Detail, east Portland photo, courtesy Miles Hochstein / Portland Ground.

For old times' sake
The bojack bumper sticker -- only $1.50!

To order, click here.

Excellent tunes -- free! And on your browser right now. Just click on Radio Bojack!

E-mail us here.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 7, 2012 11:42 AM. The previous post in this blog was Press release meter reset. The next post in this blog is Stay the course. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



Law and Taxation
How Appealing
TaxProf Blog
Mauled Again
Tax Appellate Blog
A Taxing Matter
Josh Marquis
Native America, Discovered and Conquered
The Yin Blog
Ernie the Attorney
Above the Law
The Volokh Conspiracy
Going Concern
Bag and Baggage
Wealth Strategies Journal
Jim Hamilton's World of Securities Regulation
World of Work
The Faculty Lounge
Lowering the Bar
OrCon Law

Hap'nin' Guys
Tony Pierce
Parkway Rest Stop
Along the Gradyent
Dwight Jaynes
Bob Borden
Dingleberry Gazette
The Red Electric
Iced Borscht
Jeremy Blachman
Dean's Rhetorical Flourish
Straight White Guy
As Time Goes By
Dave Wagner
Jeff Selis
Alas, a Blog
Scott Hendison
The View Through the Windshield
Appliance Blog
The Bleat

Hap'nin' Gals
My Whim is Law
Lelo in Nopo
Attorney at Large
Linda Kruschke
The Non-Consumer Advocate
10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place
A Pig of Success
Attorney at Large
Margaret and Helen
Kimberlee Jaynes
Cornelia Seigneur
And Sew It Goes
Mile 73
Rainy Day Thoughts
That Black Girl
Posie Gets Cozy
Cat Eyes
Rhi in Pink
Ragwaters, Bitters, and Blue Ruin
Rose City Journal
Type Like the Wind

Portland and Oregon
Isaac Laquedem
Rantings of a [Censored] Bus Driver
Jeff Mapes
Vintage Portland
The Portlander
South Waterfront
Amanda Fritz
O City Hall Reporters
Guilty Carnivore
Old Town by Larry Norton
The Alaunt
Bend Blogs
Lost Oregon
Cafe Unknown
Tin Zeroes
David's Oregon Picayune
Mark Nelsen's Weather Blog
Travel Oregon Blog
Portland Daily Photo
Portland Building Ads
Portland Food and
Dave Knows Portland
Idaho's Portugal
Alameda Old House History
MLK in Motion

Retired from Blogging
Various Observations...
The Daily E-Mail
Saving James
Portland Freelancer
Furious Nads (b!X)
Izzle Pfaff
The Grich
Kevin Allman
AboutItAll - Oregon
Lost in the Details
Worldwide Pablo
Tales from the Stump
Whitman Boys
Two Pennies
This Stony Planet
1221 SW 4th
I am a Fish
Here Today
What If...?
Superinky Fixations
The Rural Bus Route
Another Blogger
Mikeyman's Computer Treehouse
Portland Housing Blog

Wonderfully Wacky
Dave Barry
Borowitz Report
Stuff White People Like
Worst of the Web

Valuable Time-Wasters
My Gallery of Jacks
Litterbox, On the Prowl
Litterbox, Bag of Bones
Litterbox, Scratch
Ride That Donkey
Singin' Horses
Rally Monkey
Simon Swears
Strong Bad's E-mail

Oregon News
The Oregonian
Portland Tribune
Willamette Week
The Sentinel
Southeast Examiner
Northwest Examiner
Sellwood Bee
Mid-County Memo
Vancouver Voice
Eugene Register-Guard
OPB - Portland
Salem Statesman-Journal
Oregon Capitol News
Portland Business Journal
Daily Journal of Commerce
Oregon Business
Portland Info Net
McMinnville News Register
Lake Oswego Review
The Daily Astorian
Bend Bulletin
Corvallis Gazette-Times
Roseburg News-Review
Medford Mail-Tribune
Ashland Daily Tidings
Newport News-Times
Albany Democrat-Herald
The Eugene Weekly
Portland IndyMedia
The Columbian

The Beatles
Bruce Springsteen
Joni Mitchell
Ella Fitzgerald
Steve Earle
Joe Ely
Stevie Wonder
Lou Rawls

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Joy to you and me

We're still basking in the glow of some good news that we got on Friday: Our Portland water bill is going up only 11% this coming year! All right!

And what are we getting for our money? Cleaner water? Better water? It seems as though we're getting a lot of mega-pork projects that aren't needed. Burying reservoirs that don't need to be buried. Planning treatment systems that don't need to be built.

Why are we doing these things? Besides the fact that you-know-who says so?

For the money they're blowing, you could probably replace the lead pipes in tens of thousands of houses within the city limits. Keep a lot of plumbers and sheet rock people employed, too. But no. The money all goes to some sweetheart engineers and contractors in big corporations with big talk and big blueprints. They want to own the water systems eventually, and wait 'til you see the bill you pay then.

Already the city bureaucrats are urging us to compare our water bills with our cable TV and phone bills -- two of the ultimate ripoffs. Eventually you'll pay Pepsi to take a shower. For now, just pungle up your 11% extra and try not to think too much about it. Have you toured the Water House yet?

Comments (28)

I just got a bill for a vacant house with no (zero, nada, nothing, meter turned off) and it was $60.

SIXTY dollars!!!

But the increase is smaller than they threatened it would be and they're going to start a monthly billing cycle so bills will appear smaller.

These clowns are probably expecting thank you cards.

Our household does not have a cable bill, and our phone bill is never more than $60.00 a month. So there is really no comparison.

Two common features to cable and phones: they are optional, and have competition. To date I have yet to meet a human that is able to live without water.

Also, the cost of production for the Portland water system is next to nothing since it's rain water collected in the mountains, marginally treated and pretty much transported by gravity.

I wrote about this awhile back where I wondered whether they do street averaging in sending out bills. Years ago, we as a smaller household had essentially the same bill as a split-level home across the street that had a large family and a swimming pool.

Do they even have meter readers anymore, how equitable is that?
This for a city that wants an Office of Equity?
Maybe they should begin with proper meter readings based on individual use.

As I understand it, the meters start to wear down, and I think the readings are lower as the meters age. A few years ago there were conversations about how old the City's water meters were, and that it would take a lot of money to replace all of the old ones. Would be interesting to see where that thinking is today. Maybe double-digit percentage increases mean not worrying too much about the meters.

I hope no one suggests water "smart meters" that can be remotely turned off by some "controlling authority" when you've used your allowed water allotment...which will be set based on number in household, age, pre-authorized allotment, etc.

Here in the Reno area our monthly water bill in January - a low useage month, since we have a pool in use during May through September - was $24.21.

And our sewer bill was $88.73 for 90 days or $29.58 per month. And we entertain 2-3X per month...

We should be so lucky to be served by a private, state regulated water company. Instead, here in stump town you have the worst of public/private partnership where public government officials get indirect kick backs by letting overpriced construction contracts; kickbacks coming through the form of campaign contributions (including union bosses directing construction union dues back to city politicians) and future job opportunities in the well rewarded private partner firm.

As for cable and phones, who cares as its an apples and oranages comparison. I don't even have cable. The real comparison should be with water and sewer rates in other Metropolitan cities; and with our local area imcomes (the ability to pay a water and sewer bill). I can tell our incomes generally aren't increasing at much more than 3% per year (last ten years), and not the 6% routine (and now 11%) annual water and sewer bill increase. Commissar Leonard who should be held accountable is leaving the plantation with his PERS loot in hand (He's not as good as Clint Eastwood's Blonde in the "Good, Bad, and Ugly" though).

"compare our water bills with our cable TV and phone bills"

OK, Randy, fine.

Phone landline - I had Qwest at $30+/month. Bought a OOMA box and now paying $4.25/month

Cable TV - Unplugged my $60/month Comcast and got Netflix for $8/month. Very happy.

Meanwhile, PWB gets the water for free from the skies last time I checked and they really haven't done any capital projects I am aware of. All this for $40M a year more than 4 years ago. So here comes another $10M/year bump.

Right you are to be concerned about this.
Is this why they might be "phasing" out of using our meters,
people will be upset about the charges and voila new "smart meters?"
Hope not, but I wouldn't put it past the PWB to be heading there.

A big chunk of your water bill in Portland is based on the square footage of your lot for "storm water run off". Hence the $60 per month even though you aren't using a drop of H2O. Now that's weird...and wrong.

That's our famous "rain tax", another sketchy creation of the Portland Robber Bureau.

$300/yr. to our HOA includes water, road maintenance, snow removal, and a gate to keep the knuckleheads out. Glad I don't live in the city.

All the city commissioners need to be replaced. This arrogance is just obscene. I am going to send a contribution and perhaps even volunteer for Mr. Fernandez. The backlash is coming.

All well and good, but you left out one TEENY little detail: The sewer bill is also going up (by 6%) - so the combined increase on your combined water/sewer bill is actually a modest 17%. Sweet, eh?

The math doesn't work that way, but between the two of them, yes, it's nasty. At least with the sewer, we got something -- major sewer improvements, which were needed. With the water increases, it's just money for pet projects, and for cozy consultants on projects that aren't needed and in the end won't be required by law.

The water bill is paltry compared to the sewer bill, but at least there's a meter to measure water usage. How do they even measure sewer usage? Is it simply based on water usage?

Boycat--yes, the sewer bill is based on water usage. They figure that what goes in one pipe must come out the other.

In their magnanimous generosity, they do acknowledge that some people water their gardens in the summer, so the sewer rates are based on winter water usage.

BC: they assume that in winter most water goes to sewer (in the two weeks of July that we call "summer", they assume that some water may go onto the lawn, or whatever). Therefore, the bill is based upon estimates of winter consumption. I say "estimates" because my meter is buried under Ponderosa pine needles that have not been disturbed in more than two years.

It's still pretty close to a 20% increase in rates for the year, which fairly well sucks for somebody on a fixed income. And the "big pipe" still runs outfalls of sewage into the river during heavy rains.

You wanna go water-skiing? Great - I'll bring a camera and shoot from onshore.


I believe your math is wrong. If the water bill went up 11% (e.g. old bill was $100, now it's $111), and the sewer bill went up 6% (old bill was $100, now it's $106), then the new combined rate IS NOT 17%.

Rather, the rate increase is 11+6 (the numerator) = $17 divided by the old costs (the denominator), which is $200. That would result in an 8.5% combined water/sewer increase year on year.

Mr. T -

Knowing how much my social security has gone up, that 8.5 % increase still is unaffordable.

Water; sewer; garbage; TriMet,; gasoline.

Everything but income.

How about Tualtin Valley Water District? We cut our water use by half (kids moved out), got new washer that uses a lot less water and....our water bill went up. Not down. Try getting an explanation about that from the TVWD.

2% of the 11% increase is to eliminate quarterly billing. Contrary to Randy's January letter to Council, the WB's citizen's on its Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) did not support eliminating monthly billing.

The BAC unanimously supported retaining quarterly billing (saves the Bureau and ratepayer dollars) while allowing citizens to pay monthly if they choose. The Bureau could do this now with its current billing system (just as is done elsewhere), but in that as they have raised water rates 55% since June 2008, Randy & PWB want water bills to LOOK SMALLER as they increase further. Thus the plan to eliminate quarterly billing.

We haven't heard how much of a BES increase this will involve. The Water Bureau put this in their plan without discussing with BES though it affects their rates as well.

There are many other places where cuts could be made.

With the reservoir plans delayed until after the EPA revision, the Bureau has increased their capital plan. THAT'S RIGHT THEIR CAPITAL PLAN IS HIGHER NOW THAT THE RESERVOIR AND TREATMENT PLANT PROJECTS ARE ON HOLD FOR FIVE YEARS.

Water demand has declined steadily all over the country including here in Portland and at TVWD. As water usage goes down Bureaus who spend like Portland raise rates. In Portland, personnel costs doubled during Randy's reign (2005-2010) according to the 2010 Water Bond doc. With high personnel costs, the lost revenue due to conservation and large water users exiting town is made up with higher rates.

Powell Butte II tank being build now because if one were to believe Randy "we need the storage" was recommended by cozy consultants based on water demand climbing for 24 years straight (1986-2010). Demand has declined steadily during that time- still Randy wrongly argues that we need additional storage. We currently have an excess of 50MG of in town storage as reported by PWB to 2004 Reservoir Panel, 2008 to EPA and Oregon Health Authority and 2011 in PWB book.
When PB is complete there will be an excess of 100MG of in town storage at the cost of $130 million and lower water quality. The PWB says in their 2011 water book that excessive storage results in Water Quality problems

Citizens at a recent council hearing were asking for at a minimum the same delay as NY requested until 2034 on the EPA LT2 rule. Others asked for a Waiver and testified that the rule needs to be appealed.
The Council would only delay LT2 projects until 2020-2021.......
......but instead of being able to stop the spending, wouldn’t you know – Leonard and PWB came up with a big list of other projects to continue the spending in the meanwhile anyway!!!
Financial responsibility/prudence is simply not in their mindset.
When are we going to have a Clackistani Rebellion here?


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
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
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

Clicky Web Analytics