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Adams packs Council agenda

Several controversial items part of Mayor Sam Adams' final wish list


The City Council is facing an agenda crowded with big-ticket items this week, some of them controversial.

They include new parking programs in Northwest Portland and Washington Park, a $31.5 million plan to renovate the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, and the issuance of up to $5.4 million in bonds to complete the Portland Streetcar loop over the new Willamette River transit bridge.

Several items are part of the ambitious wish list that Mayor Sam Adams hopes to accomplish before leaving office at the end of the year.

Major items to be considered Wednesday and Thursday include:

• Creating a parking program in Northwest Portland that includes the installation of parking meetings and the issuing of parking permits for residents. Many residents support the plan because parking is frequently hard to find in Northwest Portland. Many business oppose it, however, fearing that the meters will discourage customers. The council has struggled with the issuing for many years.

• Increasing the number of paid parking spaces in Washington Park, the 160-acre area that includes the Oregon Zoo, Hoyt Arboretum, Portland Children's Museum, Portland Japanese Garden and World Forestry Center. The revenue raised by the meters would be spent in the park. The plan is opposed by some area residents.

• Approving $31.5 million deal to renovate the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in partnership with the Portland Winterhawks, its anchor tenant. Under the terms of the deal, the Portland Development Commission would contribute $21.5 million to the project, including a $4.4 million loan that would be repaid over 20 years from parking revenues and a city charge on tickets generated at events. The hockey team would contribute $10 million.

The project would update the aging spectator facility by replacing the heating and ventilation system, plumbing, and installing new restaurants and other amenities. The Winterhawks would replace the ice playing surface used for their games.

Adams developed the project after abandoning an earlier plan to replace the coliseum with a minor league baseball stadium for the Portland Beavers, which subsequently left town.

• Authorizing the issuance of up to $5.4 million in revenue bonds to finish funding the Close the Loop project that will connect the westside and eastside Portland Streetcar lines over the new transit bridge being built across the Willamette River. Improvements to be financed include: automatic train stop vehicle safety upgrades, the Stephens Turnback connecting the southernmost streetcar track on Southeast Martin Luther King Je. Boulevard. to the track on Southeast Grand Avenue at Stephens, and connections to the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail bridge. The bonds are to be back by the full faith and credit of the city and are expected to be refinanced with longterm bonds within three years.

• Transfering the development rights for the undeveloped city-owned portions of the Rose Quarter from the Portland Trail Blazers to the Portland Development Commission. The transfer is being proposed after negotiations between Adams and the Trail Blazers fell through. The Trail Blazers had proposed developing an entertainment, retail and office district on the properties to be known as JumpTown. The Trail Blazers never submitted a formal proposal, however, and Adams eventually said he wanted the redevelopment anchored by outdoor and sport apparel companies.

After the transfer, the PDC will develop its own redevelopment proposal that will be considered by incoming Mayor Charlie Hales and the new council.

• Creating the Arts and Education Access Fund within the Office of Management and Finance to implement the $35-per-person city arts and education tax approved by Portland voters at the November General Election. The city is developing the paperwork to begin collecting the money from all income earners who live in households above the poverty level. The money will be split between public schools and arts organizations in the city. The schools will use the money to hire arts and music teachers, while the arts organization must expand their offerings to more people to qualify for the money.

• Approving $3.5 million in downtown urban renewal funds as part of a $40.9 financing plan to preserve 219 units of affordable housing for low-income seniors. The funds will be used to continue rental assistance programs at the Park Tower Apartments and Lexington Arms. The city is partnering with Cedar Sinai Park on the project. Other funding sources include $20.4 million from the Oregon Department of Housing and Community Services, $13 million in bonds purchased by wells Fargo, and a city-approved loan of $2.6 million in federal Community Block Grant funds. The original federal contracts to provide the affordable housing are expiring after 20 years.

The full council agenda can be found online at www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=26997&