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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 1, 2010 12:54 PM. The previous post in this blog was It's National Census Day. The next post in this blog is Wheels coming off the Catholic Church. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Portland -- You'll come for the sewers...

... but you'll stay for the absurdity.

Comments (23)

Yes and all those eco tourists are coming into town riding their bicycles.

And it's not really true, of course. Cities today spend a lot of time promoting what isn't there. This story, for example, is just a clumsy leap of illogic that "since the city put up a map of stormwater features, there must be lots of tourists demanding it".

Which is kind of like saying "since the city's taking your sewer fees to help fund bike paths, there must not be a lot of flooded basements".

I mean in their slide show...

main linked article:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/environment/2010-03-28-portland-sewers_N.htm

I'm not sure I see the absurdity of managing stormwater on site...it costs less over time and is better environmentally.

Unless one thinks a 1.5 billion dollar "big pipe" project is considered cost-efficient (if all water was managed on site through green roofs, swales, etc. and avoided the storm drain we wouldn't need these capital intensive projects...not to mention the cost reductions of not having to treat the stormwater runoff w/ the sewage water).

It is a little know fact that Portland's sewers are on many lists of enviro friendly and state of the art sewers. And Portland also has a few other items on Top 10 lists as well. Best cities with Bike lanes. Best City Hall Bathrooms to cruise for dates. Portland is a very desirable city with lots of enviro friendly and cool hipster Top 10 things to rave about.

Did anyone but me notice the name of the website in which this exciting announcement appeared? "Planetizin" Next time I am stopped at the border I will advise the immigration official that I don't need a passport because I am a "Planetizin" on my way for a sewer tour.

Read Harry's comment and remembered that today was the first of April.

"...tourist attraction in the city, which officials from other cities are visiting...".

So pointless bureaucratic junkets count for tourism these days? Cool. Portland must be supporting half of the national tourism industry then.

"I'm not sure I see the absurdity of managing stormwater on site...it costs less over time"

That explains why they are dropping the water and sewer prices - NOT.

They have waaay too much money and time over at BES and PWB.

I'm not sure I see the absurdity of managing stormwater on site...it costs less over time and is better environmentally.

Onsite stormwater management is good, generally. It doesn't necessarily cost less over time, though. And the bioswales that Adams has latched onto as part of a bicycle infrastructure are small potatoes, when speaking of stormwater management. If you doubt that, take a look at the Big Pipe project plan, and how much volume it's meant to handle.

And, look at how much development Adams and City Council support and promote. Development means more impervious surfaces. Putting a "green roof" on a building is complete crap--because all that does is delay the stormwater and treat it *slightly* before it gets dumped into waterways. Or more often, into a stormwater management system on (or under) the ground.

In other words, all of the hand-waving, green-raving, and masturbatory discussion about "green" when it comes to stormwater are always preludes to a discussion of "more development". It's in the city and regional plan--grow, densify, increase. We can keep building and extending the massive stormwater habitrail, but sooner or later, that water has to go into the soil and waterways. When there's less and less ground for it to filtrate into, it goes to waterways. And those metals, chemicals, and other pollutants that we try to remove before it does pile higher, and higher, and higher. They don't go away--we just ship them elsewhere, or let them seep into the ground.

So when I hear Adams crow about bicycle bioswales, I think it deserves ridicule. If for none of the reasons above, then for the obvious reason that he's trying to work his popularity. He has no moral or ethical stake in any of this--only his ego. Be sure to wave from your bike when you see him driving by in his car or truck, or being shuttled around in a car.

"I'm not sure I see the absurdity of managing stormwater on site"

I would agree with that for new development.

I'm just imagining the absurdity of a bunch of city officials from Tulsa in their suits staring down into a bioswale while cars zip past. Quite a vacation....

ws, I've asked you before, when you've posted that managing stormwater on the streets has savings, where's the studies and proof of the claims. You've never given them, because there aren't any-yet. And I wonder how they will be contrived.

Taking two to four parking spaces of each side of a block as they have done in SoWhat decreases the revenues from parking which has to be considered in the financial picture. Plus, the city hasn't gone through a maintenance cycle period of how much it will cost to rehab stormwater cesspools, or maintain them. Also not considered is the traffic congestion they cause because turns to cross streets are hindered by their existence, which then causes more carbs being expended as vehicles idle waiting for their chance to turn. Also large vehicles and truck turns are hindered by them.

They also hinder bikes since in many places bike lanes are redirected out into the vehicle lanes to bypass the stormwater curbs (an example is at NW Everett/14th at the entrance to 405), causing a major safety issue. I've almost hit bicycles at this intersection as bikes swerve out into traffic.

Just these few drawbacks, and there are more, hasn't been weighed in considering their benefits. But with people like you working for the city, the PR machine keeps churning without any accountability.

I love the CNN story - think folks will be bicycling to the Nascar museum in Charlotte?

A friend lives on 46th near Hawthorne where bioswales are going in. This is a street where few of the houses have driveways, so the removal of on street parking is already causing problems. It really had made the streets harder to maneuver.

The bigger problem, however, is that the damn bioswales don't work!

There is a lot of clay in that part of town. The swales are just filling up with rapidly-turning-fetid water. It won't be long before the mosquitoes come in to lay their eggs.

What the BES brain trust engineers forgot about, or were to stupid to know is the development of the "Schmutzdecke" a crust that developes from debris and microorganisms. For it to be effective it must stay hydrated. If it dries out it becomes impervious and thus useless in a swale. Good job public paid morons.

Wow....tram rides and sewer tours? Throw in a ride along with the PPB and maybe a session of city council just for kicks...

We could put Disneyland out of business!

Schmutzdecke. Good one.

Schmutzdecke? If you don't know what it is you must be a BES GreenStreet engineer.

Ecohuman comments: . . .In other words, all of the hand-waving, green-raving, and masturbatory discussion about "green" when it comes to stormwater are always preludes to a discussion of "more development". It's in the city and regional plan--grow, densify, increase. . .

It is just about the money for some. The rest of us have fingers pointed at us if we don't agree with the "mantra of smart growth".
Love the way names are used to promote the opposite. This community has had the imprint made so heavily upon it that one is considered not on plan if one even dares to question. One is accused of being for sprawl. Well no, there are options. As a friend said when either is carried to an extreme:
Sprawl is a negative horizontal.
Density is a negative vertical.

It is just about the money for some.
Costs the rest of us money and costs us our quality of life.


Damn and here I thought it was a brilliant April Fools Joke complete with back up Wikipedia reference. Oh well maybe this gives me a good idea for next year. May your Schmutzdecks thrive and grow a fuzzy fungus patina.

The lack of "schmutzdecke" knowledge by BES reminds me of a heated discussion by a couple of Mayor Potter staff members (young'ins) defending increasing the footprint of towers in SoWhat at an important meeting that Potter attended.

They said that increasing the footprint 25% in floorplan area of buildings would not decrease the amount of sunlight or views for adjoining properties...."because the buildings would be oval!!". They reasoned that since there were no 90 degree corners, more light and views would be allowed. Even with accurate, measured diagrams showing the affects, they stood by their ignorance. That's what we have advising our Council, and Sam is loaded with them.

Jack I'm thinking Schmutzdecke should be put right up there with Linchpins and "go by street car!"

We all need to define where that layer is in Portland and how it functions, but this is an important biological function!


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