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  #61  
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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  #62  
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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  #63  
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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  #64  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2006, 4:38 PM
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Anytime PDC is involved I get nervous. Their track record over the last five years is horrible. They just can't seem to get their act together, taking way too much time for basic tasks. When is the last time they built something that ran smoothly (or built something for that matter)?
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  #65  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2006, 3:43 AM
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^^ I was wondering about that recently (PDC over the last 5 or so years). I took the last 15 minutes searching PDC's website and the web for recent projects they have been a part of. I am assuming I must have missed a lot--but for the quick search the list is long. I also don't know what their involvement included in many of the projects. But here is the list:

Downtown
Brewery Blocks
Meier & Frank Hotel Conversion
St. Francis
Museum Place (Safeway)
Madison Place
Eliot Tower

Old Town/Chinatown
Classical Chinese Gardens
Oak Tower
Firestation 1
Portland Saturday Market

Central Eastside
Eastbank Esplanade
Burnside Bridgehead
Oregon Convention Center
Headquarters Hotel

South Waterfront

Airport Way

MLK Boulevard

It would make an interesting topic to keep track of all the projects PDC touches.
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  #66  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2006, 4:55 AM
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I'll spare you all posting it but Phil is still attacking the tram (and Portland) in yesterdays edition of the anti-portland tribune
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  #67  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2006, 5:14 AM
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I read it...does he actually live in the city? I would like his lips to meet my ass.
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  #68  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2006, 4:27 PM
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^what was it this time? I just read one from last Friday, or maybe it was Tuesdays where he was concerned about the "ill" people involved in the BioScience studies taking the tram.

Because we all know people with Diabetes, Cancer, an amputated limb, or AIDS to name a few, will get everyone else on board sick. He should be fired for such a dumb assed offensive comment!
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  #69  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2006, 4:57 PM
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Speaking of ass, one must ask what Stanford did to survive the great tribune purge of 2005. Could explain why he's so angry.
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  #70  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2006, 5:19 PM
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Tram anxiety
How flimsy math, shaky design and scorching steel prices tripled tram costs in three years
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Ryan Frank
The Oregonian

On an August afternoon full of congratulations, the City Council opened the doors in 2003 to prime riverfront for Portland's biggest economic development deal in history.

The landmark $1.9 billion project hung on a $15.5 million aerial tram to tie the South Waterfront neighborhood to OHSU's Pill Hill. The council unanimously jumped on for the ride.

What the council didn't know when it approved the tram: That steel prices would rise by more than 85 percent. That the original design, while attractive, was an engineering joke. That the $15.5 million budget for this engineering feat was practically pulled from thin air, a financial analysis less complete than what's required to build a city street. And that 21/2 years later, some people would look at what's now a $45 million tram and shake their heads.

"Whether it was the budget or a guess, it was way off," says Commissioner Erik Sten. "You can't guess one-third and be credible."

The sad story is, tram managers knew early on that the original budget wouldn't cover it. But no one made that clear to the council until later.

The tram's approval set in motion the city's dream project. OHSU agreed to stay in the city and seed the new South Waterfront, which in turn attracted developers to plant high-rise condos and shops. Where the city had spent years trying to rebuild the mostly vacant industrial and warehouse district, a revived riverfront and a Pearl District cousin would take root.

Few suggest stopping the tram now -- it's scheduled to fly in September. But there's plenty to learn from how things went so wrong.

Mix billions of dollars, political reputations, development pressures, untested designs, budget guesstimating and unpredictable steel price increases, and you get one expensive miscalculation.

The tram's bottom station east of Interstate 5 sounds like the middle act of a musical. Diesel engines growl. Backhoes beep as they back up. Workers in hard hats weave around cement trucks.

Three cranes, two condo shells and OHSU's bulky 16-story research and medical building race for the sky. South Waterfront condos will outprice those in the Pearl at $477 a square foot and will outreach them, with buildings stretching 20-plus stories and million-dollar views of Mount Hood.

Vic Rhodes, a consultant who manages the work for the nonprofit Portland Aerial Transportation Inc., crunches over gravel on Moody Avenue near the lower station. The tram will dock between OHSU's new building and the Zidell Marine Corp. barge-building operation.

"Combat zone," Rhodes grumbles, dodging bicyclists and a dump truck that cut down Moody.

Up Gibbs, workers burrow through dirt for the middle tower's platform. From here, it's 2,900 feet up Marquam Hill to dock at OHSU.

The city attracted all this with the promise of $72 million toward the tram and public improvements. No single thing will cost more than the tram. Mayor Tom Potter, who inherited the project, worries the rising cost could eat up taxpayer's money for those improvements -- parks, a riverfront greenway and affordable housing.

For the tram, South Waterfront property taxpayers originally were on the hook for $2 million through urban renewal. That's now $3.5 million, a figure that could double, according to city documents. South Waterfront property owners also will share at least $5.7 million in still more taxes. OHSU, a public corporation that gets just under 4 percent of its operating budget from the state, will pitch in at least $30.7 million.

That leaves $5 million unpaid.

The tram sprang from two converging desires: OHSU's expansion pressures and the city's vision of a vibrant riverfront.

Crimped roads have choked off the hospital for more than a decade, says Steve Stadum, OHSU's chief administrative officer. So it looked to its Hillsboro campus to expand.

Reputations rode on the tram's success. Then-Mayor Vera Katz and the council, tagged as anti-business after Columbia Sportswear's flight to Washington County in 2001, couldn't lose the expansion. Katz also had adopted South Waterfront as key to her efforts to rebuild the city, along with the Eastbank Esplanade and the Pearl District.

But first, how to connect Pill Hill to the river: Shuttle buses? Cheap but circuitous, as long as 17 minutes in rush hour by 2020. A tram would cost more up front and more in annual maintenance, but the trip? A direct shot in less than three minutes.

The facts made it clear, the tram was the way to go. OHSU, Katz and the council shook on the phonebook-size agreement in 2003.

For Gordon Davis, that was a problem.

Buried in the pages was a figure Davis never thought would get that far: Tram total project costs, $15.5 million.

Davis, an OHSU consultant, and Matt Brown, a mid-level city manager, got the job to pencil out a budget for competing architects to design a tram. Neither had ever worked on a tram. Davis' expertise was planning and architecture; Brown's, managing city transportation projects.

They relied on a tram engineer's preliminary study to decide a bare-bones tram would run about $10 million. But a bare-bones design wouldn't do. The city wanted an icon for the skyline and people under the tram's path -- already balking at the very idea -- wouldn't stand for an eyesore.

To pay for the cool look, Davis and Brown padded the budget with a "reasonable" design premium of $5.5 million. No detailed engineering research. No line-item budget. No basis in reality.

Davis and Brown meant the number as a rough target for architects.

But OHSU's Stadum, South Waterfront developer Dike Dame, and Portland Development Commission executives plunked $15.5 million into their spreadsheets.

Davis grew nervous as the guesstimate looked more like a guarantee.

"Someone grabbed onto that figure like the word of God," Davis says. "But there wasn't a whole lot that went into that number that was precise."

He called Stadum, a tram board member and a lead negotiator on the deal, to clear up the math. Davis says he left a voice mail at Stadum's office warning that the budget was probably $5 million to $8 million low. Stadum, for his part, says he doesn't remember the message.

The architect saw red, too. After her Los Angeles firm won the design competition, Sarah Graham flagged tram managers in April 2003 that she couldn't build it for $15.5 million. The figure covered only construction, she said. Nothing for contingency funds. Nothing to pay architects and engineers. Those things, basic to any transportation project, would run as much as $8 million. That was news to some, most noteworthy to OHSU's Stadum. Though aware of the budget holes, Stadum says, Portland Aerial Transportation Inc. stuck with the original until it had a final design.

Graham nearly walked away over the dispute that followed. In June 2003, she traded e-mails with Brown and Rhodes, the tram consultant.

Graham: "I would interpret that you will have to get the players to come up with more funding for the tram BEFORE the agreement is signed or we are collectively out of luck. Yes?"

Rhodes: "I think we go with $15.5 and fix it later," once the design is fleshed out to give cost estimators something real to work from.

Months earlier, Brown realized the budget was "likely too low to accommodate the project," he said in a memo. But Brown hoped they could hold down costs to make up for the mistakes. He wrote: "On the $15.5, this is clearly something that we can amend later." Stadum, Dame and the PDC had negotiated details for "over a year and will not contemplate changes to the budget at this time."

Two months later, minutes after the council's OK, Brown looked them in the eyes and talked about a "$15.5 million tram."

In November 2003, the increases rolled in. Two professional cost estimators pegged the budget at $24 million and $30 million. That didn't please Commissioner Dan Saltzman.

He later complained at a council meeting about Portland Aerial Transportation Inc. "I sat here and asked the chairman of PATI several times whether $15.5 million was the real number and was assured that," Saltzman said. "I'm still holding out for $15.5 million. That's the cost that was presented to us, the City Council, to PDC, to OHSU, to North Macadam developers. We should be able to deliver a first-class tram at that cost."

After Saltzman finished, Katz spoke up but didn't touch the bulging budget. She focused on how the tram would fit in with its surroundings. Then-Commissioner Jim Francesconi, the council's transportation manager, disputed Saltzman, saying $15.5 million was for an unadorned "ski lift"-type tram that neighbors wouldn't like.

Saltzman fired back: "Nobody told me I was authorizing only a ski lift."

The tram advocates wanted to deflect attention from the numbers. In April 2004 John Mangan, a public relations consultant they hired, coached them to spin the story: Stay unified in messages of design excellence, engineering integrity, community responsiveness and safety.

"The obsession with our budget," he said in a memo, "seems to be subsiding."

Not for long.

The cost kept surging by millions. As the architect drew a more detailed picture, her minimalist design complicated things.

The tram's parts could move a mere three-quarters of an inch under the cable's 1 million pounds of pressure with winds at 50 mph. That meant more money for concrete, steel and time to put it together.

At the lower station, for example, the cost for pilings per foot jumped at the same time engineers required additional pilings.

The result: The foundation's cost tripled in less than a year.

Today, as construction crews drill holes for the Pill Hill station, no one knows who will get stuck with the tram's $5 million bump announced in October -- taxpayers, OHSU or developers.

South Waterfront developer Homer Williams says that when Portlanders can ride the tram high above the condo towers to take in views of Mount Hood, few people will remember the price tag. They'll care only that it helped build South Waterfront. Developers already have started construction on four buildings worth $670 million.

"We may have a bump of a few million bucks on the tram," Williams says. "But it's going great. We shouldn't lose sight of what we're doing."

Even so, the mayor plans a review of what he calls serious mistakes. "I don't know anybody that entered into this to deceive anybody," Potter says. "I sort of think it was cocktail-napkin designing."

Davis, the OHSU consultant, moved on from the tram nearly three years ago. He lives in the Pearl but works mostly with California developers. Brown left the city in December and now works for South Waterfront developers Williams and Dame.

In hindsight, Brown can't ignore the mistakes. "It's hard looking at it now and seeing things that look so obvious," he says. "But at the end of the day, what it's producing for the city and what keeps me sane about this, is that I know there's going to be 5,000 good jobs.

"I wish it didn't cost $45 million."

Ryan Frank: 503-221-8564; ryanfrank@news.oregonian.com
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  #71  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2006, 6:23 PM
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"A new Sauvie Island Bridge is expected to cost between $33 million and $37 million" So were about to spend 37 million on a bridge, is that going to generate 670 million in new development? People need to put this in perspective. The only reason its a story is because the Tram is something new. No one blinks an eye over a 45million dollar interchange.
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  #72  
Old Posted Jan 13, 2006, 1:46 AM
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theres also 5 pdf images available about the tram project at oregonlive and a few smaller paragraphs about the tram

To dream the immoderate dream
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Steve Duin - Oregonian

Back in the winter of 1998, when he was just another Portland Democrat in the Legislature, Randy Leonard received a call from Peter Kohler, the president of Oregon Health & Science University, inviting him on a tour of his hilltop realm.

Leonard and Kohler were on the OHSU skybridge when Kohler pointed down toward the wastelands along the Willamette, 3,000 feet below, and said, "We're going to build a tram here." When Leonard posed the obvious question -- "To where?" -- Kohler described a riverside medical and research center and the ski lift that would connect it to Pill Hill.

"It's a dream of ours," Leonard recalls Kohler saying. "It's something we believe in."

Eight years later, Leonard is a Portland city commissioner, staring slack-jawed at the runaway running tab for the tram. The initial $15.5 million estimate has almost tripled, and Leonard says the final cost may be "closer to $60 million."

Leonard is insistent that the city's obligation doesn't increase by a single dollar: "I've told OHSU they need to pay for it. This was their vision. I can't justify paying a cent beyond what the city committed to. It's basically a transportation system to serve OHSU, and we're on the hook for the cost.

"Maybe it's time to go to OHSU and the developers and say, 'Let's pull the plug. Cut our losses.' This is destroying our credibility with the public."

Credibility? In the aftermath of reporter Ryan Frank's inPortland story this morning on the tram -- non-Portland-area readers can find the piece under local news at www. oregonlive.com -- the demolition may be complete.

Frank reports the original $15.5 million estimate for the tram was the earnest fantasy of an OHSU consultant, Gordon Davis, and the city's Matt Brown, two guys who'd never previously worked on a similar project.

That figure was seized upon by OHSU executive Steve Stadum and developer Dike Dame, two gentlemen with the most at stake in the South Waterfront and the two Portland Aerial Transportation Inc. board members who were most vocal about the moral imperative of staying on budget.

Tram supporters then hired a spinmeister to keep the ballooning cost hidden behind smoke and mirrors. And months after Brown knew the $15.5 million figure was wishful thinking, he continued to promote that pricetag to Portland's City Council.

"There's a huge difference between an honest mistake and deliberately misleading," Brown said. "At the time we brought that to council, we hadn't done a lick of design. On what basis could I modify the number?"

Gut instinct? Fair warning? As Commissioner Erik Sten said, "I don't run from developing that area -- it's a good move for the city -- but why can't we do it straight up?"

South Waterfront fans argue the city will, in the long run, capture significant tax revenue on the $1.9 billion project. That may be true, but OHSU does not pay property taxes, and the Schnitzer family's donation of 19.5 riverfront acres to the university flipped a huge chunk of the property from taxable to nontaxable status.

What's increasingly clear is that astute, hardball negotiating by OHSU and the typically mushy acquiescence of the Portland Development Commission resulted in OHSU committing to spending $30.7 million on the tram -- though only $4 million in cash -- while the city invested $72 million on the skyway and public improvements along the river.

Leonard is now determined to negotiate in kind. "We made a commitment early on, and we're stuck with that commitment," he says, "but anything beyond that, we won't do.

"There isn't a minute possibility that OHSU will let us yank the footings out from under them. This has been their dream for 10 years. They'll come up with the money. They'll have the tram come hell or high water."
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  #73  
Old Posted Jan 13, 2006, 4:42 AM
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Cab...I couldn't agree with you more. $45-$50 million for a transit project is chump change. These newspaper people and certain city officials need to get real... The whole concept from beginning to end is currently being realized. What Portland doesn't need is for the cities largest employer to expand to Hillsboro instead of the city...that was on OHSU's agenda...this project saved the major part of OHSU for Portland...an institution that is destined to become a world recognized leader in medical research and development.
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  #74  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2006, 7:16 PM
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Planners declare tram must go on
Project passes ‘point of no return’ as consultant eyes cost
By JIM REDDEN Issue date: Tue, Jan 17, 2006
The Tribune Although the city has hired a consulting firm to determine a final cost estimate for the Oregon Health & Science University aerial tram, there is virtually no chance the project will be canceled no matter how high the tab climbs.
“We passed the point of no return a long time ago,” said Art Pearce, project coordinator for the Portland Office of Transportation, which is managing the project.
The tram will connect two OHSU-related buildings, a biomedical research building on the university’s Marquam Hill campus and the Center for Health and Healing in the South Waterfront area that will be owned by the nonprofit OHSU Medical Group.
OHSU insisted on the tram before approving construction of the South Waterfront building, which is expected to help inspire up to $2 billion in private investment in the area by 2010.
The estimated cost of the tram has increased from about $8 million when it was proposed in 2001 to $15.5 million when the City Council approved it in 2003 to $40 million today — $45 million if you include an as-yet-unbudgeted contingency fund.
The Portland Development Commission has retained the Pinnell Busch management consulting firm to review the project and provide an independent cost estimate later this month or early next month.
Mayor Tom Potter and Commissioner Sam Adams, who is in charge of the Transportation Office, have promised to investigate why the original estimates were so low. But even if the Pinnell Busch estimate is significantly higher than $45 million, Pearce said, the city is committed to finishing the project. More than $10 million has been spent on the two construction firms hired to build the tram, Pearce said. Much of the money paid for steel for the project.
“The steel has been purchased and is sitting on the floor of the supplier or is being fabricated to meet the project specifications,” Pearce said. “It can’t be returned.” He declined to speculate about whether any of the steel could be resold.

Deadline approaches

In addition, Portland is legally obligated to complete the tram this year. The South Waterfront Central District Project Development Agreement signed by the city, OHSU and area property owners requires the city to deliver a working tram by September. Pearce said that if the project is not completed on time, OHSU Medical Group could sue the city.
“The two buildings are designed to be able to move patients back and forth quickly on the tram,” he said. “If the doctors can’t use their offices as designed, there’s the possibility of suing for damages.”
Other key players involved with the project agreed that it is too late to stop construction. OHSU spokeswoman Lora Cuykendall said there are no circumstances that would prompt the teaching university to support canceling the project. OHSU has invested millions of dollars in the buildings at both ends of the tram route that specifically were designed to accommodate it, said Cuykendall, director of OHSU news and publications.
South Waterfront developer Homer Williams also said it’s too late to cancel the project.
“The bottom line is, this is going to be built,” said Williams, whose company, Williams & Dane, also owns property in the South Waterfront area. “The city needs to buckle down and get it done.”

City’s share is unchanged

Pearce, Cuykendall and Williams all stressed that only a small portion of the tram budget is coming from Portland taxpayers. The City Council has agreed to spend $3.5 million in urban renewal property tax dollars on the project.
Of the remaining amount, $30.5 million is coming from the property owners at both ends of the tram — a little more than $24.7 million from a local improvement district formed by OHSU and just under $5.8 million from a local improvement district formed by the South Waterfront property owners.
OHSU is putting an additional $4 million in cash and $2 million in energy tax credits into the project.
So far, the city has not increased its $3.5 million commitment to the project. When the cost estimate jumped from $15.5 million to $40 million, OHSU increased its local improvement district share by nearly $11.5 million.
Williams said that even if costs go up and the city puts more money into the project, Portland taxpayers still will end up paying only a fraction of the total.
“People talk like the public is paying for the entire project, but that’s just not the case,” Williams said.
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  #75  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2006, 7:28 PM
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BooHoo...I've highlighted some of the better "stop SoWa and protect our views" quotes!

The price of a high-rise city

As South Waterfront towers rise, nearby residents lose cherished view
By JOSEPH GALLIVAN Issue date: Tue, Jan 17, 2006
The Tribune Few things are as sacred to Portlanders as their view of Mount Hood.
It tells the time on a seasonal scale: If it’s brown it must be late summer. It tells the weather: Fifty miles of clarity is a dramatic break in the rain. It drives home sales and leisure plans, provides bragging rights and an object of contemplation.
So as city planners, developers and home buyers embrace the idea of building up rather than out, someone’s going to lose out.
The residents of one of Portland’s oldest neighborhoods, Lair Hill, have been able to count their losses on a daily basis lately. First the brown skeletons of the three new towers at the South Waterfront District went up. (Oregon Health & Science University’s Center for Health and Healing, formerly known as Building One, and the Meriwether Condominium Towers.)
In the last month, glass has sheathed the buildings almost as rapidly as in a time-lapse movie, blocking the remaining glimpses of the snowcapped mountain for certain residents.
“I hate it,” says Emily Scranton, 20, of the 16-story Center for Health and Healing, which rose slap-bang between her bedroom and Mount Hood. Recalling last summer, she says: “I went on vacation, and the tower was real low. I came back, and the mountain was covered.”
Scranton moved here from the flatlands of Indiana to study massage, and rents the top-floor apartment in a triplex at Southwest Corbett Avenue and Gibbs Street.
“You could see Mount Hood from the shower and from the porch,” she says. “I used to sit up on the roof for hours talking with my friend Heather. We had 360-degree views. We’d see the mountain glowing.”
She gives practice massages on her porch: “People loved it. It was very peaceful.”
Scranton’s landlady, Kathleen Root, lives on the first floor of the 1893 Victorian. She’s still upset about the new towers.
“I had a peekaboo view of Mount Hood if I stood at certain place on tippy-toe,” she says. “That was a whole lot better than that massive building. What I’m really losing is the open sky. That bugs the heck out of me.
She went to the public meetings about the tram, which will run above Gibbs Street from OHSU’s new tower, but didn’t feel she was heard. (She predicts the tram will be “a scar on the hill.”) She stopped going and missed the discussion of the view.
Justin Auld owns an 1880 house at 3325 S.W. Kelly Ave. that lost its view to the apartment building opposite in the 1960s. “On a clear day I can see the tip,” says the Vermont native, 33, who moved here six years ago. “I always look at it for a few seconds at the corner of Whitaker and Kelly.”
As a teacher at the Art Institute of Portland, he has an aesthetic appreciation of the form, and has driven up to Council Crest to draw it. He’s also a hiker and has been on the mountain many times.
“It’s always been cool to watch it in the rain and see the snow cover it, then get patchy in the summer. It’s kind of like insurance, telling us how much water we’re going to get.”

View comes to some

Dennis Wilde is one of those people who will gain a view of Mount Hood: In April he and his wife move into a brand-new 2,000-square-foot condo in the east tower of the Meriwether condos.
The empty nesters downsized and moved out of their Terwilliger home last year and into an apartment in the Pearl District, to get used to the urban lifestyle. The roads through the South Waterfront District are as muddy as Stumptown in its founding days, but by April he is confident there will be asphalt and coffee shops.
Wilde is putting his money where his mouth is: He’s the project manager for Gerding/Edlen Development Co., which is jointly developing South Waterfront with Williams & Dame.
Standing on the bare concrete 24 stories up in the west tower, hard hat on, he points through the driving rain at various future points of interest: the streetcar turnaround, the bioswales and the two-block area that will eventually become Central Park.
“These buildings have been designed with views in mind,” he explains. The towers are narrow and are aligned to maximize the view eastward. “I’ll have a pretty nice view of the Willamette looking south,” he adds.
Troy Doss is a senior planner at the city Bureau of Planning and a project manager for the South Waterfront. (His department comes up with the rules about height, design, architecture and types of land use that the developers have to follow.)
“The street plan was laid out in part to provide extra sight corridors, with 200-by-200-foot square blocks, like the downtown grid pattern,” he says.
Doss says the bureau also considered the view from the east, from the Brooklyn neighborhood to the West Hills. There are limits, though.
“The building heights were capped to protect views of Mount Hood from Terwilliger Parkway,” which was built as a greenway with scenic viewpoints for drivers, bikers and pedestrians, he says.
“Obviously the people farther down the hill were more affected because of the elevation. We can protect public views, but it’s almost impossible to protect private views. It’s a matter of virtual impossibility to do development in that district without affecting someone.”

Planning makes a difference

Doss says that with the buildings going up according to a grand plan, rather than willy-nilly as usually happens, it’s easier to insist on things like views and create a “dynamic district with a light and airy pedestrian environment.”
The Meriwether’s two towers will have 243 condos. Mount Hood views start around the 10th floor, where you can see over the trees on Ross Island. Around half of the owners will have be able to see the mountain — which is a lot more than the number of views the towers will obliterate.
Looking back at the West Hills, the Corbett-Terwilliger and Lair Hill neighborhoods seem small and sparsely populated.
And with the standard line about the $2 billion redevelopment of the South Waterfront, the 3,000 new residences and potential 10,000 new jobs, the concerns of residents of these few homes have little hope of making a difference. (They’ve been tossed a few bones: a pedestrian bridge across the freeway, sunken power lines and a new Ross Island Bridge onramp.)
Mary Guenther and Jim Wallace have lived at the corner of Southwest Corbett Avenue and Curry Street for 25 years. It’s that busy spot where traffic turns to get onto Hood Avenue and then Interstate 5. Every time they step out of their side entrance they glance eastward, where the Meriwether towers now loom large.
“The river’s what I’m going to miss,” Wallace says. “I’ve been looking at Mount Hood for 25 years. Now someone else gets to look at it.”
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  #76  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2006, 9:25 PM
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boo-ho, want to see the mountain, buy a home in the country.
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  #77  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2006, 10:48 PM
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You've got to be kidding me. It's a big city, people are going to have to accept that SOMEDAY.
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  #78  
Old Posted Jan 18, 2006, 12:55 AM
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I find it interesting that the new residents of the condo's can see Mt. Hood if they have a condo on the 10th (or higher) floor. You lose some and you gain some.....this is a growing city for freakin' sake.
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Old Posted Jan 18, 2006, 5:06 AM
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“I had a peekaboo view of Mount Hood if I stood at certain place on tippy-toe,” she says. “That was a whole lot better than that massive building. What I’m really losing is the open sky. That bugs the heck out of me.”

Let's see, if she stood on her tip toes, she could see the mountain, but now b/c of that tower she's *losing open sky*? Give me a break. Whine, whine, whine.
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Old Posted Jan 18, 2006, 3:21 PM
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she makes it sound like the towers are rising right next door to her. I am pretty sure she is not losing that much.
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