"Trust Us" Says Vigilante Francesconi

Without meaningful public consultation or debate the Portland City Council committed $20 million to the Columbia Villa remodel project in June of 2001. It's time to reevaluate a trust busting, back door, illegitimate process and reject the bad public policy inherent in the project. Jim, you should be leading the effort to garner the trust you seek by withdrawing support from the neighborhood destabilizing Columbia Villa ghetto building project and redirecting whatever portion of the $20 million you can to aid the Portland Public Schools.

Not What We Bargained For 12/9/02

In early May 2001 I personally called the offices of Wyden, Smith and Blumenauer and told their staffs about the federal $35 million Hope VI grant application of which they were unaware. I asked them to work together in support of the project.

Today, December 9, 2002 I ask you to come and talk to me within the next 60 days so that I can demonstrate why it’s time to write another letter to HUD. However, this time the request will be to take the money back because it clearly is going to do more harm than good.

Changing the RATIOS of low, lower and lowest HAP clients at Columbia Villa does NOT qualify as a mixed income community 12/8/02

It is VERY important that a distinction be made between what HAP considers a "mixed-income" neighborhood and what the rest of us would consider an economically integrated community.

Architect says, "Not In My Backyard - Thank You" 12/2/02

Portland AIA Architect, Kenneth Hattan of Hamblin Hattan Architects* believes that compliance with architectural ethics is determined by the heart and that low-income public housing clients should be kept in their place.

The Ethics of Architecture 11/25/02

The architectural firms of Robertson Merryman Barnes* (Portland) and Mithun** (Seattle) have just been awarded a contract to design the next generation of Oregon's largest low-income housing ghetto.

An Honest Appraisal Or Rubber Stamp? 11/13/02

Members of the Portland Planning Commission:
Sometime during March 2003 you will be evaluating the first of several requests for a subdivision, type III review or street vacation related to the Housing Authority of Portland 's $200 million Columbia Villa remodel project. Because this is such a massive and contentious government building project you will need to take extra care in presenting your opinions. It is essential that your prejudices, preconceived notions, previous commitments and public housing policy preferences all be put on the public table long before you review and pass judgment on the merits or demerits of a project which will have an indelible affect on tens of thousands of lives in a very large section of our city for decades to come.

Francesconi Says It's, "A Done Deal" 11/12/02

Tired after a long day Portland City Commissioner Jim Francesconi let slip to a recent meeting of neighborhood leaders that the $200 million Housing Authority of Portland's Villa remodel was already decided by the Portland City Council. Never mind that the issue will not come before them until the Spring or Summer of 2003. This is an excellent example of what newly elected City Commissioner Randy Leonard calls "city think." In a Portland Tribune article, Leonard slams ‘city think’*, Leonard says, “The decisions are made before the public is asked about them.” Randy Leonard certainly got that right.

HAP Falsified $3.7 Million Multnomah Co. Contribution In Federal Grant Application 10/23/02

On Attachment 28 page 65 of the HOPE VI grant submitted to HUD by the Housing Authority of Portland is a listed financial commitment by Multnomah County of $3,758,500 for a branch library to be sited on HAP's Columbia Villa property. However, today the office of Multnomah County Executive Diane Linn confirmed that Multnomah County has made NO such commitment.

Looking for leverage in the HUD grant submitted June 22, 2001, HAP choose to deliberately misinterpret a letter of support from a single Multnomah County Commissioner into a line item commitment of $3.7 million dollars from the government of Multnomah County apparently hoping that HUD officials wouldn't notice.

Leonard Listens and Learns. You Can Too 10/12/02

Randy Leonard has shown courage in the legislature, on the campaign trail and as a firefighter who has had first hand experience dealing with problems at Columbia Villa. Political courage is always in short supply. I'm going to vote to bring more of it to the Portland City Council.

October 23rd Public Policy Discussion
On October 23rd, 7 PM at the historic Kenton Firehouse there will be an opportunity for every Oregonian interested in the $200 million Villa remodel project to get the real story. As the main speaker I will explain the history, status and consequences of this massive housing project. The Arbor Lodge and Kenton neighborhood associations are jointly sponsoring this event. Neither the Housing Authority of Portland nor its wholly owned subsidiary, The Community Association of Porstmouth, will be participating. This event is for the rest of us. (Call Ronna Seavey at the North Portland Neighborhood Office for directions and details, (503)823-4524). And yes, there will be refreshments.

$200 Million Tail Wags Oregon Public Policy Dog 10/6/02

Until August 26, 2002 none of the contributors to the $200 million Columbia Villa remodel project knew how many Housing Authority of Portland clients were in each neighborhood throughout Multnomah County, HAP's area of responsibility. On August 26 an email, Let The Debates Begin, was sent to a very large constituency of interested parties listing the number of HAP clients by neighborhood in Multnomah County. In addition, a web site was established which published this information, a map and other background information, http://www.goodgrowthnw.org . It is now necessary for every participant to reevaluate their contribution in light of the newly revealed public policy implications.

The HAPhazard Committee 9-9-02

Twenty-six good intentioned but under informed members of HAP's Villa remodel citizens committee will travel down a road for several months advising HAP on what color to paint the new kitchens. What they will NOT be doing is soliciting wide public input from all stake holders in the city of Portland (or Multnomah County for that matter) NOR will they be presenting alternative visions on how to spend $200 million to enhance the quality of life, maintain neighborhood stability and community balance for a large section of the city of Portland. At the committee's second meeting on Sept. 5th it was made abundantly clear by HAP staff that this committee would have no substantial input. HAP has raised the draw bridge and manned the battlements.

HAP's CAC REVIEWed 9/9/02

I was dismayed at the response that Richard Ellmyer received when he got up
to speak at the meeting. Eyes rolled, a few CAC members got up and left,
others spoke out of turn, one lady was actually rude and defensive. I was
appalled that a group of professionals who are there to make incredible
changes to a large portion of North Portland forever, would be allowed to act
in this manner. I have never seen such a display.