Seattle & Portland in the Running for 2024 Summer Olympics

by lewwaters

OlympicAs if we don’t have enough trouble in the Northwest with high taxes, pie in the sky dreams of bloated projects taxpayers can ill afford, we now see that the cities of Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon were among 35 cities contacted by the U.S. Olympic Committee to gauge their interest in hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics.

With 35 cities contacted it is far from a done deal by either city, but we all know that both cities operate along narcissistic lines, constantly doing what they can to draw attention to themselves and hiding the seedier sides of the respective cities, no matter the cost to taxpayers.

The Seattle PI is asking whether or not readers would want the 2024 Olympics and as of this posting those in favor are in the lead, labeling it an awesome idea.

The no ways are second by several votes.

In considering whether to vie for hosting the games, several things must be taken into consideration, including how to pay for a stadium and Olympic village. The Seattle PI says “a host city would also need to be able to provide 45,000 hotel rooms, an international airport, an Olympic village for 16,500 athletes and officials, a 5000-person dining hall and a workforce of up to 200,000.”

Along with that the UOC estimates an operating budget likely exceeding $3 Billion not including costs associated with venue construction and other infrastructure which begs the question, where will the funding come from for either city?

Both are currently locked into bloated transportation projects draining or planned to drain an excessive amount of tax dollars.

Both states are looking at increasing gas taxes, car license fees, employer taxes and more just to pay for bridge and light rail projects.

As we have seen all over the world, Olympic Stadiums and Villages cost host cities a lot of taxpayer money and run over budget. A July 23, 2012 Atlantic article, 3 Reasons Why Hosting the Olympics Is a Loser’s Game lays out the problems most often seen, (1) The bidding process is hijacked by private interests; (2) It creates massive over-building; (3) There’s little evidence that it meaningfully increases tourism.

Competition for hosting the games is tight as we witnessed in 2009 when the hopes of Chicago were dashed after Rio de Janeiro was selected, even after the messianic mission of Barack Obama, still reveling in his feigned stardom failed to secure the 2016 games for Chicago.

How much that losing trip cost taxpayers was not released.

Montreal hosted the 1976 Olympics and didn’t pay it off until 30 years later during good economic times and almost left the city bankrupt with its $1.48 billion-price tag.

The 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt lake City, Utah were mired in scandal over bribery in the bidding process with former Massachusetts Governor and failed Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney stepping in to balance their budgets and restore their credibility.

The host city will not be selected for at least two more years and it is unknown whether either Portland or Seattle will make a serious bid for the games in 2024. The Seattle PI poll is not scientific and not an accurate representation of anything other than those signing on to the site and taking it.

But before either city actually thinks too strong about the 2024 Olympics, both need to remember the deep debt they are already incurring for bloated projects today that will surely dry up taxpayer money needed to prepare.

I hope both mayors open their eyes to many past problems associated with the games and concentrate more on the plight of constituents and less on their legacies.

16 Comments to “Seattle & Portland in the Running for 2024 Summer Olympics”

  1. It’s the same kind of arrogance and ability to steal other people’s money that leads to these scams in the first place.

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  2. So this is why we need lite-rail!

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  3. I seriously doubt Portland would be chosen, but the question is will they try?

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  4. Lew, if you need a more recent example, didn’t Vancouver, British Columbia have even a more recent winter olympics?

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  5. Yes Jeremy, Vancouver B.C. hosted the games in 2010 and they too faced opposition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Winter_Olympics#Concerns_and_controversies

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  6. City politicians are enamored with sports — thinking it brings prestige to a city. The political ego gratification is usually accompanied with “studies” that claim great economic benefit for the proposed team, stadium, ball park, etc. (More careful studies tend to show that the economic benefit is merely moved around — attendees at a stadium might buy a meal near the stadium that they might have purchased elsewhere instead. Money is spent on X instead of Y, with no net gain to the local economy.)

    The 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games are often pointed to as having been “successful” financially. But it is often ignored that for 1984 only two, privately financed, new facilities were built. All of the rest of the 31 sports venues used existing resources. Los Angeles, having hosted the 1932 Olympics already had the Los Angeles Coliseum and the Rose Bowl structure. The growth in professional sports teams situated in Southern California had also created many facilities that were put into service for hosting the 1984 games.

    Los Angeles Metro area (Includes Los Angeles and Orange county), in 1984, had a population of about 10 million. Today, Washington (state) has a population of almost 6.9 million (with Seattle “metro area” at about 4.3 million) and Oregon has just over 3.8 million (with Portland metro area (includes Clark and Cowlitz counties in Washington) at about 2.2 million). (Clark and Cowlitz have about 400,000 combined population) This tells us that the Seattle/Portland combined regions have a population about 65% the size of Los Angeles at the time of the 1984 games. That suggests that the per-capita burden both in cost and inconvenience will be much greater than that encountered by residents in the Los Angeles Metro Area.

    At the time of the 1984 games, Los Angeles was expected to have huge traffic jams — but that concern did not come to pass. It seems that many local residents took vacations, stayed at home, or went out of the area while the games were going on. This suggests that normal economic activity was reduced, so the expected increase in economic activity due to the games was significantly offset. (Figures are not readily available, but my personal observation suggests a very high correlation between observed traffic and economic activity. My experience is based on years of driving freeways in the SF Bay Area during both “good” and “bad” economic times.)

    Sports have little net positive affect on the local/regional economy and generally are the cause of considerable disruption to local residents. (I note that commute times in the Bay Area were often doubled on days when both the Oakland and San Francisco base ball teams had games end at approximately the same time in the late afternoon — commute times were also significantly increased (but not doubled) on days when one or the other team’s game ended (or was scheduled to begin) just before the commute hour. (Televised west coast sports games frequently start around 5 PM Pacific Time to hit prime time on the east coast.)

    In the end, the only value of sports to a city or region is for “prestige” (political ego gratification). But this sort of “prestige” has no economic value to the local residents.

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  7. If they appoint me “Lord High Commissioner and Most Excellent Potentate of the 2024 Summer Olympic Games” and compensate me commensurate to such an august title, I’ll be FOR the deal.

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  8. The whole “public pays for the stadium because it helps the community” theory has been studied to death in Law Schools around the country and has been proven to be false. However, people who live their lives through sports are a huge portion of the population which is why I think a public vote is important – to see if the sport addicts outnumber the rest of us? If so then I’ll go for it.

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  9. We can’t even get a vote on CRC or light rail Martin. Why would they let the people vote on an Olympic Stadium?

    And no doubt, on the slim chance voters would be asked, we would be left out even though the entire state would end up paying on it.

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  10. Lew, I’m much more supportive of what the people of my state want. This is an important distinction because some politicians do not have Washington (or even Clark County) as their “clients.” For example, I had some private discussions with Jim Moeller about CRC. Before I posted an opinion I passed it by him first to make sure I wasn’t putting words in his mouth. Here it is (this has been posted before):

    “The question of who Jim Moeller represents is the crux of our disagreement with his position. To an attorney (me), the people of Clark County (specifically Vancouver for him) are his ‘clients,’ but that’s not how he sees it. To him, the whole area is his constituency, and logically, given the power differential between Multnomah County and Clark County, it IS logical for him to support their interests over ours. In fact, he doesn’t even see an ‘us vs. them’ situation – it’s all about the region to him. Needless to say, I disagree. If he doesn’t represent the unrepresented Oregon taxpayers and future toll payers who live in Clark County – who does? Rep. Moeller points over to Portland and says, ‘that’s what Clark County residents get for their taxes & tolls.'”

    All I can say is I’d be more than pissed off if that was the attitude of someone supposedly representing me!

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  11. Unfortunately Martin, I do live in the 49th and what you just wrote is why I have never voted for Jim.

    I want someone who will represent me, not Portland. After all, Portland does not vote for him.

    He is one seriously mixed up person.

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  12. Keeping things real…
    Washington is going to have to come up with $450 for their share of the bridge. That will have to get through the Senate. (Jim is in the House so he’s out of the equation.) Madore is not the King here – Benton is. Benton has the opportunity to kill bridge funding that no one else has. Even Herrera.

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  13. I’m amazed that Jim would be so forthright with you Martin, but I’m not surprised by his view. What does surprise me is the support he receives from voters in the 49th district year after year.

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  14. Craig, I want to point out that virtually everyone who supports CRC will be personally rewarded in some way BUT Jim supports it as a public servant – however totally wrong he may be.

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  15. I agree Martin. You have to respect Moeller for that much anyway.

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  16. I’ve tried to respect Jim, even stood with him against the Westboro creeps when they came to town a couple years ago. But his constant moves against constituents really hampers that effort.

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