In Oregon did Corrupt Cons,
a statewide income grab decree,
To pay for revenue shortfalls that the legislature knew their higher new budget would over run,
With only 3% shouldering new burdens, each expected to cough up a princely sum,
For all the talk of group sacrifice by all those not affected,
Any plan for lasting change paid by all, many a time they have rejected.
Class warfare works wonders to mobilize the base,
But the lost business will be far harder to replace.

As usual did the legislature conspire to make it all a crisis and incite fear,
fail to pass the measures and they ‘d sacrifice health, schools and safety was made quite clear,
and after all it won’t affect any but a few,
and anyone with higher pay could not possibly be making their real due,
so stick it to business and the rich, my friends, what harm could that really do,
it’s not like they can just move away and leave the state to stew,
oh wait, perhaps, since they do have money, that is just exactly what they’ll do...

More than a quarter of our State’s personal tax revenues is what that 3% supplies,
Pretty sure the number of those who move north to Clark County will very likely rise,
And if the state is right about how dire are its finances at the closing of the year,
The impact of losing just a few of 3% will have a grave impact in coming years, I fear,
How much easier it is to retain a thing no matter what the cost,
than to hope for the return of any institutions or people once they have been lost.
And if they leave in droves the result for Oregon will be a financial rout,
gambling that it doesn’t come to pass not something I’m willing to find out.
Real tax reform was possible had our representatives the nerve,
but interest groups and re-election, not the the future of the State, are the real masters that they serve.

The State’s economy may be in free fall and our private pensions in the dirt,
but Oregon’s public employee’s retirements are guaranteed to rise no matter how other Oregonians hurt.
The statewide rolls of the unemployed swell to almost 20%,
leaving in tax revenues, a growing and ragged rent,
but the public pensions are sacrosanct and reining them in is considered crazy talk,
too bad for all those other poor Oregonians ground between that hard place and that rock.

Portland fancies itself a perfect place either to start or move your business,
but with new levees and soaring taxes, I must, my doubts confess.
The list of that which they demand of you and the litany of fees grows longer by the day,
and if you dare to ask what they offer in return they look at you like you should be put away.
Add unstable public schools and crony leadership and I doubt many enterprises will apply,
I suppose we’ll learn how many boutiques, bikes and coffee shops a city sans industry can support before it will die.

Hideous infills proliferate and scar old east-side neighborhoods no matter how those living nearby may grouse,
though mysteriously none seem to appear near the homes of developers or any commissioner's house,
A Owl’s roost would, by the city, be vehemently protected,
but the city’s disdain for human neighborhoods is, by their push for density, well reflected,
Mayor Sam spouts gossamer figures about recovery that make him sound administratively adroit,
but downtown offices sit empty in numbers only surpassed by old Detroit.
And while the city’s finances burn with fading hope for reparations,
our mayor Sam fiddles a tune wondering, whether to offer, to city employees, transgender operations,
So many unable to meet the most basic needs or any medical care,
perhaps the tax money should go first to those unable to cover even the basics which seems so much more fair.
No, more important for the mayor to appear progressive,
than to address the needs of those whose plight each day becomes more oppressive.

Portland Public Schools for 2 years has in secrecy conspired,
to wrap its plans to dump east side schools as something opportunity and equity required,
But the rules and sacrifices don’t apply to those on the west side residing,
the real rationale for these closures still safely kept in hiding,
Arbitrary travel rules conveniently ignored to the west, stacked the deck,
against only east side schools that the district planned to wreck,
but instead of real conversation and hard analysis and just to cover their bases,
they hint that any who opposes their plans clearly must be a racist.
Funny considering the schools slated for destruction are the city’s most diverse,
away from our neighborhoods our kids they wish to disperse.

Could it be instead, that while we agree that every kid’s education should be more than a token,
we fail to see how making that better requires us to fix or destroy what ain’t broken?
Successful schools to be sacrificed on mediocrity’s altar,
The arbitrary changes won’t fix anything but will cause advanced opportunities to falter.
With the stroke of a redistricting pen they can drop the value of homes in stable neighborhoods more than 10%,
and erase what few gains rounds and rounds of emergency bond measures have in past years spent.
They constantly decry how little money they have for any rainy day,
yet always seem to find the cash for all those expensive consultants they wish to pay.
close the gap not the schools seems a simple thing to grasp,
but apparently is beyond any collective wisdom the district has amassed.

Attending meetings where platitudes and generalities are expressed weeks on end by practiced rote.
Is not the same thing as buying in to an actual plan not unveiled until seconds before a school board vote,
But now we learn the real reason that the east side schools are on the block,
The affluent west side school with all the toys needs cash to expand so talk of equity is just a crock,
To the west already wealthy schools will get more,
while students to the east will simply be shown the door,
Portland Public Schools insists that equal opportunity is most important if they have their druthers,
But PPS takes a cue from Orwell cause some are more equal than others.

Just minutes to the north is a State with no income tax at all,
But the notion of living there does not all hearts enthrall,
Need only move across the bridge and live near Fort Vancouver,
But unfortunately the notion none too sweet since its politics have changed little from the time of Herbert Hoover.
The bitter choice is stay the course and swallow Oregon’s offered gall,
or move north to a land without zoning that sprawls like an ’80’s shopping mall.
Seems to work well for folks who choose that lifestyle, for them it offers many perks,
Though I must say I prefer my towns to have a few more oddball quirks,
North of the river appeals to many who prefer life in the burbs,
but some of us prefer urban neighborhoods and having to drive everywhere is something that disturbs,
Keep Portland weird is a rallying cry seen all around the town,
But somebody has to keep things running or else this place in red ink will drown,
A bitter pill it is indeed to contemplate a move,
particularly when such a thing does not your quality of life improve,
but from time to time one must decide that it’s best not to linger long in a place,
that your town can no longer meet your needs is often hard to face,
Much preferred would it be to stay and fight together the State’s problems without complaint,
but the lesson has been learned that in this together, we obviously really ain’t.


mac said...

In rhyme, no less?
Wow, you are the best!

I don't even have a witty remark. I just want to state my awe!

Michael Lockridge said...

What an amazing performance!

Almost as amazing as protesting taxes with a tea party!

I do hope Portland survives these hard times, retains its uniqueness, and is a good place for people well into the future. I lived there two years, and loved the huge little town.

No system seems to work all that well. Good may arise, but shortcomings compel a passion for change, and often change simply begets change.

If we can live indoors when we choose, and eat regularly, most of the rest is gravy.


Pliny-the-in-Between said...

If we can live indoors when we choose, and eat regularly, most of the rest is gravy.

A simple philosophy but a good one!