Earlier this week, a notice in the Business Tribune reported that the Portland Public Schools (PPS) have already drafted findings for what they call “an exemption from the Competitive Bidding Requirement for the following work: District-wide Fixture and Partial Pipe Replacement”. This language refers to the poster child for the PPS bond measure: fixing the lead problem PPS concealed for years.
By seeking an exemption from the ordinary competitive bidding requirements, which are set forth in comprehensive regulations, PPS can utilize what they call "alternative contracting methods"--meaning something other putting out specifications for what PPS wants to buy and selecting the low bid. Competitive bidding procedures are, of course, designed to protect taxpayers from noncompetitive contract awards with higher costs.
“Portlanders ought to be sick and tired of Democratic administrations that turn every public project in Oregon they can into a device to make their friends rich,” said James Buchal, Chair of the Multnomah County Republican Party. “Those who have not already cast their ballot—due May 16th—on PPS’ request to borrow $790 million may want to seriously consider whether PPS can be trusted to spend this money wisely. This week’s public notice is a powerful warning sign that they cannot.”