to OHSU and the South Waterfront development
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  #24  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2005, 9:07 PM
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hehehee...nasty NIMBYS once again upset.

City, neighbors are poles apart
Burial of utility lines is latest battleground in conflict over tram
By TODD MURPHY Issue date: Fri, Nov 4, 2005
The Tribune

People who soon will live under the route of Portland’s aerial tram believe that it was a tram-related promise made by city leaders.
City leaders don’t remember it that way.
What’s not under dispute is this: A bunch of utility lines and poles that people thought were going to disappear underground in the Corbett-Terwilliger-Lair Hill neighborhood of Southwest Portland — what residents considered one of the few positives to come out of the whole tram experience — now will not be buried after all.
And at least a few residents suggest it’s the first test of how the city will be treating the neighborhood, post-tram. They say the city failed the test.
“What we’re seeing is a pretty shabby job being done for us in terms of undergrounding utilities,” said Corbett-Terwilliger-Lair Hill resident Stephen Leflar. “That’s the first thing that’s come down the road. And it’s pretty disgusting.”
At issue are the utility lines and poles under the route of the $42 million tram, which is scheduled to be completed by October 2006. The tram will link the campus of Oregon Health & Science University on Marquam Hill with the South Waterfront development on the Willamette River south of downtown. The tram cars will pass 100 feet or so over Southwest Gibbs Street.
The utility pole and lines along Gibbs Street would need to be moved at least temporarily to allow for the installation of the tram cables. But neighborhood residents say they remember city commissioners and other officials saying in and outside of public meetings relating to the tram that the city would bury underground permanently not only the utility poles and lines along Gibbs Street, but also poles and lines one-half block in both directions from Gibbs Street.
Instead, the only poles and lines being removed to be put underground are those on Gibbs — directly under the tram route. Other poles and lines are being added on side streets, sometimes within a dozen yards or so of intersections with Gibbs, neighborhood residents say.
“They’re just moving stuff — they’re not undergrounding it,” Leflar said. “That’s not undergrounding. That’s troughing. That’s just creating a trough so they can pull a million pounds of (tram) wire over us.”
In some parts of the neighborhood, utility poles and lines are being added, sometimes to replace poles taken off Gibbs.
For many neighborhood residents, the utility issue exacerbates a frustration that’s existed since the tram — which was opposed by many neighborhood residents and will mostly be used by OHSU employees — was first proposed.
“I think the neighborhood is really quite outraged and disenchanted,” said resident Carol Swanson. “There’s certainly a lack of trust and a sense of a lack of integrity with this process.”
But city leaders say the city is moving forward on important things promised to the neighborhood, including a pedestrian bridge over Barbur Boulevard and Interstate 5 from the neighborhood to the developing South Waterfront area. Federal funds have been secured for the project, and for taking the first required steps to improve some of the problematic roadways and traffic patterns in the neighborhood.
And city leaders say that how broadly the utility poles and lines would be placed underground was never specifically addressed in the City Council resolution approving the tram, or in comments made by city officials during council sessions.
The tram project, which now is going to cost almost triple what the city first estimated, allocated about $750,000 to pay for putting utility lines underground. Burying more than the lines now being buried would be prohibitively expensive, said Art Pearce, a planner with the Portland Office of Transportation.
“It would have been preferable had we had more funding to create a larger area of undergrounding,” Pearce said. “But the project is balancing the benefits of undergrounding with the budget constraints that are in play as well.”
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  #25  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2005, 12:40 AM
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I was wondering what the new utility pole outside of my office was for. I guess this answers that. I'm all for the tram going up, but I'm pretty sure the underground utilities were included in the original plan. That kind of sucks that they're not going to do it all. I wonder what they're going to do about closing off the roads to lay the cables. Or will people just be able to drive over/under them? Hmm...
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  #26  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2005, 5:41 AM
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Phil Stanford is out of control

I had to post this. Perhaps instead of callng the paper the Portland Tribune, they should call it Clackamas County hates Portland Tribune. I am so sick of all of these negative articles they are now running. For a paper that is supposed to be all about Portland, they seem increasingly out of touch with the city. Lets start a campaign to get Phil Stanford fired!

Tram’s sure to take us all for a ride
Portland Tribune
11/22/2005

Like every other citizen of this great city, I can hardly wait till they get that $45 million ski lift for doctors — otherwise known as the aerial tram — up and running.
Not, of course, that I’ll ever have any reason to ride it, you understand.
Any more than I’ve been able, after all these years — even once — to take advantage of the wonders of MAX.
I’d like to, believe me. I don’t particularly like driving. And I think those MAX trains are just cute as all get-out.
The problem is that they’re never going where I want to go.
Which, of course, doesn’t stop me, as a loyal Portlander, from supporting the entire light-rail program — and not just with my tax dollars, but my fervent good wishes as well.
• • •
I mean, who am I to begrudge the $10 or so subsidy paid for each and every passenger who actually does manage to find some place to go on a MAX train?
Like you, I’m sure, I’d much rather have my tax dollars spent on sleek Czech choo-choo trains that I never get to ride than, say, schools or police.
In a less progressive city than our own P-town, it might be another story.
Especially with the schools running short of cash year after year, and the police forced to shut down precinct stations at night, as they have here, because they simply don’t have the money to keep them open.
But if you live in Portland, you really don’t have to think about this light-rail thing twice.
Any more than you do when it comes to building a fancy aerial tram whose sole purpose will be to connect a new real estate development on the river with a privately owned hospital, OHSU, which wants to build some doctors’ offices down there and get the public to foot a good chunk of the bill.
• • •
Of course there’ll always be those naysayers out there, like my friend mad blogger Jack Bogdanski, who say this could have been done another way.
Considering that the hospital is only about a half-mile from the river anyhow, why not just buy a fleet of stretch limos?
Jack figures that for $45 million, which is the latest guess on what the contraption will cost (up from previous estimates of $15.5 million and $28.5 million) it would be possible to buy a fleet that will rival Saudi Arabia’s.
And while we’re at it anyway, what’s wrong with sedan chairs?
However, as I’m sure even Jack himself has begun to realize, that’s just not the way we do things here in Portland.
If I do say so myself, the current plan meets our local standards in so many ways that if I didn’t know better, I might imagine it was actually set up by Neil Goldschmidt before he stepped down as local political boss.
Which, come to think of it, is exactly what happened.
No wonder it’s working out so well.

Contact Phil Stanford by phone at 503-546-5166 or by e-mail at Email Phil Stanford .
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  #27  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2005, 5:56 AM
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I emailed Mr. Stanford tonight and asked him if he ever wrote a posiive column on downtown Portland. I also told him that his columns are getting tiresome with the continued knocking of Portland. He needs to move to Baker City.
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  #28  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2005, 7:31 AM
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Quote:
The problem is that they’re never going where I want to go.
so i guess that means he's never been to downtown portland, portland neighborhoods, beaverton, hillsboro, gresham, portland airport
...and he writes an article about portland????

actually portland is paying about 1/4 of the tram costs (but thats ok we wont mention that in our article we'll make it sound as if portland is paying for the whole damn thing so we can make it sound worse)
portland would also be paying for the improvements to the narrow, windy and traffic choked road up to OHSU for all those stretch limos

wow I'm so suprised that Jack Bog is his friend because I never would have thought that reading this...

$10 a ride on MAX??? try $1.54... hmm how much is a ride on MAX?... $1.50-1.80
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  #29  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2005, 3:58 PM
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I guess from the window of his used, and soon to be impounded, limo the city looks bad. The guy won't have the megaphone for to much longer. Then the only time you will have to hear him is at the bar at Hubers lamenting the good ole days. He is a perfect example of a man who should have moved when his city passed him by.
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  #30  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2005, 4:34 PM
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old bastard! Why do I read his column or the Trib for that matter?
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  #31  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2005, 4:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacificNW
I emailed Mr. Stanford tonight and asked him if he ever wrote a posiive column on downtown Portland. I also told him that his columns are getting tiresome with the continued knocking of Portland. He needs to move to Baker City.
AHHH HAAA HAAA, you have to post the response if you get one! I'm sure you will be the focus of next Tuesday column!!!
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  #32  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2005, 5:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdxstreetcar
$10 a ride on MAX??? try $1.54... hmm how much is a ride on MAX?... $1.50-1.80
He is referring to the amount of money that it costs to build and operate the MAX that is not paid by the end user. If the end user pays $1.50 a ride, he is saying that it should be $11.50 per ride so that the end users are paying for the whole thing.

This dude is way out of control. I thought there were very few people like this in Portland still, and even fewer still lurking in the Portland media.
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  #33  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2005, 6:09 PM
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this nutcase, Phil, works for a nutcase conservative. The Trib, when it actually had a staff, produced some great stories. It also was heavy on development news. Now that they have gutted the staff, and only retained a handful of cranky old men, we get this crap.

FYI-More than half the initial cost to build the MAX was paid by the federal government. There were also 31.9 million MAX trips last year alone.
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  #34  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2005, 6:16 PM
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^ I know that it's a heavily utilized system. And I also know that it probably goes where you want to go and I live in Seattle. I was just clarifying that he wasn't talking about each user paying $10 to ride it - but I can't substantiate his claim of a $10 subsidy.
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  #35  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2005, 6:46 PM
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Just considering the source I'm sure that $10 number is bogus because that would mean TriMet spent $319,000,000 just last year alone, and over a billion dollars in less than 4 years to keep the thing running. If TriMet was spending that type of money to operate the system, I'm not even sure I could support it.
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  #36  
Old Posted Nov 24, 2005, 5:35 PM
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Willamette Weeks takes a swipe at Portland Tribune

from WW
Memo to Bob Pamplin: Just because you moved the Portland Tribune to Clackamas County doesn't mean your readers have lost interest in Portland news. As the Portland Art Museum's board chairman, you might have whispered on Thursday to a Trib reporter that you'd issue a press release the next day about the departure of museum executive director John Buchanan. That scoop rated front-page, above-the-fold coverage from The Oregonian on Saturday, an extensive front-page Living story and even a follow-up on Sunday's Metro page. So what did make the front page of Friday's Trib? Such spellbinders as "Young language learners pack the classrooms" and "Unsafe drivers gently curbed."
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  #37  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2005, 9:54 PM
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Our good friend, Mr. Stanford is babbling again about the tram in today's edition of the Anti-Portland Tribune this time about what the tram operators will be wearing. Also theres an article about the crime in downtown (with a big picture of police arresting someone) funny thing is when you read the article you learn that crime is down downtown and theres even a great quote by the owner of kathleen's of dublin "Crime is happening in the (suburban) malls also but we don't hear about that, which is irritating. I think that to be real honest with you, the media has to do a better job of really telling the full story."
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  #38  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2005, 8:41 PM
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Commisioner Sam's blog has a discussion going on about the possible consequences of pulling out of the tram project. Do these people ever stop to consider that you can't put a price on "cool"?

http://www.commissionersam.com/sam_a...he_tram_p.html
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  #39  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2005, 8:57 PM
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that Sam is even entertaining this group of 5 to 10 anti Portland everything with his tram discussion is quite a disappointment.

Some of the bloggers over there have even said they don't live in city limits...Why does their opinion matter to Sam when they can't even cast a vote for him one way or another?
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  #40  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2005, 10:00 PM
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This whole debate is really crazy. You're talking about a major piece of transportation infrastructure for the future of the city and people are getting worked up about $45M. That's chump change when amortized over the lifetime of the tram. It's not even about "cool", it's more than that. It's about investing in the public good. I once spent $8M for equipment for a companies IT datacenter that was basically thrown away 3 years later. Where's our priorities?

Everytime I go to Europe I realize what public infrastructre is really about. They think nothing of building a bridge or high speed rail line for a billion or two. Here we have all these selfish whiners crying over $45M. Can you imagine if these people were around when they built the interstate highway network?
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