Archive for January, 2007

The Clock Strikes Twelve

And apparently everyone downtown goes to eat lunch. It’s kind of making me laugh. I know, I know – I’ve only been downtown a short while now… but seriously!

I go into work pretty early in the morning, so I usually head to lunch between 11 and 11:30 – and I walk into cafes, restaurants and the like with maybe one or two people in line ahead of me. And if I stay and eat there – the minute the clock strikes 12 – the line is out the door and all the tables are full. Not that I’m complaining mind you – I’m in and out in a flash – but what I don’t understand is why the others (who almost guaranteed have been doing this longer than I have) don’t go earlier or later and avoid, or help disperse the noon time rush.

Are there really that many people who’s job requires them to leave at noon – or are there just that many people who are like my in-laws and must eat at super at noon and dinner at 5 or they’re just all discombobulated?

Spotted in NW


Originally uploaded by PAgent

Someone has learned, alas too late, that Good Samaritan does not offer long-term parking in their parking structures.

Scholls (sounds like “schools”) or Scholls (sounds like Dr.)?

I swear to god I’ll never write about this restaurant again– unless I can actually ever get a chance to eat there (two aborted attempts this week) — but as I’ve heard it both ways, and definitively, from multiple sources recently, somebody give me the full downlow:

So Apizza Scholls: I know that it started as Scholls Public House and that there’s a Scholls, Oregon which was named after some dude named Peter Scholl, so I’m assuming we go with the soft “ch” sound rather than a hard “kk” sound, but in Oregon, you seemingly never know. I’m still having a hard time with Couch being pronounced “cooch”– it’s just so dirty, people.

And I’m sure if I had seen it on the TV, my question would be answered, but you probably know how that turned out

Intern or no Intern?

If you are interested in playing Survivor: City Hall, and you are a high school or college student, you can apply for an internship at the City. All the offices are listed here.

It looks like Mayor Potter’s office is recruiting now (the deadline is 2/5), most of the others accept applications year-round except Fire and Rescue, they don’t even know yet if they will have funding for interns. So go check them out and get involved! Now’s your chance! It’s easy and it doesn’t hurt at all. Then when you complain at least you may have expended some effort towards being involved in the process.

Charter Review And You

I know this might be hard to sit through but pay attention just for a minute, it will all be over soon. (:

As a city, Portland has a City Charter which defines our system of government as a Commission style of government. There is another (and more common for larger cities) system of city government, the “Strong Mayor” form. Portland was defined as a “Commission” form of government. Here’s how it’s set up. Well recently we had it reviewed, and if changes are made to the charter it could redefine our city government at the most fundamental of levels. According to B!x, it is one of the most important decisions the City’s residents can face.

Here’s the deal: the Charter Review Commission (who has a blog) suggests revising the current government body we have; we’d replace it with a “strong mayor” system. We’re one of the last “commission” style governments in a large city in the US, so this could be viewed as an update to our system. It is a VERY big deal even if you don’t know it yet; just go Google it and see how much discussion Strong Mayor and Charter Reform have gotten all over the country.

The One True B!x, of Portland Communique fame (among other things) has put (back) up his Portland’s Future Charter blog about the Charter Review. He has Chris Smith of Portland Transport and (former City Council Candidate) Amanda Fritz on the list of contributors, and it’s a pretty interesting read.

Another good place for Charter Review news has been Blogtown PDX, with Scott Moore of the Merc making some suggestions of his own, (which got a reply from Randy Leonard). They do a decent job covering all manner of city government, so there’s a decent amount of stuff there about the Charter Review situation.

Currently the situation is this: Sam wants to send this to the ballot in May. So? Well, it’s an off year election, for one thing-so putting this fundamental redesign on the ballot in a few months means that instead of “letting the people decide” on charter reform, it will really be “a few people who never miss an election and not really a representative sample of people in Portland at all” who decide the fate of the City. Here’s voter turnout historically to give you some idea of what kind of numbers we’re talking about. Randy Leonard doesn’t think it’s so hot either.

Don’t worry if you have gotten this far and been confused. It’s even giving Amanda herself a headache! But it is definitely something to be aware of, and I’ll follow it for the spectacle if nothing else. We’re on the verge of redesigning an entire government, and it isn’t like you can just start over if it doesn’t come out how you want it to.

Bubba Coming to Bridgetown

All you left-leaning fans of former President Bill Clinton will get a chance to hear him speak in Portland. The World Affairs Council of Oregon is sponsoring an international speaker series in April, with four featured speakers: President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Green Ambassado to the Beijing Olympics Sheri Liao, Former President Clinton, and a Mystery High-Ranking Middle East Diplomat. Mr. Clinton is scheduled to speak on April 17th.

If you are interested in broadening your perspective with respect to international matters, or if you just want to reminisce about a time when we had a president that could pronounce ‘nuclear’, you can purchase tickets here.

Tale of Two Customer Service Departments

This weekend I had the good fortune of having to call my bank as a follow-up to a bank charge I got a while back (and got plenty of helpful responses regarding other people’s banks and credit unions from readers, so thank you). This time it was due to the fact that they’re offering new customers the same account I have but with no fees as long as you use online bill pay, whereas for my account, it requires direct deposit to avoid fees. So I figured, naively, “hey, if they’re offering new customers this feature with no fees, surely they’ll give me, a longtime customer that they supposedly want to keep, the same deal they’re offering to a new, potentially crappy, customer.”

But of course, their answer was “that’s for new customers only.” Why is it — and this is a mostly rhetorical question, of course — that only new customers are given the good deals and the sweet enhancements? If I had the time and energy, I could switch back and forth between cable and DSL internet, cable and satellite TV, banks, phone service, etc, every few months, always chasing the best deal.

But as my bank knows, most people don’t have the time or want to put together the major effort it takes to change your life in that fashion. So they gave me the complete runaround, even after I asked to talk to a supervisor and was talked at like I was a mentally challenged 12-year-old who just didn’t get why they couldn’t/wouldn’t help me. Though they did offer to open a new account for me under the new standards and then close my old account — wiping out all my preset bill pay and deposit information — but really, couldn’t we just pretend we did all that and save everybody a bunch of hassle and time and just push the button to make the new standards apply to my old account? I tried to use this tact on the phone and, predictably, failed in a spectacular manner. However, the one thing I did get out of my annoying conversation was an inadvertent explanation of a workaround to avoid the fees that I didn’t realize was applicable. So suck it, banky! No more fees for you.

Portland’s Professional Media, Part 3

Pick a Lane, Any Lane
Originally uploaded by ahockley.

The screenshot at the right was taken from the Oregonian’s news update site – this story is about a man who was hit by a car.

As you can see from the underlined words, apparently they couldn’t figure out where the accident occurred. I checked the source press release and it didn’t contain this typo (that wouldn’t excuse the problem, but would at least make it obviously a copy/paste issue).

I have to wonder if anyone proofreads the news over at the O…

Trillium Charter School – bad neighbor

Trillium garbage

Originally uploaded by dieselboi.

Today, while walking down N. Interstate too and from New Seasons, I eyed changes at the the old Interstate Rental location on N. Interstate and Killingsworth. Trillium Charter School has taken over the location. While I’m glad to see someone is reusing an empty space, I was frustrated to see the workers who were replacing the sign just littering all over the sidewalk with the remains of the original sign. Here is the letter I have sent to the info email at the school:

I am writing to express my frustration regarding the left over refuse in front of the N. Interstate school today. On Saturday afternoon, January 27, 2007, at around 3:30pm, I was walking by your facility when I saw workers replacing the sign out front. The workers were removing the old Interstate Rentals decal with what appeared to be window scrapers. Instead of putting the discarded scrapings in a garbage bag or the like, they were dropping them freely. With the wind today, the whole sidewalk was littered with scraps of the previous sign.
As part of this neighborhood, I ask you to be good neighbors and clean up after you have made changes to the school. I am disappointed that you chose workers who were so careless with their work that now the whole neighborhood has to clean up after you.

I feel it is not very neighborly to litter so egregiously. It is too late to clean up the trash. Most of it was small and already blowing down the street for others to clean up. I hope my letter will in some way influence the school to do something for the community to make up for its bad neighborlynessisms.
A photo of the trash after the jump.

What IS that bright yellow thing in the sky?

I have to admit, I am really enjoying the clear skies we’ve been having lately, after the rain and fog and snow this winter. It feels like I just can’t absorb enough of the light.

Last night, instead of any of my usual commute routes out of downtown, I took a more leisurely drive on Terwilliger Blvd. The sun was just setting, and Mt. Hood was glowing a brilliant pink against a cloudless sky. The bare trees along Terwilliger let me appreciate a spectacular view of the entire Portland area. Coming down the long hill on Vermont, west of Hillsdale, I could enjoy the pinks and oranges of the western sky. What a way to end the week.

This morning, I see another beautiful blue cloudless sky, and I’m determined to get my family out to enjoy it. Maybe we’ll go to the Zoo. Maybe we’ll head up to the Gorge and check out some waterfalls. I don’t know.

How are YOU going to enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend?

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