A potential measure that would require a countywide vote before committing funds to light rail has Washington County commissioners scrambling to get funding committed before the measure can be passed. This is exactly the behavior that led to two commissioners in Clackamas County being booted from office after voters there realized what had been done to them.
Washington County is hurrying ahead with a commitment to spend money on light rail planning, possibly to blunt the impact of an initiative petition that could limit such spending.
They always claim that these billion-dollar projects will "alleviate congestion" rather than revealing its true purpose: to bring high-density development. They know full well that the latter (although the defining goal) won't sell, so they instead cynically push the former. But who actually benefits? Why, surprise, surprise - it's the same ones every time; members all of the Goldschmidt cabal:
At the center of the so-called light-rail mafia, of course, was the former golden boy of Oregon politics, former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt. Members of the mafia included:
• Bechtel Corp., which received 'a no-bid contract to build an extension of Portland's light-rail line to the city's airport.'
• Tom Walsh, a longtime Goldschmidt friend, who as general manager of TriMet 'handed out millions of dollars in subsidies to high-density, transit-oriented developments, many of which were built by Walsh Construction.'
• Homer Williams, a Goldschmidt client who received hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies for the Pearl District, and later the South Waterfront area.
• The Schnitzer Group and Zidell Marine, owners of a large block of former industrial lands in the South Waterfront District.
• And Oregon Health and Science University, located above the Schnitzer-Zidell land. 'Goldschmidt persuaded the hospital to build an aerial tramway to access offices and clinics in the waterfront development and convinced the Portland City Council to help subsidize this tram, whose initial cost ballooned from Goldschmidt's initial $15 million estimate to $57 million.'
It's worth noting that Tom Walsh - like all members of the Tri-Met board - was appointed by the governor. Moreover, Tom happens to be married to Patty McCaig, who just happened to rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars while working for Dale Evans and Associates in a years-long effort to cram a light rail line into Clark County, Washington over the objections of residents, while at the same time serving as Oregon gov. Retread's top advisor on the project, which was marketed as the "Columbia River Crossing".
What a set of coincidences.