State News


If It’s “Green” It Must Be Good


<<< The High Cost of Liberalism >>>

… Larry Huss in the Oregon Catalyst — June 11, 2014 …

The high cost of liberalism continues to increase. Tuesday mornings Oregonian reported on another “green energy” fantasy slipping into failure at considerable cost to taxpayers. An article by Molly Young stated:

“Portland’s SoloPower Systems has missed another monthly payment on a $10 million public loan that’s been in arrears since February.  A state Energy Department spokesperson confirmed Monday the agency had not received $119,000, as required, for June.  SoloPower had some cash — it wired $124,950 to the state in late May — but is now behind by a total of $238,000.  State officials in charge of the loan have said they are hopeful SoloPower will soon bring the loan current. Company executives, though, have declined to comment on financials. “SoloPower’s North Portland plant has been dark for a year. It received millions of dollars in state and local tax breaks and subsidies to start up.  Yet it closed in mid-2013, months after turning on its first production line.  Documents show executives sought upwards of $50 million to turn the factory back on…

But Oregon’s liberals, particularly those in Portland, remain undeterred. Dirk VanderHart reported in Monday’s Portland Mercury:

“Remember in November, when the Portland Bureau of Transportation applied for $2 million in state lottery funds to help pay for a theoretical expansion of the city’s theoretical bike share system? The application included a bold claim, which has since proven objectively false: That Portland had already found roughly $5.5 million in sponsorships to purchase a system and run it for five years…

Add to that the recent report by KATU:

“After years of work and millions of dollars [$3.2 Million] spent, an expensive wave energy project proposed off the Oregon coast is dead, leaving a never deployed taxpayer funded and large wave-energy buoy stranded on shore with an uncertain future. “While millions of dollars of taxpayer money was spent, it could have been a lot worse. The U.S. Department of Energy put the brakes on the project after it determined the project would not happen as planned.”

And Oregon’s famed CoverOregon failure. What was once trumpeted by Gov. John Kitzhaber as a model for the nation, Oregon’s “healthcare exchange” was abandoned without ever signing up a single person. Over $250 Million was wasted with the only visible results being a series of television jingles that proved fodder for talk show hosts, comedians and serious minded opponents of Obamacare alike. So bad was the failure that the federal government has launched a criminal investigation and Gov. Kitzhaber now wants to sue Oracle Systems to recover $130 Million spent on developing the failed online website…

Then there is the failed solar farm south of Bend. In December of 2013, the Oregonian’s Ted Sickinger reported:

“Before he showed up in south-central Oregon, Alfred Fairbanks had never tried to build a solar farm. Yet when the Pullman, Wash., dentist told state officials in 2009 that his company planned to build the state’s largest solar array in the desert southeast of Bend, they welcomed him with open arms and the promise of a massive subsidy from taxpayers. According to his application with the Oregon Department of Energy, Fairbanks planned to carpet his 160-acre plot of sagebrush with solar panels. The $50 million array, he said, would include 133,000 panels capable of generating 6.7 megawatts of power. All this outside Christmas Valley, a hardscrabble community of alfalfa farmers and ranchers in an area so remote it’s known as the Oregon Outback. Energy Department analysts approved his paperwork, promising Fairbanks a $10 million tax credit if his company, Energetics, built the project within three years. He never did.

And the list goes on and on:

  • Portland’s infamous “urban outhouse” which was to be the “model” for modern metropolitan areas developed by the City of Portland but never sold a unit.
  • Portland’s failed water department billing system that was to be the model for other Northwest communities and resulted in losing thousands of customer’s usage data – abandoned in its entirety.
  • The famed Certificate of Initial Mastery and Certificate of Advanced Master (CIM/CAM) that was to serve as a national model for measuring academic achievement in public schools. Abandoned after nearly fifteen years and $500 million in waste annually.
  • The Columbia River Crossing. The failed attempt to replace the aging interstate span across the Columbia River between Portland and Vancouver which has languished for over a dozen years and a cost of $185 Million solely because Portland insists on its priority being light rail rather than auto traffic.

Oregon is dominated by the Democrat Party (it holds every statewide elected office and all but one of the Congressional seats) which in turn is dominated by Portland’s uber liberal faction (Portland voted nearly 80 percent for Barack Obama in the last election and has provided the margin of victory for every Democrat governor in the past three decades.)

One wonders where Oregon might be today if Oregon’s liberals had focused on the real problems of Oregon – high unemployment, deteriorating roads and infrastructure, declining academic achievement in the public schools, and an ailing economy drifting towards tourism and away from production. In Portland those who vote do not necessarily pay for the waste. And increasingly in Oregon, the same can be said to be true.


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