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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 10, 2012 8:46 AM. The previous post in this blog was Those green, sustainable shopping bags?. The next post in this blog is Bad news from Paul Allen. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

All sewer lines are not created equal

Legend Dan, Dean the Dream, and the rest of the crew at the Portland sewer bureau have decided to back off all their rough, tough handling of homeowners whose sewer lines are out of compliance with city rules. Now it appears that the owners of the offending pipes will get off the hook for a mere $5,000, whereas previously the threat was to put them through much heavier expense.

Now, normally when City Hall lightens up, we think it's a good thing. But a reader reminds us that 20 years ago, when the state DEQ and then-city councilman Earl the Pearl were forcing sewers on the poor saps in what was then known as mid-county, they weren't nearly as nice. The reader points out:

During the Mid-County Sewer Project, people who were forced to upgrade and connect constantly said, "If these were some close-in properties owned by people with college degrees and connections, you would find a way to make this deal better." Over and over, city staff said, "Not true. This is the best deal we can do under the city charter and DEQ regulations." Many long faces were pulled by city staff before the City Council, the Mid-County Sewer Commission, the county commission and the Environmental Quality Commission on this question.

Now, here comes a bunch of close-in properties owned by people with college degrees and connections, and guess what, they are finding ways to make the deal substantially better.

I think they are shooting to run this through while the news noise is all about the primary election, and hope nobody notices.

The reader's got a point. Twenty years ago, what is $5,000 today would have been only $3,050 pre-inflation. A lot of folks out in mid-county got socked for way more than that when they were required to disconnect their cesspools and hook up to Portland's delightful sewer system.

The new magic buzzword in Portland government these days is "equity." Where is the equity in that?

Comments (11)

Thanks for the memories ... I spent $13,000 hooking up to the mid-county sewer ... on a $42,000 house ... good times ...

One thing forgotten about Mary Nolan is that she was BES Director 1989-1993. Not a good legacy.

Of course it could also be that the costs for such projects increase as you go farther from the city center, and that technological improvements in the past 20 years have cut the costs. I have no idea if either of those is true, just pointing out that there could be other reasons for the reduced costs for people in inner SE vs. outer SE.

The new magic buzzword in Portland government these days is "equity."

You forget, govt is all about back-n-fill. Perfectly good cesspools (unless you can prove it is contaminating the ground water) get disconnected to a sewer system that is incapable of handling the flow.

Once the sewer system is incapable then we float a bond, hire more govt employees and raise rates to cover it all for the sewer.

Then we discover it still overflows in heavy rains.

A lot of folks out in mid-county got socked for way more than that when they were required to disconnect their cesspools and hook up to Portland's delightful sewer system.

In hindsight, folks in that area think that they were targeted to do and got "socked" to pay this, in order for the city/developers to bring in future development! So they had to pay and then pay again with the loss of their nice neighborhoods.

It looks like they were taken advantage of, very cruel. . . and when some candidates say they want to come back out to east county to make good?? ...one can only wonder what that would be about! Hard to unscramble an egg!!
...unless the plans are to beat it to death!
That would mean many more that used to make their home there would have to leave. Watch out for swaths of single family homes being targeted for blight because the land beneath them is more valuable. Especially don't trust Charlie Hales as he is part of the cabal that rezoned some areas and allowed the downward spiral.

Not so sure what the others would do either when they talk about the east Portland area.
Jefferson is not from the area, my perception is that this Grant High School, Harvard graduate found it easy to come to the area to get himself into his career of politics.

The folks in mid county got an even more raw deal than anyone here apparently remembers.

Part of the whole sewer shenannigans there was getting people to sign up for joining the city. If I recall, you got a better "deal" if you if you signed up to become part of Portland.

My parents and grandparents (who lived in the city at the time but still weren't on the sewer were included) both paid big bucks for their sewer hookups. My parents aren't even on the sewer. All of the sewage in the neighborhood goes into a common cesspool in the middle of the street that gets pumped out on a regular basis.

Some deal. They paid big money for their sewer hookup. They ended up paying more in property taxes because the rate is much higher in Portland. They had to switch from the much better police service Multnomah County provided. Worst of all they ended up getting less of other services since 4th and Main has always considered anybody east of I-205 not worthy.

Over around SE Wichita in Clackamas county it's happening again. Wichita south of Johnson Creek Blvd had sewers and a strip of asphalt installed within the last couple years. Now, houses on that street with cesspools can be annexed to Milwaukie now or pay more later. I looked at buying a house there for $85,000 and calculated that if I hurried I could connect to the sewer for a $3500 fee plus maybe as little as $6000-7000 for the plumber. Too much money.

Has anybody else been looking at composting toilets? Reduce your water (and sewer) bills.

Interesting, but I don't think this is about helping college-educated urbanites as a class. Rather, it's about helping (at least) one old-money heir and his family.

The mission of government is to steal as much money and power from the populace. There are literally millions of government drones trying their hardest every day to think of a new tax, fee, or regulation designed to further their aim.

If you keep believing in lie that gov't is somehow abstractly beneficial, you're going to get the government you deserve, good and hard.

Not worthy, or worth a whole lot more with rampant infill, more flag lots = more property taxes.
My parents owned property there as well.
I know the area, what it used to be before being annexed into the city. Big mistake!
What a shame!

I can think of one reason they forced all those east county folks onto the sewer after they were annexed into the city.
The city needed the added customers to add to the coffers to then squander on stupid "me" projects the polls dream up.


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