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Friday, January 21, 2011

Portland leaf tax a net money-loser

A reader who works for the City of Portland reports that the mayor's insane "leaf removal fee" program ran up big expenses and did not bring in much income. Even if you omit what it actually costs to sweep the leaves, just the administration costs have far outstripped what's been collected.

Through December 31, the reader says, less than $50,000 was collected, whereas the city's revenue bureau was reporting costs of about $49,000 in administering the collections. Over in the transportation bureau, around another $35,000 of expense was reported for printing, copying, postage, even special delivery charges. That's $34,000 in the hole before counting what it cost to send the equipment out to do the work (which the reader estimates was about $600,000).

But hey, it's only money. And the city got to alienate more residents, which seems to be almost a core value for this administration. The collective nervous breakdown of a nice town continues.

UPDATE, 1/29, 10:51 p.m.: It appears that our source here was wrong. Surprisingly, the city appears to have collected far more than the source reported.

Comments (21)

From the Oregon"Live" Sellwood Bridge article:

"There's no way I'm going to pursue something to waste money," Adams said.


By now, I'm starting to think it's the residents who are having the nervous breakdown, not CoP government. I know I'm feeling more than a bit on edge by having so many insane things happening and nothing I can do to stop them.

There is one thing we can all do to stop the madness. Vote those who are responsible out of office.

If you can find good people, who will put up with the election cycle crap, I'll work the phones.

They collected less than $50 grand, who the heck paid anything?

Let's give thanks to those who paid the fee. They're probably the same ones who pay when they ride the streetcar.

Most of the time, governments do the wrong thing. For example, deep in the hole, San Fran decides to give >$170 million bonus to its pensioners this year.



I do hope Sam's supporters who were so vocal over a potential $180,000 special election; are four times as vocal with their criticism with this real $600,000 mismanagement of funds.

David E Gilmore - Lately, I've been thinking how interesting it would be for an in person meeting of the regulars around this part of the interweb. Of course, I don't see it happening and if it did, we could expect visitations of politicos unless we could make it private. And honestly, there are a few here who I'd never want to meet. However, for those who are thoughtful and serious about change, even if there were philosophical and ideological differences it would be interesting to talk about a serious strategy to take local govt. back.

By now I do not believe that the voters have the power to vote anyone out anymore.
Rotten to the core.

Doesn't help that software programs are involved in elections.

The best thing about this blog is that this story will show up in the Oregonian or Tribune in a few days. Keep getting the word out, and things will change (they have to).

Just so you understand, the Maintenance Division hates this program as much as the rest of us.

I live on a six block long block with one-ft. wide planting strips (no room for tree roots), we have 3 small street trees on our block and I got two bills within 3 days of each other. Opted out. Insanity.

take local govt. back

It would be nice just to get ahold of it, for a change.

Why does the city need to rake leaves for the rich? Can't the rich hire someone to do it for themselves. With 700,000+ people on food stamps the city needs to get their priorities straight and stop helping the rich get richer by doing their yard work for them.

Dave: the trees are generally located on city owned curb strips. I don't know "the rich", but there are plenty of trees in front of apartment buildings.

The City and the populace have an interest in cleaning up leaves to prevent them from clogging the storm drains.

That cleanup benefits the poor who drive/bike/walk through wealthier neighborhoods. It also makes it easier to exploit the working class.


The real question is, why can't the city perform this basic service with the taxes we already pay? It's not about helping the rich -- it's about expecting the city to stop wasting our money on dumb pet projects like the Water House and getting city leaders to actually provide basic services for our tax dollars.

The city needs the leaves picked up one way or the other or else the drains get clogged up and create road hazards. While it would be great if each individual land owner raked his or her own leaves, the reason we have government is to work on collective projects like these where individuals would often slack off and ruin it for everyone else.

As Thomas Jefferson said, "If all men were angels (or raked their own leaves), no government would be necessary." All men are not angels, so we pay taxes to make sure basic services are provided (except in Portlandia where our taxes are "invested" in poorly thought out, poorly planned housing developments like the Water House.


Unfortunately, week after week, something else pops up illustrating the mad spending down at city hall. Would be interesting if someone kept a list of each week's "output" of our money on projects.

The Water House by Leonard is just the tip of the iceberg. It was over the top when he requested and got a $135 million dollars on an emergency ordinance for the Powell Butte Storage Tank. Those who have years of watch-dogging and expertise said it was unnecessary. This apparently was done in case we would not get an exemption to this EPA LT2 rule. Long story,but it shows how he doesn't seem to care how much he spends of our money. Seems like he is on a drive to debt swamp us and the rest are going along as well.

Where I live the city cleans the street once or twice a year and since there are always many parked cars they basically just clean the middle of the street. The leaf clogged gutters are left to just rot and fill the drains. Now if a bunch of doctors and lawyers lived in these parts (like they do in the "leafy" parts) then I expect the city would hop to it and clean it up for us. But hey thanks for making sure your streets are clean (using my tax dollars) so I can safely walk by. I don't know the purpose of the government, but these days it seems to exist to make the rich richer and to make the poor pay for it

I don't know the purpose of the government, but these days it seems to exist to make the rich richer and to make the poor pay for it

Alarming, corporatist overlay on our government and ultimately on our lives.

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