Exhibit 2: The Polk St. Garage (42)

(42nd in a series of posts on parking)

Speaking of the Polk St. Garage.

Mark it Exhibit 2.

Gadfly tries to pay attention. But is confused about the exact status of this major project.

If there is to be a Polk St. Garage, it will cost a bundle.

Revenue from meter rates and fines is BPA’s oxygen. Not enough revenue, no Polk St.

Here’s what the June 15 Desman report says about Polk St.: “This plan could include a new parking structure, which has been discussed in the past for the corner of E. 3rd Street and Polk Street, or a formalized agreement with the Sands Corporation to ensure that the SteelStacks parking lots will remain available for public parking in the long-term” (70).

Two things to note:

1) Polk St is described nonchalantly as in potentis. Well, I just made up that Latin phrase. Let’s say Polk St. is described as a potentiality. And that discussion of it is not happening now.

2) The SteelStacks lots seem to be described as an option to building a garage. Whether there would be a cost to securing those lots is not clear.

In either case, why would funding for a Polk garage be included now?

But, contrary to that statement in the June 6 Desman report, it seems the garage is being discussed now and indeed may be definite. Plans seem much more advanced than the above statement would indicate. The April and May BPA Board minutes show what look like active preliminary phases under way.

But most, most, most important it seems to Gadfly – the question ever asked and never answered – the question that always hangs hauntingly in the air — is the Polk St site in the CBD area (if that’s what it’s called)? Looking at the map in the Desman report itself, it isn’t. Is this of no concern? Then tell us. What Gadfly has heard is that if it isn’t in the CBD, the City is not responsible for providing parking. I don’t know. Might be that a simple answer is all that is needed to clarify. Might be that processes are under way to waive the requirement or to expand the CBD boundary across the street. I don’t know. Just tell us. But if there is a possibility that a developer will have to pay for a garage or that there will be a legal snarl that might delay a garage for a period of time, even years, why should we start collecting money for its construction now?

Why can’t BPA just answer that question? is the Polk St site in the CBD area? You can see  below a video of that topic put directly to BPA/Desman at the Sept 20 meeting (approx. min. 5:30-6:30). To Gadfly’s thinking, it would have been easy for BPA/Desman to give an answer then or to say something like I’ll call you and we’ll arrange to talk about that privately. Something. Courtesy. Nothing.

That kind of willful silence can be infuriating. And Gadfly is not sure why it is necessary.

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