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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 28, 2010 8:44 AM. The previous post in this blog was Fireman Randy remodels his bathroom. The next post in this blog is A league not of their own. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dig they must

When the City of Portland told us that they were going to convert Klickitat Street near blog headquarters into a bike boulevard, we yawned and thought, o.k. They've already painted the inane "sharrows" on the pavement (wonder how much that project cost per "sharrow") -- what else would they do? Put in some curb extensions on some corners, add some new signage, maybe paint a few more markings on the street surface.

But as they say on the infomercials -- wait, there's more:

Soil and pavement testing? They must be getting ready to add some bioswales to the neighborhood. These are the stark holes in the ground, formerly known as drainage ditches, that let water percolate into the soil rather than go into the city's monumentally expensive, yet surprisingly ineffective, storm sewer system. Since the City Council is stealing sewer money to pay for bike paths, now the two necessarily go hand in hand.

Only from the twisted mind of Mayor Creepy could such bizarre linkages emerge. Just like the sewer "cost savings" that are supposed to pay for the bike goodies. Complete bunk. But vaguely "green"-sounding, and isn't that all that matters in Portland?

Comments (13)

I moved out of Portland more than two years ago and now live in Milwaukie. Call me naive. They are now doing some of the same stuff as Portland.

Recently they installed a number of bike directional signs around Milwaukie. There are two near me, a half block apart that both point to the Milwaukie hospital. One points south, the other points west. Huh! Actually you go west on partially improved King Rd to get to the hospital.

Now I'm looking at St Helens or the far edge of Washington county for my next home. If Peak Oil arrives though, we're all trapped.

Bioswale = Outdoor Ashtray = Mosquito Pit. All things considered, I'll keep the traffic circle planter at my intersection.

I'm a big fan of bioswales. Also a big fan of bike boulevards. I don't really get why it's helpful to a bike boulevard to have a bioswale, however.

It's interesting that even CoP's Bureau of Environmental Service's staff even find many kinks in their own requirements that does nothing for the environment and costs us all a lot of money.

For example, the required "Flow Through Planter" requirement. In most parts of Portland there are combined sewers. Roof and foundation water is required to be sent to a flow-through planter. For an average 2000 sq/ft home the planter cost is usually between $4,000 to $5,000 plus the permit fees from CoP and design costs. This concrete planter has all kinds of requirements of rock, soil, plants and plumbing, and size dictated by roof area. This water then percolates out toward the street in a pipe that is then combined to the house sewer line, then into the street sewer.

So all that water goes across the city to be treated. The planter has little to do in reducing the treated water amount. But the planter contributes to standing water issues, like mosquitoes, bugs, smells, negative visual impact, and the additional $8,000 dollars to the cost of your home. Plus, there is the maintenance cost of the planter and system. Plants die, sludge builds up and needs removing, and plumbing fails.

Welcome to the BES World, where even they admit, "why do we do it? we don't know"

I am so disgusted with the city and the pseudo green idiots that as a protest I do the following: My downspouts empty on my driveway which has the water flow into the street. I put don’t recycle, put everything into my garbage can except junk mail which I burn in my backyard fireplace with any branches and boughs that fall from my trees. I rake my leaves into the street. I take 20 minute showers; run my gas fireplace after my air-conditioning cooled my house down to 55 degrees in the summer. I idle my lawn mower for and hour or so after mowing to use up the gas so the carburetor stays clean. I always ask for plastic bags if not offered. I smash up my cans and hide them in the garbage so the pickers won’t find them and redeem them, so they don’t get recycled. I flush my toilets several times each time after use to keep them clean. I leave the water running when I shave and brush my teeth. I always make a full pot of coffee even if I only drink one cup. I leave the coffee pot on all day. I use Styrofoam coffee cups. See everyone can make a little difference.

Remember all this busy work the next time CoP tells you we don't have enough money for your project (like the Sellwood bridge).

Just wondering, whose responsibility is it to maintain bioswales? Given our recent debate about who "owns" and has responsibility for maintaining sidewalks, if BES puts a bioswale in in front of my house or commercial building, do I have to chop the weeds and clean out the trash?

Eric , guessing you will get sued too , if some crackhead trips into it and breaks their neck... As Jimmy Cagney said in Ragtime , 'ain't life grand'

If I remember correctly each "sharrow" is around $500.

If memory serves, the City spends about $35-$40 an hour in capitalized costs to paint stuff on the streets.

I think the comment about the "surprisingly ineffective sewer system" shows a certain lack of knowledge about storm/rain volumes. (And, full disclosure, I'm a BES employee.) Given the increased density in the City, plus the more erratic rainfall, e.g., increased number of days with .5 or more of rainfall, the system has to 1) accomodate greater volumes, and 2) not dump the overflow into the river. The second requirement, which resulted in building two massive holding tunnels on either side of the river for a cost approaching a billion dollars over the past twenty years, was a result of residents suing, and the EPA concurring with the lawsuit, that raw sewage in the river was a no-no.

How does that not make the system not surprisingly ineffective? Given the bazillions we have spent and continue to spend, the fact that we will still be dumping raw poop in the river every time it rains more heavily than a drizzle is surprising to me.

The eastside tunnel is not yet in service - but must be, per the EPA conditions, by December of next year (2011). The westside tunnel is in service - and the Columbia Slough work was completed several years ago. Actually, the number of days with CSOs (combined sewer overflows) has been reduced from numbers in 1990.


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