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  #81  
Old Posted Mar 15, 2006, 12:22 AM
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looks like

It looks like a spaceship from Starwars...
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  #82  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2006, 4:56 PM
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Does anyone know how they will string up the cables?
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  #83  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2006, 5:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkDaMan
Does anyone know how they will string up the cables?
I think the only way they will be able to do this is by helicopter, dropping in small pulling cables and then using those to pull in the final cables.
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  #84  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2006, 9:14 PM
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500,000 tons?! Is this a misprint?

Unless the Portland Office of Transportation comes up with $13.4 million soon, the controversial aerial tram project will run out of money and grind to a halt in six weeks.
The department, which is managing the tram project, is expected to spend the $40 million pledged to the project by the end of April. Unless the Portland City Council authorizes more funds for the project by then, the transportation office will not have the money to continue buying materials or to pay the workers building the tram, which will connect Oregon Health & Science University’s new building in the South Waterfront area with its facilities on Marquam Hill.
No one involved in the project seriously expects the work to stop, however. Officials with the Portland Development Commissioner, South Waterfront property owners and OHSU are still discussing how to bridge the funding gap that occurred when cost projections grew from $40 million to the current estimate of $53.4 million.
City Commissioner Randy Leonard, who is adamantly opposed to spending any more city money on the project, believes OHSU will come up with the money needed to finish the project.
“It’s OHSU’s tram. If they want it, they’ll pay for it,” Leonard said.
Homer Williams, the lead developer on the project, agrees that could happen — but says OHSU could then sue the city for part or all of the additional costs.
“Of course it will be finished. But that doesn’t mean the city won’t end up paying for it,” he said.
Mark Williams, the OHSU official in charge of the South Waterfront project, refuses to say what the teaching hospital is considering — but says OHSU believes the city “has an obligation” to help finish the project.
Even though the gap remains, work on the project is continuing unabated. For example, huge steel sheets are being cut and welded into support towers for the Oregon Health & Science University tram at a metal fabrication shop across the Columbia River from Portland in Vancouver, Wash. According to John Rudi of Thompson Metal Fab Inc., the completed towers will weigh more than 500,000 tons.
At the same time, seven large shipping containers full of specialized tram parts built in Switzerland are traveling across the ocean to Portland on four freight ships.
By the end of May, thousands of tons of fabricated steel will be ready to be attached to the reinforced concrete bases of the lower station, middle tower and upper station of the tram.
But the city has pulled the plug on a major construction project before. After spending more than $4 million on planning to replace the open reservoirs in Mount Tabor and Washington parks, the city canceled the project in response to public criticism — the same kind of criticism now swirling around the tram project.
At a March 14 public forum on the tram, dozens of Portlanders criticized the project and its escalating costs, questioning how the city could even consider completing it when the schools are facing a financial crisis.
A majority of the council balked at one possible solution last Thursday, in large part because it called for the city to increase its share of the tram costs from $3.5 million to $9.4 million. Both the original and additional amounts would come from so-called tax increment funds generated by increased property values in the development district.
Homer Williams and other investors promised to accelerate the district’s projected property value increases by starting construction on two new condominium towers ahead of schedule — one late this year and the other early next year.
Williams also promised the investors would guarantee city urban renewal bond payments if the property value increases fell short. And OHSU also offered to increase its share of the project from $24.75 million to $30.75 million.
But Commissioners Leonard, Dan Saltzman and Erik Sten said the investors were not contributing enough to the tram under the proposal. Sten believes the investors are making huge profits on their projects and should contribute cash to the tram. Williams said the three commissioners don’t understand how the business world works.
“We’re promising to seek and secure $250 million in bank financing to increase the value of the district by that amount. Everyone knows the real estate market is changing and if it goes down, we’re on the hook for all the payments. To say we’re not contributing enough, well, that’s just not fair,” he said.
Leonard suggests OHSU and the investors are trying to blackmail the city.
“They say all the steel has been bought and all the preparations are complete and all they need is just a little more money from us. I feel like if I go along with that, I’m rewarding bad behavior,” he said.
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  #85  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2006, 2:55 AM
zilfondel zilfondel is offline
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According to Commissioner Sam's site (I'm citing 'Roland,' who I presume is a public worker/official working on the tram), the city of Portland has a line of credit that it is using to pay for the tram. That line will be paid off by OHSU, the city & from the LID once they get an agreement hammered out.

I wouldn't rely too much on newsprint, as they are sensationalizing every last tidbit at this point - pouring gasoline on the fire.
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  #86  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2006, 3:22 AM
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I'm still not sure why the city should have anything to complain about here. $9.4 million is a miniscule amount compared to the amount of property tax revenue they'll pull in when the SoWa district gets going. And the money isn't even being pulled from school funding. It's being pulled from future taxes from the SoWa district. Even if the Tram weren't built, the schools would STILL not receive the funding they need, and the SoWa District becomes the next Lloyd District. IMHO Randy Leonard is a very short sighted person and quite frankly never offers up anything of substance other than to make huffy statements. And the only reason he makes huffy statements is because of the political pressure he's receiving.
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  #87  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2006, 3:23 AM
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The Tram will get built...there is no way the city wants its credit rating lowered or to face lawsuits from the contractors, etc....plus the huge amount of negative press the city would receive....it's another thing entirely if they hadn 't began the construction.... Any new project asking the city to be a partner will no doubt get closer scrutiny, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

This project, once completed, will be a good thing for the region. I know I might hit a raw nerve when I save the tram will actually be an improvement for that neighborhood below them....I say this after seeing the recent picture posts on the hillside neighborhood. I know a man's castle is his/her home but some of those homes need help. There doesn't seem to be much reinvestment/upkeep in some of much of the houses. It looks as though the hood as been going to crap longer than the idea of building a tram overhead.
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Last edited by PacificNW; Mar 24, 2006 at 8:27 PM.
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  #88  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2006, 4:47 AM
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While I dont think the city should have to pay any more for the tram, I agree with flux73 I find it funny that a few vocal people are whining about the $3.5 million (or even if it is $9.4 million) that the city is contributing to the tram (which is from SoWa urban renewal money). The City spent more studying capping the Mount Tabor reservoir, they are talking about building a $5 million bike bridge across I-405, how many million are they spending repaving Naito Parkway? I'm not saying these aren't valid projects but why is $3.5 million (or even if it is $9.4 million) toward a tram that is a linchpin for a $10 Billion neighborhood being wasteful????
The Oregonian editorial board is a big supporter of the tram project but also thinks that the developers could contribute more...
Developers should help fill the gap in tram's finances

More money is not the solution for the portland school district's problems as was seen with several hundred million dollar school tax in Multnomah County that really didnt do much yet apparently a tiny $3.5 million or even $9.4 million from the tram budget would be the fix.
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  #89  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2006, 7:29 PM
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Speaking of capping the Mt. Tabor reservoir...since they have capped and landscaped the Broadway reservoir here in Seattle the neighborhood and city appears to be getting its monies worth. It's not even Spring yet but the new park is getting heavy use and positive word of mouth in the hood. I like having it just down the block...much nicer than when it was an open air facility. Those in Portland should come up and take a look...some of the opponents might change their minds.
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  #90  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2006, 7:54 PM
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They had a design competition for the reservoir caps and the plans were spectacular. I think the winning design was a floating blatter type cover with walkways, fountains, and reconnection to the parks where they sit in. The BoJacks of Portland and the inability of the city council to better communicate the plans, doomed the project.
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  #91  
Old Posted Mar 23, 2006, 11:34 PM
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Wow, the amount of vitriol being spewed on Jack Bog's blog in the comment section is unbelievable. So much sarcasm but I have yet to see a good reason for why they should be so angry about the tram. I really don't get it. Even IF the city were contributing to the city's part of the financing, it would come out to what, $2 per person? And it isn't. The argument about school funding is just ridiculous considering the citizens of Portland voted DOWN the I-Tax which brought in $90 million per year. Yet where was the complaining when that got voted down? I can only assume that when people are too bored, they just like to get angry and bitch.
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  #92  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2006, 6:11 PM
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That Tabor reservoir fight made no sense to me. I couldn't understand why the local people didn't want a park on top of the big square chainlink fence surrounded ponds. It's not like they were capping a pristine lake or something, we're talking about square industrial looking concrete lined ponds that you can't even go near. NIMIBY in the extreme.
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  #93  
Old Posted Mar 25, 2006, 11:21 AM
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For as cool and progressive as Portland can be, many of its citizens look to the past more than the future. This is a trait Portland shares with San Francisco--another city where citizens fight anything modern or anything new. In the end, we will win. But seriously, of all the things to angry about in the world, why are they so mad about the tram, which isn´t likely to cost taxpayers anymore than what has already been pledged. And considering how much property tax revenue the city will be earning from the barrage of luxury housing being built--and sold faster than it´s being built--why the anger? Fuck Randy Leonard. He´s a hick. He should have stuck with pissing out fires.
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  #94  
Old Posted Mar 27, 2006, 1:03 AM
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BoJack & his curmudgeon ilk are primarily against the Tram, from what I can tell, for a couple of reasons:

1) people have no right living in high-rise living

2) the public should never pay for any infrastructure improvements, parks, etc, unless it is either for police, fire, medical, schools, and publicly-subsizided Baseball Stadiums. Trams are certainly a no-no

3) OHSU can go to hell

4) he believes the area between Marquam Br. and Ross Is. Br. is going to become a 'park & ride' lot for OHSU, not a new campus

5) tram will collapse and kill people on the freeway, Barbur, and houses

6) the REAL REASON BoJack hates the Tram:

It's Ex-Guv 'baby-raper' Goldschmidt's pet project!

==================

this decisively proves that anyone who specializes in public accounting or taxation is inherintly unhappy.
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  #95  
Old Posted Mar 27, 2006, 1:06 AM
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PDX:

Randy is just bein' Randy, tho: he's like the Hammer nailing down the developers whenever they get out of line. If you show too much mercy to them, we'll get crappy architecture & other projects built, way off budget. He just keeps everything smoothly running - doing what a politician should be doing, focusing on accountability.

Course, he likes to use outrageous language while doing so, to scare things up a bit. I think it works wonders, personally... plus you've got commiss. Sam, who's been kickin' butt ever since I voted for him. =)
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  #96  
Old Posted Mar 27, 2006, 1:45 AM
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Randy Gragg, from this morning's Oregonian

THE TROUBLE WITH THE TRAM
Sunday, March 26, 2006
RANDY GRAGG

The political strutting about the rising costs of Portland's aerial tram has been great theater. But it doesn't help anyone understand why the tram has become so expensive, much less whether it's still worth the money.

City Commissioners Randy Leonard and Sam Adams have led the follies. Now everyone is joining in, vilifying city staffers, consultants, the architect and each other for the tram's flight to $55 million.

Time for a reality check.

No member of the media watched the tram's early history more closely than I did. Back in 2001, I started beating the drum for an international design competition. And until I went on sabbatical last August, I saw every turn in the tram's development, attending dozens of meetings and writing dozens of articles, many raising concerns about -- even poking fun at -- the tram's fictional budget.

Nobody could have predicted the final cost. The largest Pacific Rim construction boom in history, the reconstruction of Iraq and, most recently, Hurricane Katrina's aftermath have inflated construction budgets everywhere by double-digit figures, sometimes monthly.

Yet none of that excuses a critical early misstep, much less the acrobatics that have followed.

Back in 2002, a ski-lift engineer named Joe Gmuender presented Oregon Health & Science University and the city with the first estimate to build the tram: "a little over $10 million." A bargain! Too bad it wasn't for the tram that eventually would be approved and built.

Gmuender's tram flew up Marquam Hill to an open plaza. There, he presumed, a short, simple tower could be anchored with cables into the mountainside's bedrock. By contrast, the tram now being built lands at a hole in the side of OHSU's new 200-foot-high Patient Care Facility.

To protect the new microsurgery facilities, the system's 1 million pounds of cables and cars won't touch the building. They'll hang off a 160-foot tower with no tie-backs to either the building or the ground. Imagine playing tug-of-war with a football team while standing on one foot: The tower will bear an extraordinary 160 million foot-pounds of torque. Nothing like it has ever been built anywhere before.

So how did the building get in the way?

As OHSU officials were negotiating for the tram, they were also working to upzone the university's land in the Marquam Hill Plan. Given the long history of neighborhood crusades against its growth, OHSU kept the blueprints for the building under wraps until after the Marquam plan was inked.

Shortly thereafter, the city and OHSU bumped the tram's budget to $15.5 million. But that was for the international competition's supposed "design premium." Nobody bothered to study the radical new engineering problem OHSU had created.

During the competition, every architect openly said the budget was too small. The winner and her engineers kept saying it, in the newspaper and in public meetings. But the developers, OHSU and the city argued back that the tram had to be built for $15.5 million.

As estimates rose, OHSU and then-City Commissioner Jim Francesconi even stopped the design work to "value-engineer" the design. All they cut was quality while unwittingly pushing the tram into the post-Katrina swirls of construction pricing.

So who lied? Who messed up? Who do we blame? The truth is, everyone was enjoying a long, local tradition. As historian E. Kimbark McColl once put it, "Portland is always looking for first-class passage on a steerage ticket."

But now it's time to get real. More than $500 million in new construction is rising in South Waterfront with more on the way. In Portland's internationally lauded history of public/private partnerships, this one is the biggest ever with the least amount of public money, all on the promise of that aerial tram. Stopping it, or even arbitrarily capping the city's two-bit contribution at $3.5 million, might allow a few politicians to proudly bow before the peanut gallery.

But don't expect the national investment community to clap for the performance, much less trust Portland ever again in a public/private partnership.



Randy Gragg is The Oregonian's architecture and urban design critic. He is on leave through June as a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University.
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  #97  
Old Posted Mar 27, 2006, 3:08 AM
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its good to hear Randy Gragg's voice again. To me this is the most realistic portrayal of the situation I've read in a longtime. The benefits of the tram are going to be huge for this city. It's going to end up being a small investment with huge returns.
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  #98  
Old Posted Mar 27, 2006, 4:56 PM
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So is Randy Gragg back, back? How much more simple would it have been for the city had they just hired him to explain the fiasco.

Randy Gragg for 2008 Mayor!
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  #99  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2006, 4:01 AM
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The Aerial Tram is rising quickly:











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  #100  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2006, 4:59 AM
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so any comments about that article in the oregonian today - something about a vote in the near future which would decide whether the city would stop the project?? i started to read it but someone interrupted me with work to do (the gall!)...
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