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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 29, 2011 1:22 PM. The previous post in this blog was The morning after. The next post in this blog is Portland is off the hook on treating Bull Run water. 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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Why they cancelled your bus

Tri-Met has more important things to do than get you where you need to go.

Comments (31)

"Numbers released by TriMet show the project will cost just over $370,000, with the panels producing a savings of about $3,700 a year in the form of a credit from Portland General Electric."

This is a win for the region! TriMet has finally, finally figured out how to invest and make money...a staggering 1% annual return on cost. That's just fantastic! A train load of geniuses, I say! Brilliant!!

What? That 1% is before annual maintenance costs on their solar "array"? Financing costs are likely 5% annually because TriMet had to borrow money to build it?

In the words of Homer Simpson...."Doh!"

"Let them ride streetcars." ~ Marie Portlandianette

There are several other hidden costs besides the panel, maintenance and debt cost. Shouldn't PSU be charging for the real estate needed for this extensive array?

If someone wanted to place over 6000 sq/ft of solar panels over my 5000 sq/ft lot I certainly wouldn't do it for free. Plus I'd have to cut down five trees to do so, and that is forbidden by Planners. And I'd be living totally in the panel's shadow. I'd say my lot would be almost totally devalued. So to pay the lot taxes, and rent for the lot, I'd need to collect an additional $2400 in rent per month.

TriMet and PSU seems to have caught up with PDC in disregarding true costs of their newfangled endeavors.

What? That 1% is before annual maintenance costs on their solar "array"? Financing costs are likely 5% annually because TriMet had to borrow money to build it?

Never mind that the life of these panels may be 25 years - about 75 short.

I seriously looked at "solarizing" my home a few years back. I obtained a few proposals, and the result was a 1% annual return (energy savings) on my out of pocket costs, and that was after some cash back from the Energy Trust of Oregon.

I couldn't come to shell out all of that cash, so I declined. I was soon bombarded with calls from Energy Trust and the contractors, all of them telling me "you're not only going to recover 1% of your costs each year, you'll be saving 17% or so on your electric bill, so there really is much more in this for you than you think."

That's how they sell it.

Elvis wept. A massive solar array, in a town where people scream and flee the big yellow hurty thing in the sky when it occasionally appears from behind the clouds? Isn't that like building a ski jump in Dallas?

lw -

PSU ain't paying real estate taxes on that lot. You and I are. Our RE taxes are marginally higher to make up fpr what PSU isn't contributing.

From the Tri Met website:

Our mission

To build and operate the "Total Transit System"

The Total Transit System includes frequent, reliable and comfortable service, easy access to stops and stations, clear customer information, and a safe and secure trip—while ensuring transit equity and environmental justice and moving toward sustainability.

* We strive to make life better for our community by providing high-quality transit service that is safe, dependable, responsive, easy and inviting.
* We believe that we will reach the highest level of service excellence in a work environment where safety is a fundamental value.

First of all, what the heck is "transit equity and environmental justice"?

Second of all, how "sustainable" is this project when it has NO possible chance of EVER paying for itself? Sustainability isn't just about the environment, in my opinion.

First of all, what the heck is "transit equity and environmental justice"?

You think that is bad?

Imagine what it's like to actually work here and be a free thinker!

“The goal of modern propaganda is no longer to transform opinion but to arouse an active and mythical belief”
(Jacques Ellul)

While they are building solar panels the

**real TRIMET**

is captured in this text message I just got from a driver on duty:

"friggen bus sounds like its gonna blow up, I hope it does...doesnt shift...constantly in high rpm and chirps like a bird"

I guess that wouldn't be much good in a press release would it?

Don't worry about the numbers on this project just yet.

The city astronomer is estimating a 20% growth in the amount of sunlight over the next 50 years based on the arrival of a binary star to this region of the galaxy. This means that the solar panels will pay for themselves plus our sun's new companion will also create 1,000 new astronomy jobs in the South Waterfront district.

This project is a perfect example of how stupid the management at TriMet is. They can't even perform a simple return on investment analysis.

The fact that the panels wear out before the project even breaks even is priceless. Is there anyone on the TriMet management team with an IQ higher than room temperature?

Why don't they go ahead and spend all of our money on a solar powered deer baby sculpture while they are at it?

Thanks, Bill -- Ha ha ha! And the Metro al

...And the Metro alchemists are researching how to convert gold into paper.

Hey Al - if you're such a "free thinker" and don't like what TriMet is doing... why are you still working for them? Just curious.

If AL wasn't union he'd been fired a long time ago me thinks.

Have wondered what that steel skeleton was for the past several months. It's at the end terminus of the yellow/green lines by PSU. Tri-Met is already running tracks following a similar curve to head back downtown to the north, so doubt there's much additional property there for the panels.

And, Tri-Met's goin' to make their money back - why, I'll bet electricity costs will be a million times higher by 2035, or whenever the million or so people will have moved here.

Al M's days with TriMet are numbered. He enjoys poking his employer in the eye via the internet. One of these days they'll poke him back with a well deserved pink slip.

How is disagreeing publicly with one's publicly financed employer grounds for dismissal?
And TiMet has not been in the business of efficiently transporting people for a very long time.
It is not Al M who should get the pink slip, it is ALL of his so called superiors who are idiots!

The Oregon National Guard just spent $1M to build a solar panel installation producing as much energy as the engine in a Camry. Looks like the annual return before costs is about $30,000 at best.

Nonny, true that PSU doesn't pay property taxes, and yes that the rest of us make up for PSU. But any legit forensic audit considers the value of real estate to any endeavor.

Another thing that is troubling are some of the unrealistic comments on maintenance costs, or disregarding them, here and at the O.

I've had over 35 years of solar panel experience on my own home. The first maintenance was the computer control panel replacement in the first five years. It cost over 25% of the total solar installation bill. Then about 15 years later to replace the roof underneath, over 33% of initial cost was incurred for the removal and replacement of the roof system. Then there's been two major repair jobs on the roof panels, plus the semi-annual cleaning costs.

You can't disregard the maintenance costs in PSU/TriMet/Oregon Energy Trust calcs. It's another sales job on their part. Maybe Bill has something to say about the binary minds of the sales force.

"“TriMet’s going to be here for a long time. So we’re taking a long view of the investment that we make in solar energy,” said Hastings." Unfortunately and wasting money while doing a poor job as well.

What the news media is NOT reporting is that the $370K that TriMet dropped on the solar panels isn't even the entire cost:

To build the steel structure that surrounds the substation equipment and on which the solar panels will sit on, TriMet blew through $1.2 million - yes, MILLION - on that big ugly steel thing.

So the total project cost is not $'s over $1.5 MILLION!!!

To put it in perspective, TriMet could have purchased 35 brand new buses (at $42,000 local share and the feds paying the rest of the cost). 35 buses, that would have an immediate impact on LOWERING operating costs by reducing maintenance and fuel expense. That would immediately reduce carbon emissions. That would improve the TriMet rider experience (by having buses that just show up and don't break down!)

Instead...TriMet blew $1.5 MILLION on this contraption. And TriMet wants to RAISE MY FARES?!! Not just no...but EFFING NO!!!

Our mission

To build and operate the "Total Transit System"

The Total Transit System includes frequent, reliable and comfortable service, easy access to stops and stations, clear customer information, and a safe and secure trip—while ensuring transit equity and environmental justice and moving toward sustainability.

Does anyone believe that TriMet is meeting its own mission statement with regards to the rail versus bus divide?

The agency says they’re paying for the project with funds remaining from the recently finished Green Line construction, in addition, to an Energy Trust of Oregon rebate and other help from PGE.

The Energy Trust of Oregon means you are paying this part. Check you gas and electric bill. That charge on your invoice called "Public Purpose" goes to the Energy Trust of Oregon.

In the last 12 months, we have paid Public Purpose fees in the amount of $96.23 to the gas and electric companies.

You probably paid a similar amount.

Another thing that is troubling are some of the unrealistic comments on maintenance costs, or disregarding them, here and at the O.

I've had over 35 years of solar panel experience on my own home. The first maintenance was the computer control panel replacement in the first five years. It cost over 25% of the total solar installation bill.

I've been wondering if anybody had even considered the maintenance costs on this puppy. It's why, despite all the ads from SolarCity and other companies hawking their "free" systems, I haven't bit.

It doesn't make a lot of sense now, and I can't imagine why anybody would have gone with it 35 years ago. I'd figured on just the costs associated with the roof system, as leaves and crud tend to build up around the panels, which will hasten deterioration. As well, I assumed there would be a need to clean the panels themselves several times each year in order to maximize solar capacity.

The computer control panel hadn't even occurred to me.


At least they give you "free" stuff - toxic bulbs and an "energy-saving shower-head and aerator" (translation: have a couple of sodas, and you can pee a stronger stream than you'll get out of these things).

Through state legislation, tariffs and other requirements, Energy Trust is funded exclusively by customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural and Cascade Natural Gas. Customers of all four utilities pay a dedicated percentage of their utility bills to support a variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy services and programs.

(Translation: We've already taken your money. Neener, neener).

I had an Energy Audit done. What a joke. First of all, it took 8 months to get someone to come out. They scheduled it 6 months out from my original call, claiming they needed to have other houses in my area schedule an audit as well, as it "wasn't efficient" to come all the way to Sandy otherwise. They even suggested I try to sign up my neighbors to speed things along. No one showed up for that first appointment - probably because it was schedule 6 months previously. Good thing I had that day off anyway.

When the "audit" did finally occur two months later, they sent out a 21 year old girl. No offense - I am female, and there is no task they do that a woman could not perform - but this cute, young thing sure did curl up her nose at the thought of getting down into my crawlspace to check out our insulation (or lack thereof). I took pity on her and told her not to bother. She was very relieved.

So essentially, Miss Priss checked the temp of my hot water with a handy little instrument that measured it out of the tap; and as someone above mentioned, gave me three of those curly bulbs and two awful lo-flow shower heads - which we did not install either.

Wow. I couldn't have figured that out on my own. What a handy service. I'm thrilled that money is also going to pay for Tri-Met boondoggles as well.

“This is a very important pilot project for us,” said TriMet architect Bob Hastings. “This really has allowed us to understand how solar energy can work for TriMet.”

According to my TriMet-riding college student daughter: "Some projects shouldn't move beyond theoretical."

Hello TriMet architect Bob Hastings, this is reality calling. When you spend $370,000 on something that provides you with an annual savings of $3700, it isn't a good investment. No need to actually waste the money to find that out. It is simple math. Even for an architect.

Oh how I long for the old Rose City Transit days....good cheap service, nice drivers, on time busses, that were clean....sigh!

Perhaps the huge solar array was designed to give the impression the "Green" line runs on Solar Energy like the Springfield Monorail episode on The Simpsons.


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
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Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
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Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
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Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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