Multnomah County Budget Controversies

The Multnomah County budget which is currently being discussed includes some outrageous spending for a courthouse renovation and for bridge retrofits. Wasteful spending on mega projects like $250 million on a courthouse and something like $1 billion bridge retrofits are not good stewardship of the public trust.  The email addresses for each Commissioner are below for communications about the budget. There are also upcoming public meetings at which citizen comment is scheduled. Feel free to use the sample below, or editorialize, them to fit your views. 

In addition to the schedule of upcoming public meetings, PLEASE send an email to each Commissioner: 

[email protected] 
[email protected] 
[email protected] 
[email protected] 
[email protected] 

Upcoming Hearings: 
May 27, 2015, 1:30--2:30 pm, East County Bldg 600 NE 8th in Sharon Kelly Rm, Gresham, OR

June 10, 2015,6-8 pm, Multnomah Bldg 501 SE Clay (Clay and MLK, Bv), Portland. OR 

Sample Email


Dear Commissioner, 

I do not support the highly expensive projects that Multnomah County is considering to eventually stem from the current budgeting plan. Please do not build a $250 million courthouse when we need additional facilities in outlying areas.  Furthermore, I find it hard to believe that Multnomah County bridges would need hundreds of millions in seismic retrofitting, when jurisdictions even in far more active regions, such as the San Francisco Bay area or Los Angeles have not spent those amounts. 

We do not need a $250-350 million county courthouse.  It would be better to use funds for smaller, additional Multnomah County facilities in outlying cities such as Troutdale or Gresham. These would supplement the present east county courthouse on SE Stark Street  (cost: $17 million) and the Juvenile Justice Center in NE Portland. 

I also understand that the County is contemplating seismic upgrades to several Willamette Bridges in downtown Portland. Various figures have been cited, but seem to total approximately $1 billion simply to upgrade five bridges. Previous projects in Portland and in other West Coast cities have been considerably lower, typically under $30 million at the most. Our neighboring city, Seattle, approved a similar plan but the most expensive seismic upgrade to a bridge was $15 million. 

The Portland area in 200 years of history has not suffered any natural disasters, except floods, that have damaged our major infrastructure to any serious extent. In fact the savings on doing more reasonable projects, if any, should be returned back to the taxpayer. I will not support any of these outrageously expensive projects.



(Thanks to Ron Swaren for putting together the bulk of this blog post)

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