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  #41  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2005, 12:20 AM
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Costs may be covered on tram
South Waterfront - A proposed deal has OHSU and the development commission kicking in more money
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
RYAN FRANK

Portland and OHSU officials are edging closer to plugging the hole in the ever-expanding budget for an aerial tram.

Records show the city and a negotiating team -- representing both Oregon Health & Science University and developers in the South Waterfront District -- favor the same solutions to fill the most recent $5 million gap.

The tram is now projected to cost $45 million, nearly three times its original budget, to link OHSU's Pill Hill campus with its new building in the South Waterfront District. City Commissioner Sam Adams has scrambled since October to fill the gap through long negotiations with OHSU.

Under the proposed deal, the Portland Development Commission would double its investment with another $3.5 million in property tax dollars from rising values in the district on the western flanks of the Willamette River. OHSU, the tram's primary funder, would kick in another $2.25 million to a total of $33 million, according to city records.

But the tram costs are only part of negotiations still under way. The two sides are debating how to pay for a package of public improvements that are expected to spur $2 billion in public and private redevelopment just south of the Ross Island Bridge.

The City Council wants a package that guarantees funding for a planned streetcar extension into South Waterfront, affordable housing, parks and a riverside greenway, according to a letter the council e-mailed Friday to developers and OHSU officials .

The council's letter responds to a Nov. 22 proposal from OHSU and the developers that covered only the tram and streetcar, two primary keys to attracting condo buyers and OHSU to the district.

All five City Council members signed off on broad terms for the package and asked the Portland Development Commission to work it out with OHSU and developers. The council's terms require the commission to:

Find an unspecified solution to pay for the streetcar extension.

Save about $400,000 on the streetcar extension by laying the tracks at the same time that the street is paved.
Step up efforts on three affordable housing projects. Originally, the development commission wanted to start construction on South Waterfront's first affordable project about two months ago.

South Waterfront's first three condo towers are under construction, but the development commission is just starting negotiations on its first affordable project, said executive director Bruce Warner.

The council wants a response from the Portland Development Commission by 5 p.m. today.
In its letter, the council left the development commission to figure out how to pay for the tram.

But in it's Nov. 22 letter to the city, OHSU's Steven D. Stadum and South Waterfront developer Dike Dame said they had "negotiated a means of curing the funding gap."

The dollar figures matched an earlier city proposal.

City Commissioner Erik Sten, an affordable housing advocate, said he's pushing for a funding package to make sure the tram's cost overruns don't eat up taxpayer money for affordable housing. He says the city is close to a solution, but "we're not there yet."

Rachel MacKnight, an OHSU spokeswoman, said the university will open talks on the package. But she said it's too early to commit to changes in existing agreements. Dame didn't return two phone messages Tuesday from The Oregonian.

Adams has appointed a new full-time tram project manager, Robert Barnard of the city's transportation office, and is calling for an outside audit to search for savings.

Adams, who manages the transportation office, also nominated five new board members to the Portland Aerial Transportation Inc., a private nonprofit corporation that's managing the tram.

Ryan Frank: 503-221-8564; ryanfrank@news.oregonian.com
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  #42  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2005, 8:12 AM
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I drove past OHSU building 1 tonight and under the Ross Island bridge there were several giant spools of something. It was dark so I couldn't tell what it was. Perhaps cable for the tram? Might be a little early for that, but... just a guess.
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  #43  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2005, 3:54 PM
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Standford again

http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=33012
Look up for fixes to all our problems

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This is probably as good a time as any to say I’ve seen the error of my ways and have come to support the Portland aerial tram — which, as many of you probably know, I originally opposed, thinking it was nothing but an expensive ski lift for doctors between OHSU and a condo development on the river.
True, at $45 million, the projected cost is now triple the original estimate, and it gives every promise of going even higher.
But as I’ve come to realize, it’s clearly such a good idea for the city as a whole that serious consideration should be given to building not just this one, but many, many more.
For example, how about one from OHSU to City Hall, so the good doctors can drop by at discrete intervals to pay their respects to the City Council members who approved this excellent project?
And from there, perhaps to the Pearl — say, the front door of the armory, where the taxpayers are fronting a $10 million theater for former Mayor Vera Katz’s favorite musical comedy troupe.
Surely, our commissioners, no less than the doctors on the hill, deserve to get from point to point in this city without having to endure the indignity of a ride through traffic.
• • •
And if even I can see the merits of this exciting 18th-century mode of transportation, imagine what the bright guys and gals who came up with the idea in the first place are thinking now.
Of course, we’ll need one to the convention center — and the new convention center hotel, which the visionaries over at the PDC would like to build with $800 million in public money.
And from there, by golly, how about an express tram straight to another well-known city money pit, PGE Park?
If you think those conventioneers are going to flock to Portland to just to stay in a hotel, think how crazy they’ll be to come here when they hear there’s an aerial tram link to a Triple-A baseball game.
And that’s just for starters. Once you really understand the concept, it’s not much to imagine the entire Rose City crisscrossed with a veritable network of aerial trams.
As former Mayor Katz once said: Why, it could be our picture postcard.
• • •
Yes, I know what you’re thinking: This could probably get a little expensive.
That’s what I thought at first, too.
But once you really understand this thing, it’s easy to see that the guys over at the PDC had it figured out long ago when they created all those urban renewal districts.
When you set up an urban renewal district, all the new tax money generated by the increased values goes to PDC-picked projects, like the tram.
In fact, about the only drawback that I can see is that once that happens, then none of the money so generated can be used for less glamorous projects like schools or law enforcement.
But let us not quibble.
What we obviously need to do here, if we are to make this aerial tram network a reality, is declare the entire city an urban renewal district.
Of course, we’ll probably ending up having to pay the startup costs ourselves, as we already have with the doctors’ ski lift. And who knows how much more in infrastructure costs?
But what’s a few more million when it comes to progress like this?

Contact Phil Stanford by phone at 503-546-5166 or by e-mail at Email Phil Stanford
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  #44  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2005, 6:33 PM
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Please don't post any more Standford, my head exploded after reading it and now someones going to have to clean it up.
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  #45  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2005, 6:50 PM
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Anything we can do about this guy? The guy is stuck in a time warp. I'm not sure what the hell he wants other then complete and utter stagnation or maybe 1950's PDX back.
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  #46  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2005, 7:32 PM
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^I think I will collect my kitty's crap in a paper bag and light it on fire on his Clackamas County office doorstep!

Seriously though, Phil might be onto something. For a fraction of the cost of other major mass transit projects, more of these trams could be built to get people around the city. I would much rather fly around town in my Aerial Tram, than be stuck in a streetcar waiting 45 minutes to go the same distance the tram can go in 10. I'm not knocking the streetcar, mind you, but for those that don't need the frequent stops a tram that runs from SoWa, to two locations in the core, to a spot in the Pearl, up to NW for the first "line" would actually be quite cool.

Talking about a 21st century city. Can you just imagine people floating around Portland in bus size bubbles? That is a skyline shot!
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  #47  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2005, 8:24 PM
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Clearly Phil Stanford is insane. My only wish for him is to move to another city that shares his views. If he hates Portland so much, why is he still here. Maybe they can find him a job in Houston or Atlanta.
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  #48  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2005, 8:57 PM
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We could build the first new tram directly over Standfords home. The Clackamas to Gresham line or "I like Mayberry" line.
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  #49  
Old Posted Dec 10, 2005, 12:16 AM
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Coming down off the hill this morning, I saw what may have been the first piece of the crane for the upper terminal. There has been a lot happening at the work site, so hopefully the rest will be up soon. It's just behind the Casey Eye Institute.
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  #50  
Old Posted Dec 10, 2005, 7:14 AM
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the tram is so out of this world...or at least the pacific nw - i cannot wait to flip all those nay sayers the finger while i ride the tram up and down on the weekends for the most amazing view of the city, the river, the mountains, the eastside and the highrise buildings in SOWA. get your t-shirts and keychain patents ready for sale at the tram landing.
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  #51  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2005, 12:01 AM
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^I agree crow, this tram is groundbreaking. For the cost, and I still think 45mil is a steal, we will probably see more cities studying ours. San Francisco and Seattle, with all their hills are perfect locations!
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  #52  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2005, 12:07 AM
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There was an aerial tram proposed in the 1970s to go up Kelly Butte as one of the goodies for getting the Mt. Hood Freeway built. Also one was proposed in the 1970s to connect the two parts of Washington Park together.
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  #53  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2005, 8:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Room 606
Coming down off the hill this morning, I saw what may have been the first piece of the crane for the upper terminal. There has been a lot happening at the work site, so hopefully the rest will be up soon. It's just behind the Casey Eye Institute.
Just noticed this afternoon that most of the crane is up at the upper tram tower, maybe by now its completely up.
Go By Tram
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  #54  
Old Posted Dec 21, 2005, 8:52 PM
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I can see out my office window that the crane is up!
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  #55  
Old Posted Dec 22, 2005, 6:10 PM
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PDC, OHSU pursue deal for tram cost overruns
Wendy Culverwell
Business Journal staff writer

Negotiators are back at work after unexpectedly high bids to build an aerial tram between Marquam Hill and the South Waterfront bumped the price to $45 million.

City Commissioner Sam Adams, who inherited the tram project when he won a spot on the City Council a year ago, said all options are being considered as the cost rose to nearly three times the original estimate and significantly above the most recent estimate of $40 million.

The latest bump in costs sent the city and its tram partners, which include Oregon Health & Science University and the major property owners developing luxury condominiums around the base of the tram, back to the negotiating table to fund the gap.

The city recently assigned the task of negotiating tram- and waterfront-related matters to the Portland Development Commission and has expanded the scope of the discussions. Besides reaching a decision on how to fully fund the tram, the parties must now address low-income housing in the South Waterfront and other issues.

A much-amended development agreement between the parties is facing an eighth revision.

The tram itself has a new project manager -- Robert Barnard, a city architect who will devote full time to the project. His predecessor, Don Irwin, a TriMet employee, was managing it on a part-time basis.

Adams enlisted Barnard after TriMet indicated it needed Irwin's attention on other projects.

"It was clear to me that we needed a full-time project manager," said Adams, who describes the tram as a project in "crisis" because of the rising cost.

He makes no secret that he thinks mistakes were made in developing an alpine-style system to convey people and equipment between the OHSU's hilltop campus and its new health center down below. The city conducted an international design competition and selected a design by a Los Angeles architect.

It then solicited bids from contractors, which is when costs started rising in part because of rising steel costs.

"As I've said before, this should have been a design-build contest, not just a design contest," he said, adding that the original projected cost of $15 million-plus never was realistic.

Nonetheless, the various elements have been bid by contractors and construction of the upper and lower terminals is under way, as is grading for the midway tower and the eventual pedestrian bridge at Interstate 5.

Barnard, the new project manager, is an architect and manager in the Portland Office of Transportation with much experience in complicated transportation projects. He worked on projects in the Lloyd District as well as the Oregon Convention Center and the Eastbank Esplanade.

He is one of six newcomers who collectively are adding business, auditing and engineering experience to the Portland Aerial Transportation Inc. board. The city commissioned the nonprofit board to oversee the tram's construction.

New board members include Devon Pearce, a former auditor with TriMet; George Passadore, the retired head of Wells Fargo Bank in Oregon; Harriett Cormack of the Housing Authority of Portland; engineer Marcele Alcantar; and Ted Aaland of Wildish Construction.

"I wanted to bring in some fresh eyes and ears," Adams said.

As a potential residential site, the neighborhood has been well received. Three luxury condominium projects are in construction by Gerding/Edlen Development Co. and its partners. The Atwater hasn't been placed on the market, but the first two are 98 percent and 70 percent sold, respectively.

City leaders however are growing impatient to see progress on a low-income residential project, which was to have begun in early October. It is stalled, however, because the PDC has not been able to secure land, according to a memo issued by Mayor Tom Potter earlier this month.

The letter, initialed by four of five city commissioners, demands that OHSU and the property owners show progress by the end of the year.

wculverwell@bizjournals.com | 503-219-3415
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  #56  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2005, 5:26 PM
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Here's a great letter sent into the Portland Tribune by a reader regarding Phil & the Tram:

Public’s share of tram bill is small
I am an employee of Oregon Health & Science University. However, this is a personal opinion and does not represent the opinion of OHSU.
In your Dec. 9 issue, Phil Stanford continued his mysterious hatefest against OHSU and the aerial tram project (Look up for fixes to all our problems, On the Town). Stanford apparently has no interest in truth when it interferes with his blathering crusades, but here are some facts.
The public-funding portion for the overall tram project, which includes a variety of neighborhood improvements, is $3.5 million from the Portland Development Commission. This is less than 8 percent of the project cost. Stanford implies that the public funding has increased dramatically. When the costs of the project increased because of more neighborhood improvement commitments, sharply higher steel prices, a weakening U.S. dollar, safety improvements and the addition of a contingency fund, the increase was covered by OHSU.
Contrary to Stanford’s claim, the tram actually will connect OHSU’s Marquam Hill campus with the future OHSU Center for Health & Healing and OHSU Schnitzer Campus. These planned facilities along with the South Waterfront river blocks project will result in roughly 10,000 new jobs and involve private investment of nearly $2 billion (yes, billion). The city’s $3.5 million investment in the tram project is less than the cost of any of a number of small road repair projects.
OHSU’s new campus became necessary because there is literally no space left on Marquam Hill. The last two buildings constructed on the hill were built running down steep hillsides. The waiting time for an assigned parking space on the hill is more than five years.
While Stanford will doubtlessly continue his tirades against OHSU and all the horrible things associated with it (education, research, doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, children’s hospital), the national and international communities have also taken much notice of the both tram project and OHSU’s plans for growth. They have praised both for their innovation.
When Stanford’s rage finally results in a stroke or heart attack, the dedicated professionals at OHSU will be ready with the best possible care.
Jim Ehmann
Southwest Portland
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  #57  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2005, 9:42 PM
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I like this guy's response..
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  #58  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2006, 7:48 PM
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I need to make another trip down there, been a long time since I saw how far along they were.
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  #59  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2006, 5:32 AM
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I was leaving the office today and took this picture of the crane for the tram station at the top of the hill. The quality is kind of crappy cause I took it with my phone sitting in my car. I thought it kind of looked like a UFO or something.

Last edited by dkealoha; Jan 11, 2006 at 5:31 PM.
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  #60  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2006, 4:30 PM
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I'm just getting a red x for that pic

City needs more time to check its tram math
Portland - The PDC doesn't want to raise its contribution until it nails down a price -- now standing at $45 million
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
RYAN FRANK

City officials say they need another three weeks to figure out exactly how much its aerial tram will cost even as crews build foundations for the link between the South Waterfront district and Oregon Health & Science University.

The tram's construction has badgered City Hall for 21/2 years. The city-owned project broke its deadline and busted its budget. It's scheduled to open six months behind schedule, a timeline that might be extended again, and its price has nearly tripled to an estimated $45 million.

Leaders at the Portland Development Commission say they don't want to raise their contribution - now $3.5 million - until they know for sure what the tram costs. The commission, a semi-independent city agency, hired Pinnell Busch, a Portland-based construction management consultant firm, to search for savings and verify the city's transportation office cost estimate.

"We need to have a lot more confidence in the cost and the size of the problem we're addressing," said Larry Brown, a senior development manager at the development commission. "We really need to bring some outside expertise and fresh eyes to look at the project."

OHSU has worked on the tram idea since the 1990s. The City Council approved the idea in 2002, a move that persuaded the hospital to give up thoughts of a Hillsboro expansion in favor of the South Waterfront. The hospital's decision triggered $2 billion in private and public investments in the former industrial district.

At the time, city transportation staff said the tram would cost $15.5 million. But they left out contingency funds and fees for engineers and architects. Prices for steel, concrete and labor rose. And the tram's iconic design proved far more costly than anyone imagined.

Two years later, the cost surged to $28.5 million. In 2005, it hit $40 million. At that price, the city had a plan to pay for it.

OHSU, a public corporation that receives a slim part of its budget from the state, would pay $30.7 million. South Waterfront property owners would pay about $5.7 million through a local improvement district created to collect a special fee for the tram.

And property taxpayers within the North Macadam urban-renewal district would pay $3.5 million, up from $2 million originally.

Today, that leaves it $5 million short. That's where Pinnell Busch comes in.

Among its tasks, the firm will check the city's construction schedule. The tram was originally supposed to be done in March. But crews are now sprinting against the Sept. 30 deadline. The project is 31/2 months behind schedule, according to development commission documents.

Pinnell Busch will help figure out how much extra it would cost to meet the deadline.

"Sept. 30 is pretty optimistic," Don Gardner, the city's director of transportation engineering, acknowledges.

The firm's first report is due Jan. 31.

After that, the development commission will restart negotiations with people who represent two of the tram's primary funders: Steve Stadum, OHSU's chief administrative officer, and South Waterfront developer Dike Dame.

When they last left the tram, both sides favored the same idea to fill the $5 million gap. Under the proposal, the Portland Development Commission would double its investment to $7 million in property tax dollars. OHSU would kick in another $2.25 million.

Ryan Frank: 503-221-8564; ryanfrank@news.oregonian.com
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