The Sentence that Unmasks the Tram
OHSU President Kohler has written a letter to his “colleagues”, business people impacted by the tram. As usual, the whole thing is posted on Jack Bog’s stellar site where his loyal group of fans – of which I am one – will pour over it and respond during the course of the day.
Buried in the letter is the crux of the tram sales job – an illogical leap much greater than from Pill Hill to the river. It’s in the simple sounding sentence, “We need space to expand either in Portland or on our own West Campus in Hillsboro.”
Why is that so damning? Because we have been told that without the speed of the connection between OHSU’s main home and the waterfront, the expansion there would not be possible. It is a vital linchpin, remember? Why then would Hillsboro be mentioned as a possible site at all?
Would OHSU be forced to move entirely to Hillsboro so they could be within the magic 200 second window for getting between the two campuses?
200 seconds was the figure one of the presenters at the recent tram meeting pulled out to illustrate the savings in time it would take for him to get from the new site to OHSU. Apparently it takes him 15 minutes on surface roads to do it. You can argue about those numbers but you couldn't get from Pill Hill to Hillsboro in less than 15 minutes unless you had a helicopter. The fact that it was a possible site for the expansion means the vital linchpin angle of the tram is a P.R. snow job.
This is what I believe really happened: You know when you’re dealing for a new car, and you try to get them to throw in the fancy hubcaps?
The tram is the fancy hubcaps. It’s the neat, gimmicky, slick extra that will make this project that much more exciting for OHSU. But if they could have expanded in Hillsboro, they didn’t need to get anywhere in 200 seconds, and the entire tram sales job has been unmasked for what it is: A load of B.S.