Over at the Statesman Journal, writer Tracy Loew did a commendable job in describing the almost Portlandian relationship between politicians and well-connected developers, which nurtures a tendency for said politicians to funnel taxpayer money to "public/private" development deals; often in the absence of any exercise of due diligence. The paper needs a new headline writer, however, as it trivializes a solid report by framing a question: When politicians gamble on developers with taxpayer money, who ends up paying?
That's self-evident - we do.
Starting with the Keizer Station mall debacle, Loew traces the history of the developer's shady dealings and financial missteps, and the complicity of local politicians and agencies in shepherding the deals along.
Back in 2000, when the city signed the development agreement with Sides, some city councilors and community members questioned going forward without evidence that he could finance the project.
Before the vote, city manager Chris Eppley told the council that Sides’ development company had provided the city with financial statements to demonstrate its ability to finance the project.
City officials were unable to provide copies of those statements to the newspaper. They refuse to discuss the situation, declining even to explain how repayment of the bond was allocated among properties comprising the shopping center.
Sides did not respond to requests for an interview in connection with this story.
You know you're onto something when nobody's talking.