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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

PGE Park sewer issues float to surface

All of a sudden the sewer running under PGE Park has risen to prominence in the apparently tense negotiations between the City of Portland and Little Lord Paulson for the re-renovation of the stadium for soccer. We blogged pretty extensively about that sewer last week. It's old and creaky, and it may or may not withstand the blows that come from heavy construction.

Now all of a sudden the city's sewer director, Dean Marriott, is giving out interviews to the media (see the O's story here, and WW's here) about the problems that may arise with this crucial stretch of sewer in any stadium construction project. Either he's been directed by Mayor Creepy and Fireman Randy to do so, or he's defying the mayor's office (which under a previous occupant is said to have tried unsuccessfully to fire Marriott) and throwing his own monkey wrench into the Paulson deal. Either way, it seems less likely that we're going to see final papers on the transaction tomorrow, as was previously suggested.

The Tanner Creek sewer has an interesting history. At one point early in its existence, in 1904, it collapsed, swallowing up about a half dozen streetcars. This apparently took place at 18th and Alder, which is basically right across the street from where PGE Park stands today. After that, the sewer was shored up; current city records put its construction date at 1916.

The last time PGE Park was ripped up, in 2001 or so, Turner Construction, which also has the no-bid deal on the current proposed re-renovation, did a lot of work on the stadium. Did it do anything as part of that project to shore up the sewer line? We hear through the grapevine that it might have. But the best long-term solution, of course, would be to take a few years and re-route the sewer -- which, in the haste to accommodate "major league" (by U.S. standards) soccer, neither the city nor Little Lord Paulson wants to do.

Can you say "fiasco"? This one's going to rank right up there with the OHSU aerial tram [rim shot].

Comments (7)

"rank" -- ha ha!

Rank right up there with the tram? It's gonna go way beyond that. At least when the tram is paid for, we'll have a chintzy tourist attraction. After this mess, we'll have an empty stadium and no place to play baseball.

Ya know, it's just not that much of a kick for the tourists to take a ride to a hospital waiting room.

I often read that "the right-wing has its' own separate reailty".

Seems City Hall has joined them!

Sure, I can see the average biz-owner with a sewer easement on his property doing rehab.

BDS is going to let him ignore a sewer that is ready to collapse all at no cost to him - NOT.

Last time I rode the tram, my dad and I were meeting my brother after the latter's post-op checkup, which actually was in the building at the bottom of the hill. But I wanted to show Dad, who hasn't been to Portland for years, the ride itself. It was a great way to point out the lay of the land in Portland and the view from the 9th floor of the Kohler building is superb on a clear day.

But the funniest part was when we went to buy the tickets to go up the tram, the guy at the desk kept asking me if we were going up the hill to visit the patient; I started to say no and then realized he was all but giving me the big wink, wink so he could give us passes to ride for free.

So much for the tram's alleged money-making potential.

But I'm with Gil on this one; at this point, that stadium will be empty and Portland will be without one more team.

You forgot to add that the public will have lost the value of the stadium for baseball, etc.

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