Sources Say • Real progress in the Rose Quarter?
In an attempt to be flip last issue, Sources casually asked if anyone still remembers the city's efforts to redevelop the Rose Quarter. Well, it seems progress is being made after all on plans to revitalize the Memorial Coliseum and the lagging area around it.
The Stakeholders Advisory Committee appointed and led by Mayor Sam Adams will receive a progress report on April 12. Among other things, the owners of the Portland Winterhawks are reportedly considering being an equity investor in the renovation of the aging spectator facility
After that, the Rose Quarter District Plan will be presented to the City Council by May 18, the deadline set by Adams some time ago. This should be when the Portland Trail Blazers lay out revised plans for the area. Owner Paul Allen's redevelopment rights there expire on May 24.
David vs. Goliath redux
A loosely organized, unfunded group of citizens is fighting to defeat a finance measure on the May 17 ballot supported by powerful special interest groups. Is that a description of the Portland school parents - called 'Learn Now, Build Later' - who oppose the district's $548 million construction bond? Yes, but it also applies to Clackamas County First, the citizens group opposed to the $5 annual motor vehicle fee to help fund the replacement Sellwood Bridge project.
After referring the fee to the ballot, the group had a mere $538 in the bank as this issue went to press. Supporting the fee increase is Clackamas County Citizens for Jobs and Safety, which has raised more than $25,000 so far. Most of that money has come from unions and engineering firms, some of which may hope to work on the $290 million project.
If the fee is defeated, Clackamas County commissioners will have to come up with another source for their $20 million contribution - or Portland and the other funding partners will have to increase their contributions.
Wanted: School watchdog
Apparently the job of holding Portland Public Schools accountable takes its toll. Last year, Steve Rawley - a North Portland parent and founder of the popular blog, PPS Equity - packed up and moved his family to Beaverton after becoming disenchanted with school politics here.
It wasn't long before Carrie Adams, a Southeast Portland parent and longtime schools activist, filled some of the void with her widely read blog, Cheating in Class. Early this month, Adams announced she's calling the blog quits to start a company that focuses on education advocacy for youth in foster care.
With so many major PPS endeavors on the horizon - two ballot measures and a redesigned high school system about to unroll - Sources guesses it won't be long before the next watchdog steps up to stir the pot and serve as a sounding board for critical dialogue.