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Andrew

So are you saying that Jain was laid off or fired? This is awful news, particularly with Adams and Leonard running roughshod over the principles of sustainable planning and smart, forward-thinking urban design.

Eric Cantona

Andrew: early whisperings point to him walking rather than dealing with the current administration's micro-managing nature.

i voted for Adams. i am now regretting that. the comments and commitments he has shown since taking office have left me feeling cheated. the loss of Jain is yet another example of the dysfunction happening at city hall. i knew he was a pompous, controlling jerk before (Adams, not Jain), but this is getting ridiculous. when we start bleeding off all the truly talented people there, we're going to be left with nothing but sycophants, toeing the line for Adams and his blinkered views of planning and design.

i could care less about his past dalliances, but am now leaning very strongly towards supporting recall efforts.

don't get me started on Leonard...

Aneeda

And wait until people get wind of what a complete disaster the west burnside couplet project has become.

anon

this + w. burnside couplet + memorial coliseum demo... i'm starting to feel nervous for the city of portland.

Steve

If you knew Sam was a pompous, controlling jerk before, then why did you vote for him?

I did not vote for Sam, and my pre-election judgment of Sam has been strengthened and confirmed by the exodus of talent and his dalliances.

Has he made firm plans to establish his “Portland Mayor’s annual trip to Asia in April and to Europe in the Fall 2009"? There better be some tangible benefit from these junkets.

Aneeda

So what did Arun say in his presentation?

Insider

I hope that Brian and readers of this blog are tracking the proposed full consolidation of all City permitting, including land use review, under the Bureau of Development Services (under the watchful eye of Randy Leonard, natch). See the Mercury's recent article for more information: http://blogtown.portlandmercury.com/BlogtownPDX/archives/2009/04/07/power-grableonard-fights-for-permitting-control#more

Focusing on a big picture planning effort is infinitely more sexy than the nitty-gritty of who-permits-what-and-how, but the citizens of Portland (as well as designers) need to realize this could have a huge impact on the fabric of this city, and the ease by which developers are allowed to navigate through the system.

Full disclosure: I am a City employee who may be affected by this consolidation (no more detail than that will be given). So you may say I'm biased, but I say that's true of most arguments, generally speaking, and often the "insiders" are more informed than most. If you are reading this and are on the fence about whether full consolidation is reasonable, I ask you this: will it ever make sense for a BDS employee to review and approve the water/sewer/transportation pieces of development proposals? I say the answer is emphatically "NO" because that technical expertise - despite all attempts at top-down organizational changes - will always reside in the bureau that actually OWNS that expertise. No organizational shift could possibly change that, especially when BDS is separated from the other bureaus by half a mile. Simply moving reviewers from one bureau to another may seem like a good short-term answer, but what happens when those staff inevitably leave (possibly soon, as many do not want to work in Randy's bureau)? There are major cost implications for training, but more than that, it simply doesn't make sense from an organizational standpoint. If this proposal is intended to solve a problem, a SPECIFIC problem statement should be presented - not generalities.

I realize my position may not find many friends on this blog, considering that many readers are also permit/land use applicants who, in order to do their jobs well, must find the most expeditious way through the City's system. I can sympathize with that, but you must realize that I too, like you, came to my job with certain expectations and ideals (in both a personal and civic sense), and catering to developers' sense of entitlement is not what I had in mind. I am a life-long Portlander (which I say hesitantly because I find it annoying how often that phrase is used, particularly in recent City Council debates about neon), and I firmly believe that pushing this consolidation through is not in the best interest of Portland, no matter your professional affiliation. I want to appeal to everyone in the development and design community: RANDY LEONARD'S PROPOSAL WILL NOT BE GOOD FOR US AS A CITY IN THE LONG RUN. Thank you.

Common Sense

I agree with the Insider, except I do not think that architects, "in order to do their jobs well, must find the most expeditious way through the City's system." It is important for architecture to truly reflect the interests of the community at large, not just the interests of the developer, and that may be a slow process.

The old adage is "hast makes waste," and being careful with the course development is obviously a very green notion because, in the end, the city develops in a more useful robust manner.

I feel we need more public process, so we don't end up do things like, renovating a stadium one year, then demolish it a few years later.

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