Heres how to jumpstart 2009
With the advent of a New Year, all things seem possible - if ever so briefly. While there's still time to dream, here are some of our hopes and wishes for the year just beginning:
• For TriMet: the opportunity - just once - to prove that it can get people from Point A to B during a snow or ice storm.
• For Mayor-to-be Sam Adams: new, non-controversial revenue sources to fund his ambitious redevelopment plans. Otherwise, we're all going to get awfully tired of hearing about all his ideas that never go anywhere.
• For Multnomah County Chairman Ted Wheeler: same as last year - a way to open the Wapato jail. But first, enough money just to keep the county running.
• For Portland Commissioner Dan Saltzman: no mistakes by any employees of the Portland Police Bureau. Since Saltzman is the first non-mayor to supervise the bureau in decades, he will be second-guessed and face pressure for Adams to take over the bureau if anything goes wrong on Saltzman's watch.
• For Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz: a chance to scuttle an ill-considered city initiative or two.
• For Randy Leonard: a large market for his prototype public toilet. Unless the Leonard Loo makes it into widespread production and distribution, it will always be regarded as little more than a $140,000 lark - and as more public money just flushed away.
• For all Portland-area residents: the realization that when the weather turns nasty, there's a good chance government agencies won't be there to help.
• For Blazermaniacs: the wisdom to get off Greg Oden's back. Give the big kid some time, some space, some whatever he needs. NBA centers, from Wilt Chamberlain to Shaquille O'Neal, weren't built in a day.
• For Portland Public Schools: someone to figure out how finally to earmark the money needed to bring the city's high school sports facilities up to par. Nearly every school needs artificial turf, or a new track, or a new grandstand, or all of the above. Students and communities would get a lot of use out of the upgrades, which have become the norm in other areas of the state.
• For supporters of renaming a city street after Cesar Chavez: strong concensus of support from property owners along the street. Otherwise, hard feelings are going to follow if the City Council chooses any of the three streets now under consideration.
• For the 2009 Oregon Legislature: patience in dealing with all the requests for help from Portland. As the largest city in the state, Portland has a number of unique needs, such as the highest concentration of people needing housing. Sometimes the city's pleas for money and new laws can strike downstate and rural legislators as demanding special treatment - and sometimes they are. But Portland has legitimate needs for help, too.
• For bar and tavern owners: hope that the new smoking ban won't drive away all their customers. Long-suffering employees won't appreciate the benefits of a smoke-free workplace if there's no work.
• For everyone: a quick and robust economic recovery that restores all the lost jobs and investment funds. Since no economist believes this is likely to happen, at least we hope local, state and federal governments work together to help the most vulnerable among us and encourage those who can create jobs to do so.