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March 27th, 2013 12:01 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

Murmurs: The City’s Old Town Plan Goes From Gold to Dust.

murmurs_3921ILLUSTRATION: WW Staff
  • The Grove Hotel, a $3.7 million Portland Development Commission project to revitalize Old Town-Chinatown, is on life support. City emails obtained by WW show David Gold—lead partner in the plan to turn the Grove from a crumbling halfway house into a trendy, Asian-themed youth hostel—rejected the PDC’s terms in January. The PDC agreed to sell the Grove to Gold and his partners for $555,000 (a $3 million subsidy) while providing a $2.64 million loan. However, Gold and his investors—including Ace Hotel owner Alex Calderwood and Wieden+Kennedy advertising executive John Jay—rejected a requirement that they put up $900,000 in loan collateral. Gold tells WW the project is “not currently financially viable” because tenants won’t move in next to the homeless camp Right 2 Dream Too, located at Northwest 4th Avenue and Burnside Street. PDC spokesman Shawn Uhlman remains optimistic about the deal: “It is not dead,” he says.
  • The Portland Police Association, the city’s cops union, says the sale of the city’s police bar left them holding the tab. As Murmurs reported March 13, the similarly named but separate Portland Police Athletic Association sold the building housing the members-only bar earlier this month for $945,000. On March 22, the police union sued, claiming the bar existed for its members’ enjoyment and the union is entitled to a cut. The suit asks a judge to figure out how much the union should get. Union president Daryl Turner declined to comment; a representative of the police athletic association didn’t return WW’s calls.
  • Cyclists, city planners and composters are all breathing easier after Lewis & Clark Law School professor and acerbic blogger Jack Bogdanski announced March 22 he’s retiring his “Bojack” website for at least a year to write a book on tax law. Bogdanski—whose antipathy to government reached new heights this month when he sued the City of Portland over the new arts tax—says he doesn’t know if he’ll return. He took a similar hiatus in 2004, telling The Oregonian he would contemplate whether “to blog or not to blog.” Bojack was back six weeks later.
  • An anti-Columbia River Crossing billboard near the junction of Interstate 5 and Highway 217 appears to have been taken down after WW threatened legal action. The billboard asked “Got Corruption?” and depicted State Treasurer Ted Wheeler and Patricia McCaig, Gov. John Kitzhaber’s adviser on the $3.4 billion freeway, bridge and light-rail project. (McCaig is also paid by the project’s biggest consultant.) WW holds rights to the photos and protested their use to Lindsay Berschauer, whose Leona Consulting arranged for the signs. No word from Berschauer if the billboards will reappear in another form.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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