After an audit finds Portland inflated its streetcar stats, a legendary loudmouth suddenly clams up.1:33 PM, Dec 16, 2014 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
Portland, Oregon, city commissioner Steve Novick is nothing if not verbose. Since his 2012 election, he’s used his publicly funded position to rail against DirectTV, driving around to look for a parking space, and–I’m not kidding–sitting in chairs. Rare indeed is the issue that the proudly progressive Commissioner Novick, a lifelong government employee, has yet to declaim upon.
Well, there is one. An audit released last week commissioned by the city of Portland found that public transit authorities have wildly inflated the ridership and on-time statistics for Portland’s streetcar. The Oregonian newspaper (which oddly called the infamously slow and shoddy streetcar service “renowned”) had the details:
The new findings show that estimated ridership hit 4.5 million from July 2013 through June 2014, 1.1 million less than the 5.6 million rides originally reported by Portland Streetcar Inc.
Auditors also found that Portland's claim of on-time service was flat-out wrong.
City goals call for streetcars to arrive on time 98 percent of the time, and officials stated that was happening. But in reality, streetcars arrived on schedule just 82 percent of the time, according to the audit.
Buried at the bottom of the article was this gem. “Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees the Transportation Bureau, declined through an aide to comment on the audit.” (Later in the day, he did tell Oregon Public Radio that “improvements” to the streetcar were under way.) Novick’s city-sponsored blog, meanwhile, has been uncharacteristically silent since the audit was released–there hasn’t been one post since.
One would think that Commissioner Novick, a major devotee of streetcars, would want to weigh in. After all, streetcar projects nationwide are going through tribulations. Arlington, Virginia, for example, just cancelled its planned streetcar, and Cincinnati’s mayor recently said that the budget for streetcar in his city was “cooked.” I’ll grant that Novick is likely very busy fighting the great chair scourge, but he should take the time to defend the slow, expensive, and inconvenient form of “transportation” he has promoted for so long.
Feb 17, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 22 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
While in the popular Portlandia-inspired imagination, Portland, Oregon, may be nothing but an endless array of organic food shops, “fair-trade” coffee roasters, and “subaltern”-themed, not-for-profit bookstores, Portland is still a midsized American city with the typical problems that midsized cities tend to face. Swaths of northeast Portland, for example, where the lion’s share of Portland’s black population lives, have for decades been beset by high crime, joblessness, and out-and-out blight.
Is Jeff Cogen Portland's Weiner or Portland's Ford?1:59 PM, Nov 11, 2013 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
It’s a pity that there’s no Portland, Oregon, edition of the New York Post. After all, one can only dream of the headlines the wags at the Post would come up with to describe the ongoing travails of (now former) Multnomah County (home of Portland) Commissioner Jeff Cogen.
Steve Novick strikes again.4:03 PM, Oct 22, 2013 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
Portland city commissioner (as city councilmen are called in that Oregon city) Steve Novick has never been one to respect the limits of his office - or recognize that it has any limits at all.
'Portland's Weiner' resigns.3:49 PM, Sep 6, 2013 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
Could we be witnessing a revival of moral standards in our politics?
Sep 9, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 01 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
It's not often that The Scrapbook finds itself defending “graffiti artists.” But when they find themselves on the barrel end of silly and borderline extortionate government regulations, we can’t help but feel solidarity.
1:10 PM, Aug 9, 2013 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
Portland city commissioner (as city councilmen are known in the Oregon city) Steve Novick may have been elected only last year, but he’s wasted no time in using his public office to indulge his personal crotchets.
Details of county chief’s sordid affair with subordinate emerge.10:08 AM, Jul 25, 2013 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
Portland is nothing if not tolerant. The picturesque city in the Pacific Northwest has, in recent years, endured one mayor who admitted to a gay affair with an underage intern, a different mayor who claimed residency in Washington state (where there is no income tax) yet voted in Oregon, not to mention downtown streets choked with aggressive transients. (Oh, and the weather's not great either.) But a new scandal must be trying the patience of even the most forgiving denizens of Portlandia.
A Portland, Oregon, city employee is charged with financing terrorism.10:39 AM, Mar 7, 2013 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
It’s good to be a government worker in Portland, Oregon. And not just because of the subsidized sex changes. It seems that city workers’ salaries are also ample enough to support a family and . . . finance a little terrorism on the side.
11:02 AM, May 16, 2012 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
A host of liars, miscreants, and extreme leftists – and those were just the serious candidates! – squared off yesterday in the Portland, Oregon, mayoral election. In total, 23 candidates were on the ballot to see who would run the so-called “Rose City” (or, more appropriately, “Insufferable Portland”).
Oregon city stopping citizens from saving money in tough times.3:40 PM, Apr 26, 2012 • By KELLY JANE TORRANCE
As Ronald Reagan famously quipped, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I'm here to help.’” Portland, Oregon, though, really is here to help. The problem is that the city hasn’t created laws to benefit Portlanders—it’s created them to benefit one specific industry, at the expense of every consumer in the area.
11:30 AM, Feb 28, 2012 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
In this week's issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD I have a long feature on how America's hipster theme park Portland, Oregon, destroyed its infrastructure and jobs base in order to indulge a bizarre obsession with public transportation and other cultural fetishes. Among other things, I noted that the city isn't budgeting for "major road paving" for the next five years.
Oregon’s capital of cool and the downside of hipness.Mar 5, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 24 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
I keep expecting America’s trendsetters to get over Portland, Oregon, but the odes to the City of Roses just keep on coming. The Portland tourism board could compile an impressive anthology of the New York Times’s recent coverage of the city, most of which couldn’t be more fawning if it were bylined by Bambi.
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