This is the kind of absurd project that makes me go full Bogdanski. No money for anything that improves livability, but plenty of money to poney up for a LEED uranium certified building that will be front page on every planning journal in the country. Marginal improvements in mental health services don't have their own glossy publications, sadly. If they did, and if our leaders cared about appearing on them, they wouldn't be handing over buckets of cash for this kind of shit.
I can't, for the life of me, figure out why this thing should be built.
Plus, it will be out of date in 10 years and won't be considered a "showcase" of jack squat.
What happens if any of the project's rosy assumptions are wrong? Any and all typical, expected city services which are paid for by the general fund (police, fire, parks, maintenance, etc.) could suffer.

One rosy assumption example? The current commercial vacancy rate in the Portland area is 17 percent; it is very much a renters market and will be for the known future. Despite this, the sustainability center financial plan assumes that space priced nearly twice as much as market rates will fill up..FOR 30 YEARS...this is a ridiculously optimistic assumption.

Any shortcoming in the project ability to fill space at this premium rate, any unexpected operating costs, any unexpected costs associated with BPS's occupy of 32,000 feet in the building, etc., will covered by payments from the City's General Fund.

BTW - the $1.5 million dollar grant mentioned in this post was already assumed in the financial plan issued on Friday. So it has no impact on the financing picture or the city's expected project expense.

"The risks associated with the project, and lingering questions about its finances and the likelihood that Portland's burdened operating budget might have to be tapped for millions of dollars if things go south, are too substantial for the council's usual kumbaya 5-0 fun."

This is a $61 - $65 million project. Why would any Commissioner and his/her staff be willing to take action on this project with the current gaping holes in project information and financial feasibility?

Please folks, contact the Council ASAP and ask them to take this off the agenda:

You have until 9:30am tomorrow. And be sure to cc: the Council clerk so your comments are in the record:
Feels like the Tram all over again.
Build in on an artificial island next to OMSI and extend the Tram over to it. That'll be even cooler than having a streetcar run through it.
I thought this would support innovation, research, and business. I was opposed to the SoWa funding and the tram but I support the Oregon Sustainability Center.

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