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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sticker shock for Portland duck pond cleanout

The bids are in for the dredging and cleanup of the pond in Laurelhurst Park in southeast Portland -- and the news is not good. The city had advertised the job as running about $775,000. But the two bids it received were for $1,498,000 and $2,195,000. Even the lower of the two is nearly twice what the city estimated. Quack quack!

Comments (26)

Breaking news - CoP has no concept of the real-world price/cost of things.

Is there some reason the city can't do the job itself? Drain pond, rescue the turtles, dump trucks and bull dozers for the muck, haul away, add water, return turtles.

Can't they just take some of those extra city hall staffers and team them up with some public works staff and git r done.

For that kind of money, why not just fill it in and build a velodrome.

Without reading the scope of work that the bids are based on it is not possible to assess if the bids are high or low. If the bid includes sealing the pond to prevent leakage then I would be the least surprised that it exceeds $1M. The fact that the city grossly underestimated the cost of the job is not at all surprising.

This is what you get when you pay a huge consultant's fee to Daffy Duck.

Can't they just take some of those extra city hall staffers and team them up with some public works staff and git r done.

Good idea. They could blog and tweet about it while they work.

Wow! Look at all those "savings" due to the economy. Those are probably the same sort of "savings" used to justify diverting the $20 million for the bike plan.

Daffy was just the front man. Sylvester did all the heavy lifting

Since that pond functions as an open sewer for the local duck population, I think the City should clean it up using Bureau of Environmental Services funds instead of the Parks Bureau budget. The BES should add a velodrome around the pond for bike-riding ducks while they're at it.

There is probably not a lot of competition allowed in city request for bids. Usually, wages have to be at their highest local levels because of union backed laws, reflecting total control over state and local governments by unions. Then there's probably some "green" premiums thrown in. The city itself is pretty expensive to operate given its impulsive buying habits, like Commissioner Leonard's longterm contract to buy biodiesel for some $7 per gallon for city fleets. I think the goal is to raise the cost of living in Portland high enough to drive out lower middle income class families.

If you ever tried to bid a job with the City you would understand why the estimates are low. They throw the kitchen sink in on everything. Not only is is time consuming and costly even to submit a bid, you have to add tons to everything to cover yourself.

If this pond were in your back yard it would cost $250,000 tops.

For $2.1 million, we could put together a campaign to get Mike Bellotti up here to help out. He's got some experience with Duck shit.

Did I read that right? Is the low bid really from Port Gamble, Washington? Too funny.

I can think of a couple of solutions that would be a lot cheaper. Have this be set-up so convicted people could use it to fulfill community service requirements. Portland State is high on community service projects or maybe even PCC's landscaping program. Let students do it. And heck the city could even pay them $15 an hour and still do better than this. The city has enough equipment and should be able to provide supervision.

Of course you all know that this is toxic sludge we're dealing with. They're probably have to build a containment bubble and go at it in space suits. I say let the SE hippsters go after it. Just tell them they're saving the environments and turtles and you'll have a mob of willing helpers. They won't mind either, they love being dirty. But first, I'm sure someone wants to go fishing (but don't tell the hippsters - otherwise = protest zone = more police in riot gear). Open fishing day!! All you need is moldy bread and some string. This could be awesome..

I'll do it for a cool million.

Can I get out of the union or prevailing wage thing?

Set up and pond draining 14,000.00

Excavate and haul away pond scum 68,000.00

Excavate to deepen pond and haul away spoils. 39,000.00

Pond lining 28,000.00

Various re-landscaping and improvemens. 37,000.00

Misc. Day Labor help 12,000.00

Aggregate, and other materials. 41,000.00

Contigency- BS from Creepy and company 561,000.00

Overhead and profit 200,000.00

Total 1,000,000.00

Start July 1st - End Sept 1st


They ought to send political candidates, party hacks, 'journalists' and the like down there. They all LIKE to sling mud and would probably do it for free.

The Willamette Wipe ought to be able to field an entire team of mudslingers.

They could blog and tweet about it while they work.

And post Foie Gras recipes!

As a semi-frequent jogger in Laurelhurst Park I'm just not seeing the duck/goose pond as integral, especially not to the tune of millions of dollars. The pond is not really a focal point-in fact it has has carried a pretty foul odor for quite some time and people generally avoid it. I'm in favor of increasing the greenspace and filling it in-perhaps a few more basketball court-not exciting but will get more use than the pond ever did.


Long live the Dictatorship of the Nihilariat.

Some of the real world costs:
Study and comply with DEQ, EPA regs, endangered species law, possible archeological remains...

Extra cost to get dump trucks into and out of City around bike lanes, speed bumps, blocked streets, etc.

Where will they dump the contaminated soil and how much will that cost? It's a bio-hazard.

Risk management: potential suits by duck lover, turtle lovers, dog owners, bicyclists, complaints from neighbors about too many dump trucks...

And for dealing with the above they want to make a little profit too.

City Hall figured since you folks had already done the muckraking cleaning the residue would be easy.

Can we pay for the cost overruns with Tram profits? How about a raid on the DOT's bike path budget? Would the RACC be willing to take one for the team?

Maybe we could use some of those elusive "one-time" surpluses that usually go to Commissioner's pet projects?


I liked your budget but you are going to be in big trouble with $28,000 for a new pond liner. Better read the specs...

Generally, here's what it takes to clean a duck pond of that size:

one front-end loader
one dump truck
2-3 fire hoses
half a dozen staff

Been there, done that, and it isn't that hard.

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