Head West, Turn Right

The Joint Blog of the Conservative Northwest Blogging Alliance: Red State Points of View from a Blue State Point on the Compass.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Is This In Spokane's Future?

A recent story in the Portland Tribune (here) has really got some people thinking about Portland's "smart growth," planning. Central to the entire SG scheme is of course Light Rail.

Spokane is of course thinking about running some Light Rail lines around town at anywhere from $25 to $50 million dollars per mile. A recent email to a Spokane County Councilman from the Coyote has not been responded to... hmmm....

So for the good citizens of Spokane we here at NWRepublican thought we would share some of the email discussions that the citizens of Portland are having concerning these boondoggles and how they can radically spin out of control. If any of our our readers have any contacts with the Spokane County Commissioners you might want to alert them to the future of Light Rail developmente, being played out right here on this site.

Portland email discussion starts now:

First:
At 11:06 PM 8/14/05 , STEVE wrote:

Why should South Waterfront developers receive any property tax abatements?Trammel Crow and other land owners in South Waterfront have already been handed windfalls for their property.

With the public paying for streets, sewer and water, streetcars, and other infrastructure for the developers and zone changes which doubled building heights, sizes and values, Trammel Crow and the rest have already gotten far more than they deserve. Their prime, river front, high rise development is proving to be just that, as hot early condo sales reveal NO public subsidy was likely needed at all. Let alone a 10 year property tax abatement which will sever a future revenue stream of millions headed towards basic city services.Services which will be provided to this development even without their fair share of property taxes.

From the Portland Tribunehttp://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=31260 ---"DiChiara said that if the council does not approve the abatement, Trammell Crow will have no choice but to change the project to condominiums with no affordable units or sell the property to another developer. “It would stop as rental apartments. Our fallback is to build it as condos or sell it to someone else,” he said."----They already conned the city into providing infrastructure and sweeping zone changes for their development.

Now they threaten insolvency and no ability to provide any affordable housing without the abatement. Why? Because they are confident that line of BS will work. If all it takes to get the 10 year abatement is to throw out a canned threat why not?---"The Portland Development Commission and the Portland Planning Commission have approved the abatement. Council approval is the final step in the program. The abatement would keep approximately $60 million off property tax rolls for 10 years."---Good thing Portland didn't buy PGE or they would be demanding free power too.Steve

Second
Jim Writes: -From: Jim
Here are some ways to look at the proposed Alexan abatement. (See math section below for details)
1. The abatement is enough to totally pay for a penthouse apartment for each “affordable” unit. (See 1 below)
2. The monthly rent for the “affordable” unit is only $0.14, per square foot, less than a penthouse apartment. (See 2 below)
3. The landlord’s actual income per square foot for those “affordable” units is about $6.33 per sq foot, over three times that of a penthouse unit. (See 3 below)
4. For giving up $39,318 in rent, the landlord gets a $1,200,000 abatement.(See 4 below)There is a name for the entity on the other side of this kind of deal: SUCKER!!Portland, the city that works.(Be sure to check my math & reading of the Tribune article)

ThanksJK
---------------- Here is the math -------------
1. Per unit, per month abatement:$60 million off tax rolls x .021 = $1,260,000 in annual taxes abated.$1,260,000 in annual taxes abated ÷ 12 = 105,000 monthly taxes abated.There will be 48 “affordable” units:105,000 monthly taxes abated ÷ 48 units = $2187 per month per unitRent of a penthouse (See Tribune story): “largest of them, 1,150-square-foot penthouse apartments. . . rent for up to $2,200 per month”

2. Per square-foot costs of each type of unit:1,150 sqft Penthouse rents for “up to” $2,200 per month or $2,200 ÷ 1,150 sqft = $1.91 per sqft. 480 sqft “affordable” unit rents for up to $850 per month, or $850 ÷ 480 sqft = $1.77 per sqft.Difference between “affordable” and penthouse: $1.91-$1.77=$0.1422 per sqft.

3. Per square foot income to landlord:Since the abatement is an avoided expense, it is just like income: $850 rental income+$2187 abatement = $3037 per month income attributable to the “affordable” unit. This is $3037 ÷ 480 sqft = $6.33 per sqft -- over three times the income per square foot ($1.91, above) that a penthouse unit produces.

4. Lost rental income due to the “affordable” units:It appears that they are giving up about $.1422 per sq ft (see 2 above)48 units x 480 sqft x $.1422 per sqft = $3276 per month for ALL 48 units.Annually: $3276 x 12 = $39,318

Finally
RAS writes:

This is not supposed to make fiscal sense -- but rather isn't this how they keep the Portland Democrat machinery well oiled and purring along even without rapist Neil Goldschmidt at the helm? What is amusing lately is that the rest of the state appears to be finally catching on to what Portland is up to and is now denying them the extra taxes they need to provide this generous tax abatement largess to their "supporters." Having seen how upset the Demos were that their attempt to hijack and extend an expiring tax on bonds was thwarted by the Republican House, it will be interesting to see how they attempt to extend the huge "temporary" Multnomah County income tax which is scheduled to expire next year -- they promised faithfully -- just like they were going to fix the high cost of teacher medical benefits as part of the deal.
So long as PERS hangs over the entire fiscal structure of Oregon there will be this on-going drum beating for more taxes to fund these lavish union giveaway programs. Have the people finally caught on to what is going on? The Portlanders I know say adamately that they have finally had enough and won't be suckered again. We know the companies which have left or don't locate here have finally figured it out -- but ordinary citizens -- how long will they remember that photo in the Oregonian showing the two early-retired teachers sunning themselves poolside in Arizona, living the good life while the rest of us toil here in the rain to provide their means?
ras

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