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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Our "green" future

My goodness -- can it get any uglier? The screwiness of Portland government is reaching new depths every day.

Comments (35)

Relax, man. It only cost $75,000.

Yes, it can. Remember the Deer Baby.

Hey, if they think it's "cool", then why not go for it?

The solution to Portland's waste-water problem is simple. The sewers were not designed to support paved streets. Thus a return to well maintained and mountain-bikeable gravel roadways is the answer.

What this burg needs is a publication that doesn't just re-print press releases.

Nice to know - If one poor taste indivdual in city govt thinks its cool, we pay for it.

What the heck is so cool abot bike racks especially whne juxtaposed against a water treatment plant.

God, at least elect someone with discriminating tastes.

Abe, I think the newly announced policy of not maintaining streets is all part of that plan to take us back to the dirt paths of our ancestors..

Amazing we are not shown the numbers about the actual volume of water that is intercepted and evaporated. Or even the fraction.

And then you have to water it during the non-rainy season. I saw the bioswales watering guy last year watering the... er, stuff in the basin.

"We thought it would be cool." Not, "we thought it would be useful," or "we thought it would be practical," or "we thought it would be a good use of money."

Can we PLEASE get some adults down at City Hall?

I wonder how many potholes you can fill with 75 grand?

Nine, 55 gallon oil drums cut in half for $ 75,000 ? Not bad work if you can get it!

"Amazing we are not shown the numbers about the actual volume of water that is intercepted and evaporated. Or even the fraction."

I've wondered about that. The surface area of the bioswales is so small relative to the total paved surface area that I can't see how they would make much difference to runoff.

I hope that they actually do some good, but it wouldn't surprise me at all to discover that this was another expensive, "symbolic" act by CoP that doesn't actually accomplish anything useful.

Except remove parking spaces and create hazards for pedestrians.

Oy. I like and use the covered parking outside Breakside (great brewery, highly recommended!) but 75k for that? Yikes.

By comparison there's apparently a two year waiting list for bike corrals (http://bikeportland.org/2011/04/13/behind-portlands-bike-corral-backlog-51332). Each of which costs around 3k. So instead of helping out local businesses with 25 new bike corrals there's just this one covered bike corral. What a waste.

Holy Boondoggle Batman! $75 K for a bike rack with aerial bioswale???

How about a really cute condo with a Lake O address, pool and fireplace for $74,9?

"Oil Sheen" is a new color name for iridescen -cool. Color names used to relate to nature like Pearl, Sienna or Sky Blue. Wonder what other gritty urban colors the hipsters will come up with. Mind is spinning.

Don't worry Jack it's going to get far worse before it gets better.

How much rain water does a 50 square foot structure keep out of the storm sewer?
Where is the funding to maintain this $75000 bike rack? In 2 years time, the original plantings will have died and weeds will have taken over.
What a waste of money.

Those eco-roofs aren't supposed to take water out of the storm water, that is what bio-swales do. The roof plantings are meant to slow down the water input to the storm drains during hard rains to prevent floods (hold your laughs), and provide a less reflective roof surface to lessen the heat island effect of urban areas. There might be other functions such as beauty (go ahead and chuckle), but one huge problem is that the roof plants, though drought tolerant, tend to die and need to be watered and re-planted. Hardly that eco-friendly after all. OK, now laugh. Mind you, I don't care what someone wants to put on their roofs as I am not paying extra for it.

Excuse me, that should have been:
as long as I am not paying extra for it.

Jack -
You ask "...can it get any uglier" and the answer of course is yup. Just when you think you've seen it all, just when you think they've hit bottom - bang, they pull out the shovel and keep digging. It's an amazing feat performed on a regular basis. The real question is, when on God's green earth will it start getting prettier?

Jack: Thanks for the tip.

Kent Craford
Citizens for Water Accountability Trust & Reform

Yep, I'll just chime in that I think that is a great project, and an appropriate use of government funds. I think it's really very attractive, too, and the price tag doesn't even offend me.

Prototypes always cost more, and we really can't honestly say we shouldn't try new things just because the first one is too expensive.

Stormwater management is an extremely important issue for our rainy environment. The big pipe was a great investment, but these street-and-roof-level innovations are just as important. This one is combining function with awareness and experimentation. I'm content with Portland being the city that blows it's money so other cities can benefit from our education. I pay my taxes and I'll never sell my house in Portland. Plenty of people want to live here because of that environmental ethic.

And no, I'm not a government employee.

Here's an idea, Huck: if you like the stuff so much, why don't you pay for it and leave the rest of us alone?

Go back and look at the picture again. There's a bird on it. . . . .

Hey Huck, how's that kool-aid tasting? Good Lord man, while the idea might have some value, the way and expense that they are incurring for this thing is beyond stupid. Many of us could do this in our backyards for less than $50, shy diverting it to the mosquito patch ... er, bio-swale (what jokes).

Max, we've all been paying for improper stormwater management for years. And I do pay for it as a taxpayer, federal, state, and county. How about if you don't like it you get involved in the democratic process that elects people who think it's a good idea to build these.

Hey Native Oregonian, how's that bitter viewpoint tasting? The whole point of the project is to get people to do it for $50 in their backyard! Most people don't know they need to, or that they're capable of it, and projects like that make a visible example for people to see and talk about.

Bioswales are not jokes, by the way. Any old farmer worth his salt knows that all these GPS flattened fields don't hold up the water from the rivers the way all the old wetlands, ponds, sloughs, did. Those "mosquito patches" you so eloquently refer to, are incredibly vital ecologically and help prevent and minimize flooding.

Minimizing the negative impact of the built environment is arguably the most important thing a city can do to remedy the errors of the past 150 years. It's not going to be cheap. I wish liberals would just be honest about it. We're going to do things the most expensive way possible if that's the right way to do it.

I don't thin anyine should be content with having their money blown on experimental projects so other cities can benefit. This eco-roof bike rack lot is not experimental - it is just expensive. What new storm water system is being tried out here? The green roof? The project manager said she thought it would be "cool" and wanted it to be "visible" and "artful". A wall mural would have accomplished these goals. No, for $75k of OPM, the bar has to be very high and the expense must be the best value for the money spent. Sorry pal, this does not meet the sniff test. If it were done with private money, I wouldn't have a problem. As far as looks, to each his own.

"Those "mosquito patches" you so eloquently refer to, are incredibly vital ecologically"

You're kidding, right?

Nolo - a wall mural only achieves the art criteria. The experiment is taking the bioswale concept up, and using it as a roof. The "best value" criteria you're suggesting would limit our ability to be innovative, as it would eliminate from discussion anything that doesn't have an established track record. We absolutely are content with experimenting so other cities can benefit. Here's why - all the water that flows through Portland started in or flows through other large cities. If they clean their water using our models, we benefit. If we make it cheaper for them by eating the planning costs, all the better. Again, if you don't like it, pack up or get involved.

Random - are you kidding? You seriously don't understand why stormwater runoff is supposed to trickle slowly through sloughs and wetlands before entering a river? A wetland, any low depression that holds water, is not defined by size. And mosquitos provide forage for bats. I certainly hope you have a bat box on your property. I also hope you don't use synthetic fertilizers.


Take a look at the upper left column here,
Your share of long-term debt of the City of Portland is $10,921.34.
This city is not taking care of basics, so these type of projects take away from that and all the experimentation, etc. add to our debt.

Are you aware that not everything done years ago was done in error? Our Bull Run Water System has 100 years of proven use and actually is sustainable. A real treasure that unfortunately our city has deferred maintenance on it.

My question, is it out of unawareness or what -
why do those who are eco this and that and who promote sustainable not mentioning or concerned about our sustainable drinking water system?
In case you don't know, it is in jeopardy and would be a tragedy if not taken care of
and instead changed into some type of very costly corporate designed system.

We, yes, as in those who support this project, clearly not including nolo.

Clinamen, what are you getting at? Of course not everything done in the past was done in error. Not only that, but not even harmful things were done necessarily in error. At one point it actually made sense to just dump sewage in the Willamette because the population wasn't big enough to make a difference. Same with diking wetlands and building highways and suburbs. It's all a matter of population. You have to keep an ecosystem capable of supporting the population. As the population grows, you actually need to improve the ecosystem if you've degraded it for years. The water system in Portland is pretty good still. The best thing we could do is use recycled water for non-potable uses like watering lawns and flushing toilets. This system is used in cities around the world and would make it unnecessary to use the Columbia wellfield.

"Random - are you kidding? You seriously don't understand why stormwater runoff is supposed to trickle slowly through sloughs and wetlands before entering a river?"

If you think that Sam Adams' bioswales are "incredibly vital ecologically"", I don't know what to say to you.

Well, they're not Sam Adams' bioswales. They're a pretty universal water management tool. Just because they're new to Portland's neighborhoods and streets doesn't mean they haven't been used effectively for flood control all over the world. There are some beautiful examples on Johnson Creek, just an example of something you can see in the city, easily from the Springwater Corridor trail.

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