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Hall Monitor

Vision Quest



Last week, we chatted about Robert Hill, who got into a shouting match with Mayor Tom Potter during his three minutes of public testimony regarding Portland's form of government. For all the yelling, it was hard to believe anyone could be that passionate about the tedious details of local electoral politics.

After taking a week off—perhaps to cool down—Hill is signed up to return to council this Wednesday, July 26, to talk about "general government."

Word has it he originally wanted to use the open forum to discuss the way he was treated last time he came in—but was convinced to handle the matter privately. However, if he wants to discuss the future of Portland's government, I suggest he register his thoughts at the mayor's Vision Vessel—a "voting booth on steroids," according to Potter—which will, oh joy, be even more ubiquitous around the city in the coming months.

"Between now and August, my hope is that it will be hard for you to avoid the Vision Vessel," Potter warned at a recent City Club forum.

But, lest anyone think the Vision Vessel project is nothing more than a squishy, feel-good distraction from actual city problems, Potter let on that an "international coffee company" wants to get its hands on the survey information.

"I can't say the name, but chances are you probably stopped by this morning for a mocha almond-flavored grande," Potter said. "They asked to see our research when we get a little further down the road, because they know you can sell more coffee when you understand the values and desires of the people you're selling coffee to."

Even though Potter's keeping the name of the company under wraps, let's all just assume he's talking about Starbucks. How does giving this information to a company that's not even based here fit in with the "future of Portland" project?

According to Potter's communications director, John Doussard, the mayor was just trying to challenge critics—including those in the media—who don't take the project seriously.

"He was trying to make a point that Starbucks, which is pretty successful at what they do, is interested in this information," Doussard explained.

I feel much better now(?!?).

In other news, here's what Commissioner Erik Sten's chief of staff, Bob Durston, had to say about last week's free Quasi/Minders show at city hall: "In all the years I've been here, I haven't seen this many young people unless it was a protest."

Send me a vision: or via AIM at smooremercury


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