[disclaimer - I speak only for myself. I work for an organization that has written a letter of support for the Community Crossroads concept. These are my observations in part fueled from 15 years of community organizing in N/NE Portland.]
This week, the Rose Quarter Advisory Committee, a 22 member group appointed by Mayor Sam Adams, vetted finalists for a major redevelopment of the inner Northeast Portland district. Dozens of proposals were narrowed to 7, and on Tuesday Feb 23 the committee narrowed to 3, with 1 alternate. Despite this being a public process, three things happened that really demonstrate how conservative and disempowering Portland is:
- Secret balloting of the committee in their selection voting. These citizen representatives need to be held accountable like everyone else when our taxpayer funds are at stake. There is no hiding and ducking accountability. The committee itself voted only 17% on the question of whether the Community Crossroads proposal met all the criteria. This is really the truest sign of how disconnected even our citizen leaders are from the community.
- PDC staff member(s) UPDATE: I have now watched the video and it turns out it was a Mayor’s aide(?) publicly criticizing, minimizing and manipulating the process in order to lobby the committee to advance the developer-backed proposals their pet projects. This unethical behavior in my opinion specifically targeted Community Crossroads proposal, generated by a coalition of non-profits, multicultural organizations, and local architects
- In the best contradiction of the night, the non-profit Community Crossroads proposal was criticized for not having enough cash on hand to conduct more in-depth proposal work leading to their failure to advance to the final 3 proposals. The final 3 proposals are all led by private developers/corporations, and were all given funding to conduct their final in-depth proposals. Corporate welfare at its best/worst!
Learn more for yourself at http://www.rqdev.org/