Friday, September 15, 2006

Pressure Mounts on OHSU and Developers to Join Sam Adams in Tram Safety Test

Did you ever make a suggestion for the fun of it, only to see it get taken seriously? When it was revealed that the emergency evacuation procedure from the tram was a 175-ft descent down a rope, the Portland Freelancer called for a demonstration by our city council. After all, it was their baby, so why not show us how safe it really is? Especially since the Roosevelt Island Tram has another car that goes to the stranded tram gondola and rescues the passengers, as shown below in an actual emergency rescue last year.

Well, Tribune columnist Phil Stanford ran with the idea - citing my blog in the original column - and now Phil reports in today's column that Sam Adams is going to make the perilous descent in November. I want to make this clear: The official position of the Portland Freelancer is "Sam, don't do it! I was only joking!" I would never ask fellow human beings to risk their lives on a daredevil stunt like this. It might be the official plan and all that, but to me it seems like the latest spectacle involving David Blaine. By November, it could even resemble the magician's block-of-ice trick. Here's a picture of Sam working out with other council members as he prepares for the big day.

If Sam pulls this off, he could either wind up as Portland's mayor or at least get an offer from the Ringling Brothers circus. But now this situation has really gotten out of hand. (Sorry, wrong phrase for when you're clutching a rope.) The good citizens of Portland are demanding more as shown below.

Now they want someone from OHSU and the developers to join in. This is a city-business partnership, isn't it? These other partners aren't the types who would leave Sam and the city out there twisting in the wind, are they? The developers are currently submitting bids to get out of it, but the OHSU choice is clear. Since, it's way too soon to ask the new president to join in, the obvious pick is Public Relations Spokesperson Lora Cuykendall. She's the one who has assured Portland every step of the way what a marvelous idea this tram is. She should join the Commissioner on behalf of OHSU in proving to Portland that this plan is a winner. In fact, an artist depiction has already been produced of how it will look when Lora exits the tram car and begins down the rope.

Good luck, Lora, and be careful of that first step! It's a doozy!

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