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Charlie Burr

Read the Gragg piece, but Randy Leonard's response is also a must-read for a more complete picture of where we are.

Personally, I want to see the tram built - and clearly there's been a lot of demagoguing this issue - but not at any cost.


Ditto. I'd like to see it built. At this point, someone and someway they need to dig up the cash and finish what they started. If need be, redo the design, find a better and cheaper way.

Either way, get it done.


I think neutering the design would be nearly as tragic as not finishing the job. It's up to the leaders... get it done or it's a failure of leadership.

Miles Hochstein

I love gee whiz transportation and all... but you have to wonder whether they couldn't just relocate the microsurgery center and anchor the tram cables uphill from the tower more cheaply.

The idea that these issues weren't even considered at the design stage just reeks of incompetence and connivance.

As Gragg says "So who lied? Who messed up? Who do we blame? The truth is, everyone was enjoying a long, local tradition. As historian E. Kimbark McColl once put it, "Portland is always looking for first-class passage on a steerage ticket." "

The problem with pressing ahead now on a project like this is that the good is obvious... a nice shiny tram... but the harm is spread so thinly and widely that it is hardly felt and difficult to mobilize against... incremental tax effects, closed schools, obscure budget tradeoffs, borrowing costs, national reputation.

We have a hard time comparing thin widespread harms with narrow and obvious goods.... and there are plenty of politicians and business people who count on that feature of human nature.

It's so hard to understand where the damage is, and so hard to compare the damage to a nice shiny bubble flying through the sky.

Still the vague sense that the public was set up and is getting the short end of the deal doesn't seem to go away.


Thank goodness for Gragg's article. I really didn't understand what the issues involved were and I try and keep up on these things. The problem with the tram debate is that we've got about five sides in to it at this point (Lair Hill NIMBY's, OHSU, The City, retro/anti-tax grumps (Stanford and Bog) and SOWA developers/land owners) and each side has their own agenda. No one has really explained to the public what the factual reasons for the cost overruns, which should be the starting point for any discourse and lesson's learned.

I do hope the tram gets built and hope the city/developers/OHSU learns some PR and project management lessons. My one question is; with the fact that the top tower is such a first of it's kind engineering feet, is there a chance it could fail or not work within tollerances. That would put a damper on these type of ground breaking projects in Portland for quite some time. I can see the headlines now '$45M Wasted on Nonworking Tram!!!!'.

mike conroy

If you build it, they will come.. right?


This may have been covered before but can anyone explain why the tram is being brought to the face of the OSHU building that houses sensitive programs?
I just don't get it.
It seems like a major design error.
Why couldn't the tram arrive alongside the building and end in a more generous, more public landing that could tie back to rock in a more straight forward way?

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