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Something Very Wrong With This Picture: Juniper Ridge plan doesn't pass smell test

While our fine City continues to paste yellow "smiley faces" over a myriad of problems at Juniper Ridge, The Bulletin provides front page coverage for

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While our fine City continues to paste yellow "smiley faces" over a myriad of problems at Juniper Ridge, The Bulletin provides front page coverage for a miniscule 10 employee (no new job) candidate for property there. Taxpayers should start asking penetrating questions regarding how much this will cost after the shellacking we took from Les Schwab along with the following:

1. State of the Union at JR

Preface: Last December Jim Clinton said, and I quote, that "as time goes on, all of these forces have come to bear which will likely lead to a dumbed-down mediocre project. I keep wondering if the mess we're in now was foreseeable, and I guess for me it wasn't." Moreover, developers across CO are scrambling for sidelines, mothballing projects, reneging on deals, and filing for bankruptcy in this ugly market.

Question: Given the sincerity of Jim's assessment, the myriad of problems that JR has encountered, and a bleak economic outlook, why are we pouring millions into this black hole?
2. Profitability

Preface: Financial success at JR would have required superlative management and flawless execution from inception. Instead, we got Juniper Ridge Parters. The 1st tenant should have been a hi-tech research firm on a profitable basis. Instead we got Schwab at the cost of millions.

Question: In a best case situation, we're looking at 1-2 years of mounting debt with no revenue. How can the council justify status quo and business as usual?

3. Central Oregon State U

Preface: 4 outlying Universities are floundering in a sea of mediocrity, broke, with combined enrollment of 12,000 - enough for 1 school. COCC recently announced plans for new medical & technical Centers.

Question: How could the State possibly add a 5th institution to a system that is mired in excess capacity

4. Employment at JR

Preface: Schwab cost millions, but created no new jobs. Pepsi is incompatible with a research park, & won't create new jobs either. JR has not created any new jobs while amassing millions in debt.

Question: When will the council draw a line in the sand on this issue?

5. Consultants and more Consultants

Question: Beyond Garzini and the trio of education gurus, how many consultants are retained at JR, what are the terms of engagement, and how will the Council pay for them with no revenue stream?

6. Sources and Uses of Funds

Preface: The Budget Committee recently approved $406,000.00 it doesn't have for police and fire stating that repayment could come from land sales at Juniper Ridge instead of retiring debt.

Question: How can this type of misappropriation be possible?

7. Master Plan / Strategic Plan

Question: Has the Council drafted a formal strategic/fiscal plan to direct tactical activity and investment at JR? Does it contain contingent strategies and exit strategies? What specific performance measurement tools does the Council utilize to monitor budgets, progress, and net expense at JR?

8. Roadblock at Cooley/97

Preface: ODOT has projected 10 years for a N. side traffic fix, a trip tax won't work with no tenants, and an interim fix at Cooley will take 2-3 years at best if Santa shows up with money.

Question: How can the Council hope to compromise with ODOT on Limited development without letting Wal-Mart proceed 1st?

9. Mythical Hi-Techs

Question: How can the Council pursue tenants for 50 buildable acres that could be controlled by JRP if they exercise their option and taunt us again?

Conclusions:

Strategic and tactical lynchpins at Juniper Ridge comprise a giant myth designed to confuse taxpayers while massive debts accumulate to a point where the city can't reverse course.

One senior City Official told me that no private developer would touch Juniper Ridge. Does the City believe that they are smarter and more capable than free market forces at work?We know better!

Scott R. Siewert, Bend

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