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Wednesday, September 28, 2005


What's a goofier expenditure of our tax dollars: Sending Mayor Potter and an entourage of PDC and similar ne'er-do-wells (including some Royal Rosarians and members of the Police Highland Guard) on a "sister city" junket to Guadalajara? Or putting an "eco-roof" on the Portland Building, doubling or tripling the cost of reroofing it?

Comments (28)

And before you tell me that some private pot of money pays the expenses for the fun in the sun, be sure to let me know whether the mayor and the PDC staffers are taking their vacation time for this.

Ah hah! El Mayor is on a guitar buying trip.

Jack Bog at September 28, 2005
And before you tell me that some private pot of money pays the expenses for the fun in the sun, be sure to let me know whether the mayor and the PDC staffers are taking their vacation time for this.
Lets also hear what favors the private pot of money expects to receive for paying those expenses for the fun in the sun.


Perhaps Potter is planning on leaving the PDC contingent there?

That would be good if it's the same PDC staff who's been cooking up the Convention Center Headquarters Hotel case.

My vote is for the Mexico trip, as the eco-roof is at least part of a wider strategy of increasing the number of structures in Portland with eco-roofs.

If I'm ever mayor, though, I'm definitely signing a sister city agreement with Papeete, Tahiti. It's only fair.

At least with the long term cost savings the eco-roof is probably a push. And you can probably drink the water that comes from it without obtaining Montezuma's Revenge.

Forget both

Mayor, stay home. You got work to do. Do something. I mean do anything but visioning.
That leads to sister junkets.

Eco shmico

What's wrong with rainwater flowing into the river?
If it's not picking up pollutants what's the beef?
Isn't the city separating the sewage from storm water run off?
Instead of spending on the eco-roof why not add the money to fixing the sewer/storm combo problem. Then many more roofs could have their rain water flow into the river and not the sewer.

Forget the eco-roof and fire those working on the "program" and bid out the roof replacement with a non asphalt spec.
Drain the thing into the river and shut up.
Is that bad?

What's wrong with rainwater flowing into the river?

Far better that it flows into the ground, not onto pavement and then into the river.

The city wants to cash in on the stormwater discount program. Residents and businesses that manage their own stormwater will be getting a forty percent discount. Those that don't will see their rates increase by forty percent to make up the lost revenue. Pretty cagey, eh?

Are we going to be paying people for gardening upkeep on our city roof? (I'd hate to see it end up looking like the lawn that belongs to my absentee neighbor).

Maybe we can retrain a firefighter with a partial disability to mow the roof.

Perhaps it will help the commissioners work through their differences with an afternoon game of croquet.

We just gotta start looking at the city government glass as half full.....

In my opinion, we need as many "green roofs" (fighting back the illogical urge to type "rooves") in Portland as we can get, if for no other reason than the potential that they will better the views from the (you guessed it!) aerial tram [rim shot]...

Maybe we can put a putt-putt course up there and keep some of our elected leaders from taking off on golf junkets. Now to figure out how Earl can get his bow tie through the little windmill...

Put Earl up there to graze.

a. Jack, I wish you had pointed out the paucity of specific information regarding the potential cost savings of an 'eco-roof' over time.

b. "What's wrong with rainwater flowing into the river?" Nothing per se, but the cost of constructing sewer infrastructure is much higher than that of plainting plants and so forth. Also, during times of heavy rain having fewer drops of water end up in our river systems is always advantageous.

I apologise for the oversight, here is the backing for my claim regarding the cost benefit of using plants instead of rivers to absorb stormwater:

What's wrong with rainwater flowing into the river?

What's wrong is that the rainwater flows off the roofs, down the gutters, and into the same system as sewage. During heavy rains the excess from roofs overflows our inadequate treatment system and untreated sewage (also known as "shit") overflows into the Willamette.

Hence the multi-million dollar (are we into billions yet? Maybe.) sewage disconnect project in which, street by street, rooftop rainwater is being sent down different pipes than sewage. But the project's far from complete, and in the meantime, heavy rains = shitty Willamette.

And seriously, spending three times what's needed to reroof the Portland Building is going to have any noticeable impact on that whatsoever?

"And seriously, spending three times what's needed to reroof the Portland Building is going to have any noticeable impact on that whatsoever?"

Sure. The Portland Office Of Sustainable Development will measure it?

Just like they measured emissions.

One eco-roof? Not much impact.

A hundred eco-roofs? Noticable impact.

A thousand eco-roofs? Big impact.

It's like disconnecting the downspout from your roof to the sewer. The impact of disconnecting my downspout? Negligable. But when ten thousand of my neighbors do it along with me, it becomes pretty significant.

Someone's gotta take the first step.

Plus a thousand eco-roofs could turn Portland into the most awesome frisbee golf course in the world!

Does anyone make biodegradable frisbees?

Sorry for the Dilbertese to follow. Personally I love ecoroofs and the research sighted is also correct many times in the long term they can be cost effective. Granted there may be symbolic value to the Ecoroof on the Portland Building, but it is probably not at all economically a sound decision, particularly in a shrinking general fund. It lacks two important criteria for selection. First it is inaccessible, so it doesn't present a "garden roof" respot like the one on the Mulnomah County Building. Second the top floor of the Portland Building is a Penthouse Equipment room so the normal heat gain from the roof does not effect the internal cooling loads, which is why you have to climb up a narrow stairwell and the materials will have top be craned up as reported in the news article. This crane alone is at least a $10,000 cost. Note I would fully support City Hall having a green roof, at least at one time there was roof access for a smoking area, to expand this to have some green respot space makes sense. So what of the stormwater runnoff issue. The problem is detention of the water so that it does not cause the overflows noted by one of the previous contributers. This could be done by downsizing the roof drains or throttling them with an automated control valve so that it throttles the flow, and possibly a storage and detention tank in the penthouse. It would eliminate the need for ongoing maintenance and watering of plant material, especially during water shortages during the summer. The structural load on the roof would be less of just the water and not the water and soil and plantlife during maximum capacity loading. The maintenance cost on this system would be much less. In these tight times I would rather see the City spend money on its Parks green maintenance that desparately need attention, instead of a symbolic installation, or to retrofit the City Hall roof with an ecoroof that could be enjoyed and serve a useful purpose of being directly connected to conditiond space and accessible to for people to use as a respot.

Why not just turn Tom McCall waterfront Park into one giant bioswale?

Even if it's just a dorky symbolic gesture, I like the symbolism anyway. Perhaps the next renovation they, or someone else, does will include a couple more "green" features. And then the next one a couple more, and so on. I'm happy to acknowledge that these extra green features cost more in initial outlay. However, when you look to a building like the new 'Couv Hilton, that one is green from sidewalk to roof, and they predict they'll recoup the green costs in 6-7 months. After that, it's all gravy, and lower impact.

Why not just turn Tom McCall waterfront Park into one giant bioswale?

Please DO NOT SAY THIS in front of Sten.

they'll recoup the green costs in 6-7 months. After that, it's all gravy,

I'm missing how this is relevant to reroofing the Portland Building.

No, what it's really about is getting Opie's picture in The New York Times again.

Isn't there a swimming pool the city can't afford to repair?
Looks to me like the city could put on a new rubber roof, fix the pool and have money left over if they don't do the eco-roof.

Why serve a real neighborhood in need now, when you can make a token gesture toward saving salmon 50 years from now?

This is the problem at the City currently, in fairness I think they are overwhelmed because the problem of deferred maintenance is so large and if they addressed it there would be no money left for anything and there is not enough to operate what we already have, and they would have to go on a budget, so they are living on credit and bouncing debt around like so many families are also doing today, and have mortgaged our children's future. These "feel good" projects allow them to further postpone coming to grips with the deteriorating infrastructure, lack of working capital to maintain assests, and leave the illusion they are progressing, when in fact if accounting were transparent and the deterioring infrastructure were included in the balance sheet, it would show how much liablity the current taxpayers have.

Why don't they just cover the Portland Building with those reservoir tarps they never used?

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