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economic justice

Another Urban Renewal Rip Off

How much money do Vera Katz and Homer Williams need to steal?
Here we go again. Vera Katz, in her last hurrah to establish her legacy before leaving office, has again enlisted the help of the rip off developer Homer Williams to perform a new urban renewal miracle: the South Macadam development project. Her Honor assures us that this development will create thousands of new jobs and pull Portland out of it's economic slump.

Baloney.

The actual agenda of Katz, Williams and all their co-conspirators in City Hall is crystalline.

Knock down the "blighted" neighborhoods that may still have some affordable housing and build expensive condos for their well connected friends.

In return for the fat campaign contributions from those well connected friends, move them into million dollar properties that are conveniently taken off the property tax rolls.

But in an effort to maintain a caring, liberal front they'll throw in a few low income units or allow the displaced persons to pitch a tent in dignity village.

The west side elitists in this city are sucking the blood of every working person in this city and they've been doing it for years. They put on a good front with their birkenstocks, "diversity" programs and seemingly liberal politics, but the fact is they are lining their pockets and the pockets of their friends at the expense of all of us.

The Zidell and Schnitzer families, who own most of the property in question, put forward their own development plan years ago. The property would have been developed at their expense, not at ours. But the City didn't like the plan. It didn't fit Portland's image. It didn't fit Portland's view of sustainability.

Again, I say baloney.

What it really didn't do was fatten the bank accounts of Vera, Homer and all their fat cat friends.

We need to stop the South Macadam.
How to stop South Macadam 06.Aug.2003 17:20

Watchman

If South Macadam is to be stopped, it will be because the ground is irretreivably polluted. I'm sure the developers will come up with some engineering studies to say that it's been cleaned up, but as one whose family worked there for years, I say it's polluted forever. Deny the soil engineering studies and demand to have new, impartial ones done, and I guarantee that they will show need for expensive remediation. Who knows, the remediation might be spendy enough to queer the whole project.

These projects have only a finite lifespan, so delay and additional expense could be the stopper that you are looking for.

The Watchman, knows how to stop a steamroller

Why? 07.Aug.2003 01:31

Howard Hughs

I'm all for stopping gentrification of traditional neighborhoods, but North Macadam is certainly not one of them. It's a big empty industrial wasteland. I'd rather see a bunch of yuppie condos go up on that site than see a few hundred acres of farmland or forest being eaten up by suburban sprawl. The site already is ripping off tax payers, it's almost completely unused but still requires the city to maintain services for it so I don't see problem of putting something there instead of seeing the big blighted concrete slab that it is now.

Here's why 07.Aug.2003 08:28

Watchman

The reason to stop is is the River, Howard. It's bad enough that we have the blight of the freeway bridge there, but the are has improved it's character since the industrial slum that was Zidell's went away. Now you want to replace that open space with high-rise condos, making yet another portion of the river into a concrete canyon.

Have you no soul?

The Watchman: yes, gamesmanship can include art

Who's paying? 07.Aug.2003 14:50

anonymous

Isn't it also that the taxpayers, the present taxpayers, are being asked to foot part of the bill, while the developer will reap the profits? Aren't property taxes going up in that area, so those people who are losing their view are also paying more tax? Are the new owners going to get a property tax break like the condo owners in the Pearl District? So you will have a case where the project will be funded by the middle class/upper class locals who have already invested a lot in this community, to benefit outsiders who have enough money to pay, but are told that we want them to move in so badly that they don't need to pay taxes?

Isn't that why?

Why is this city such a wimp? Homer is not doing us a favor by deciding to do this project for us. The city is doing him a great favor, in fact handing him a pot of gold, by letting him do this project.

Why does this city think it has not bargaining power?