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Friday, January 22, 2010

The PGE Park sewer "surcharge"

There are a lot of interesting tidbits in the outrageously sketchy outline that the City of Portland has released of its deal with Little Lord Paulson for the PGE Park soccer renovation. But one of them that immediately jumps out illustrates how concerned the city is about the fragile 94-year-old sewer that runs under where the new soccer grandstands are supposed to go:

"...if the Tanner Creek sewer line should fail or surcharge..." It looks as though the folks at City Hall are expecting some serious trouble from that sewer line over the long life of the Paulson deal. And with good reason, no doubt. The city's own website on the Tanner Creek sewer explains:

Because of the age of the system -- some of the pipes dating back before 1900 -- a high percentage of sewers are in poor condition, there are hydraulic capacity problems and records of basement flooding. About two-thirds of the system is plagued with misaligned joints, cracks, and collapsing pipes, based on internal video inspections. Under peak flows, there is substantial surcharging due to backup from the Southwest Interceptor.

Condition problems are concentrated in southern portion of the basin west of I-405. Streets undergo surcharging with a water surface level less than 8 feet from the ground surface.

What exactly is a sewer "surcharge"? They're not talking about an item on your sewer bill:

Sewer main surcharging can happen during heavy rainstorms or spring run-off; the sewer system may not always be able to handle all the extra water flow. Water and/or sewage may back up into the basement through floor drains, unsecured clean-out caps on the sewer lateral piping system in the basement, or other plumbing fixtures that are below ground level. It mainly occurs in areas where surface water and sanitary wastewater share common piping systems.
Bottom line: The sewer mains down by PGE Park have had "surcharge" (backup) problems in the not-so-distant past, and they are likely to have them again in the future.

Shouldn't we fix a known trouble spot in the sewer system before we build a $30-million-plus stadium facility on top of it? I thought Portland was a world-renowned center of planning, This appears to be exactly the opposite of that.

Those of us who think this project is waste of money are tempted to hope that the sewer line breaks right away -- but justice would probably better be served if it waited until "major league" soccer opening night (if the league doesn't fold before that).

Meanwhile, the soccer hooligans are on a major campaign to scream at the City Council from now until next Wednesday about how they dare not vote against the Edicts of Paulson. Conveniently, they've posted this list of contact information for the city commissioners. Two can play that game, if you catch my drift.

Comments (9)

A backed-up sewer is the perfect metaphor for this PGE Park deal.

They forgot the item in that agreement that should read, "Occupants of the new South grandstand shall be sternly warned against jumping up and down, especially in unison." And no more "wave" at PGE Park, either.

This boondoggle is doomed, but we've known that for years. And, on the matter of planners, Science News reports that slime molds automatically plan network connections as well as the engineers of the Tokyo Rail system. See


So we can fire (or 'redeploy') all the PDX Planning Mafia, place pieces of oatmeal at sites representing centers to be connected, & let the Slime Mold show us where to connect!

"but justice would probably better be served if it waited until "major league" soccer opening night (if the league doesn't fold before that)."
That would be a foul...right?

Sounds to me like good lawyering and negotiating to me, don't let the construction screw it up.

Of course you do, Richard; you're posting from -- Portland City Hall. Thanks for trolling by.

Is there an over/under on whether "Richard" is Sam Adams or Randy Leonard?

WOW !!! That explains a lot about Richard and the nature of his backward commentary. Thanks, Jack!

LOL! Portland city hall addy using MSIE6.

Apparently, they've never learned how to upgrade. Or to use better browsers.

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