Updated September 11, 2012 Published September 11, 2012
Metro has said publicly that a new headquarters hotel at the Oregon Convention Center would get a $10.4 million cash subsidy from the regional government and the City of Portland. But documents show the real subsidy is hidden in the fine print: The developers want another $111 million over 30 years. Under their proposal, the Portland-based Schlesinger Cos. and Mortenson Development of Minneapolis would take the money from increased hotel taxes they say wouldnât exist without the hotel. The developers and Metro are negotiating a final deal.
One of Mayor Sam Adamsâ pet projects, the Oregon Sustainability Center, is back on the tableâthis time with a private tenant. The proposed $62 million building is supposed to be the worldâs tallest without a carbon footprint. But itâs been criticized as a waste of money, and lawmakers last year refused to authorize state bonds to help finance it. But WW has obtained a 10-year lease proposal between the city and Portland-based Interface Engineering, dated Sept. 10, that calls for the company to help design the building, rent about a third of its space, and give it an option to become an owner. The new price tag is about $50 million. Oh, and it has a new name: the Innovation Center.
As WW reported earlier, Gov. John Kitzhaber has renominated Portland lawyer Elisa Dozono for the Oregon Lottery Commission. Three current commissionersâincluding Mary Wheat, a Portland copâare protesting Dozonoâs nomination because her law firm, Miller Nash, represents video lottery retail giant Dottyâs delis. âWe believe these ties could possibly be perceived as special influence for Oregonâs most profitable video poker retailer,â Wheat wrote Kitzhaber on Sept. 5. The governor earlier withdrew Dozonoâs name after others raised the same concerns. The Oregon Senate is set to vote on Dozonoâs nomination Sept. 12. âIâve talked to other commissioners and hope weâll have a chance to work together,â Dozono says.
Budget-slashing newspaper bosses have cost Oregon another valued journalist: Longtime Albany Democrat-Herald editor Hasso Hering has been forced out as a cost-savings move by the paperâs owners, Lee Enterprises. Heringâeditor since 1978 and mentor to many Oregon journalistsâwas famous for his contrarian editorials (which he signed) and his sharp commentary on Oregon Public Broadcastingâs public affairs show Seven Days. âAll Iâve tried to do is comment on the stories I saw in Oregon,â Hering, 68, says, âand give a voice to issues that really mattered.â