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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 3, 2010 3:48 PM. The previous post in this blog was Bully for you. The next post in this blog is Hughes is still ahead, but.... Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dear Mayor Creepy

Here's a responsible person actually trying to make sense out of the gibberish that emerges from the mind of Portland's spacey chief executive:

Dear Mayor Adams and Director Keil:

I am president of the Laurelhurst Neighborhood Association. Some of my neighbors have questions regarding the leaf pick up tax and the potential for opting out.

The first question is: Under what provision of state law or city code are property owners responsible for maintaining the streets in front of their properties?

Some neighbors have very few leaves in front of their properties. For them, the standard yard waste pickup is sufficient to maintain their streets. These individuals would qualify for the "Additional curbside hauling" option, but would not have any documentation of additional yard waste pickups. How would these cases be handled?

The "self hauling" option states "Receipts must identify dates that correspond to your property’s scheduled cleanings." In our neighborhood the scheduled leaf removal dates occur on weekdays. Most of the residents in our neighborhood work during the week. Thus, they would most likely remove the leaves from the street on on a weekend day or have to take unpaid time off to avoid the city's new tax. This raises the question: Must the self hauling dates precisely coincide with the city's scheduled leaf removal?

Similarly, given the difficulty of scheduling a yard service company to come on the date that precisely corresponds to the city's scheduled leaf removal date, must the "contract leaf removal dates" precisely coincide with the city's scheduled leaf removal? Perhaps more importantly, there seems to be an increased risk that the contract services may interfere with the city's cleaning efforts.

Regarding the "Composting" option, would you please provide me an outline of the criteria that will be applied by the city to determine whether a resident's composting efforts are sufficient for opting out of the new tax.

And last, what are the consequences for failure to pay the tax without going through the opt-out process. Will residents' water be turned off? Will the city put a lien on residents' property? Will the city pursue the tax in small claims court?

Thank you for helping me to help my neighbors with this confusing new tax.

All the best.

Eric Fruits, President
Laurelhurst Neighborhood Association
http://www.laurelhurstpdx.org/

He left out one important question: What are you two smoking, and how do I get some of it?

Comments (24)

Bravo!

At 140 characters a pop, it must have taken forever to tweet this over to the mayor.

"He left out one important question: What are you two smoking, and how do I get some of it?"

I think Eric might want to opt out. Freebasing that much Preparation H can be dangerous.

Their smoking the leaves!

I guess the city better figure out a way to control the weather, too, since I might get all my leaves taken care of, only to have them blow over from my neighbor's on a good windy day. Maybe Sam wants neighbors to start bickering with each over leaves. He seems to go out of his way to polarize people.

I hope you publish the response.

pdxmick, neither the divisive Mr Adams nor his loyal satrap is known for responsiveness. Vindictive, yes; responsive, no.

Sam . . . seems to go out of his way to polarize people.

Hey. This is a family blog.

Welcome to the new America. If people are unwilling to support taxation for general revenue yet still demand that the streets be clean and the sewers work, we're going to see a lot more of these targeted use taxes.

If you live in an urban area, there are things that you have to pay for. In addition, if you want those services to function properly (i.e. sewers), you need to do the prep work (i.e. clean up the leaves). If you want to detach from society and live in your own "self-reliant" little bubble, move to a rural area. Again, this reminds me of the almost yearly event of a rural household not choosing to have fire coverage and being surprised when the fire department allows their house to burn down.

The key phrase here is "responsible person....trying to make sense".
There appear to be very few if any reasonable people left at kiddie hall. Trying to make sense or reason with the average 2 year old having a tantrum is nearly impossible.
I wish Mr. Fruits good luck!
Randy will probably send over his building inspector thugs to his house.

Again, this reminds me of the almost yearly event of a rural household not choosing to have fire coverage and being surprised when the fire department allows their house to burn down.

For the last 100 years, this service has been provided by the City of Portland without a fee. O.k., so now the city's been mismanaged to the point where they can't provide the service any more. Fine -- either cut the service or start charging for it. But if you go the latter route, let people self-serve, and set up a reasonable, workable system for administering that option. That's far too much to ask of the clowns on the City Council these days.

If you live in an urban area, there are things that you have to pay for.

Urban residents pay for a tremendous number of things. I think you're being simplistic and disingenuine to say that this is about leaf service and not a general feeling about poor fiscal leadership and stunningly inappropriate "creative accounting" by City Hall to fund pet projects.

In other words, many would argue that leaf service either *is* paid for, or should be left to property owners.

OK, What do we need to do to get this "fee" tested by the courts?

What if one rakes the leaves onto one's front yard when the street cleaners come, and then rakes them onto the street after (so they can go into the storm drains)?

For the last 100 years, this service has been provided by the City of Portland without a fee.

They've been providing it to you. Not to me. The City has been using gas tax revenue paid by all of us to pick up leaves for a few of us. The rest of us pick up our own leaves, haul them away, and pay for their disposal -- far more than the $30 you're now being charged. I estimated last year that it cost me twice that to take my leaves to the City depots, plus the bags that the garbage haulers took away.

Residents in "leaf districts" are now being asked to pay for a special service that the rest of us would love to have.

I don't want the service, and I don't want to pay for it. I'll clean up the leaves myself -- my net out of pocket cost will be zero -- and I don't want to be jerked around by a City Hall bureaucrat over it.

Hi Jack and readers:
Mayor creepy is figuring out a new way to nickle and dime us. So, what if we collected all of our own leaves and dumped them on his parking strip?
Opt out options?
A.) I don't have any trees?, ergo, no "Freakin" leaves, ergo, no fees!
B.) I raked my own leaves and sent them to Good Will for compost in China?
C.)I used my leaves for Thanksgiving decorations and to stuff the turkey?
D.) My girlfriend uses the leaves for "Bust" augmentation. So do all of her girlfriends. Thet say it smells so "earthy"
E.) My Grandma sprinkles the leaves in her "undies" drawer for later?

Jack: come on now, the list is endless. How can our elected officials do this kind of crazy nonsense?

F.) Don't take my leaves, I own them and had plans?

Chronic budgetary foolishness. Nearly everything on the ballot this year was a result of improper fiscal planning. I mean, where in 2008-2009 did people actually think that the economy was going to be better for tax revenue when the Fed chariman stated mixed guidance at best? Rainy day fund or not, assessing new fees and taxes is a great way for Multnomah County to finally get it - our government is raiding our pocketbooks. Perhaps the vote won't sit so prettily in Democrat hands in that county next time around.

Enjoy that fee, I hope it feels good to pay it.

The City's latest explanation and directive regarding the leaf "fee":
http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?&c=47144&a=319617

An excerpt:

"The City will bill residents and businesses once a year for services. The City will send a bill by mail on the Monday following the customer's only or final sweep. Residents and property managers in leaf districts that receive two scheduled leaf pickups will be charged $30 a year. Residents and property managers in leaf districts that receive just one scheduled leaf pickup will be charged $15 a year. Northwest Clean Sweep and Sullivan’s Gulch will be charged $30 to cover the additional costs of barricading and towing. Businesses with less than 76 linear feet of street frontage will pay the same as residential properties. Businesses having greater than 76 linear feet of frontage will pay $65 a year.

Low income residents identified through the City's water billing low-income program will qualify for a two-thirds reduction of their leaf removal fee. If their property is scheduled for one cleaning, their fee will be $5; if two cleanings, $10."

Another excerpt:

"The City has 28 leaf removal districts, including Northwest Portland. These neighborhoods have larger, more mature trees that result in large, heavy accumulation of leaves that prohibit street cleaning equipment from effectively cleaning the streets."

It has been several moons since the streets in my modest, close-in SE neighborhood -- not included in one of the 28 districts -- have been cleaned by the City. "[L]arge, heavy accumulation of leaves" has never been an inhibition, although the heavy growth of street weeds may soon become a problem.

The limitation upon city services seems to derive from the determination that residents and infrastructure are merely costs to city government. As costs, they are to be minimized. The notion that residents and services are inherent to urban organization has no place in the current corporate model.

Look people, you can't easily ride a bike with a bunch of leaves all over the ground.

Funny how they can't find any money for basic city services, but they can find Billions to implement the completely bogus EPA LT2 rule.

And in their pompous, self-flaggelanting, sociopathic world- they think we are just a bunch of whiners.

Next up will be charging a fee to come before them and dare issue a public comment.

The city requires you to have the trees; imposing heavy penalties if you cut them down or even prune them without authorization. If you do cut them, the city will also require you to replace the trees with varieties that they dictate.

And they hold you responsible for falling leaves, as well.

That funny sound you hear may just be folks sharpening the times of their pitchforks....

ralph woods:Funny how they can't find any money for basic city services, but they can find Billions to implement the completely bogus EPA LT2 rule.

Will take a lot of "nickel and dime" efforts to raise the money they need for whatever!

They won't find billions, so our water rates will skyrocket!
So will our health costs as a result of degraded toxic water!

This isn't over, and we need to insist upon a Waiver from this rule.

If Eric Fruits, President of the historically canopied, tree laden Laurelhurst Neighborhood Ass. has a better idea, let's hear it. No really Eric, you tell the city what the plan should be. Empower yourself. Be proactive here and not so reliant on me paying for your freaking neighborhood leaf pickup every year. Why do you have to be told what to do?
I find the tone and rhetoric in the letter pathetic.


If memory serves, that Eric Fruits is the same one who was an economist at ECONorthwest, PDC's favorite urban renewal consultancy. I think he left because of what they smoke over there.


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