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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Portland now charging for street lights

If you think the city is not in decline, consider that neighbors in high-crime areas that lack street lights must come up with $500 if they want one. No money, no light. It's sad.

Comments (14)

I bet if they asked for bike lanes or bioswales it'd be a different matter.

The obvious solution is to create more Urban Renewal districts.

Downtown Portland should be the first place to receive any extra charges, if not for new installations, for the amount of additional electricity used. The amount of lumens is far greater than most other areas of the City. Just stand in Pioneer Square and count the number of light standards per intersection. EIGHT LIGHT STANDARDS with TWO FIXTURES EACH. That is SIXTEEN TIMES the amount of light per intersection as compared to many of the high crime areas. Equity anybody?

If we could just get rid of the word equity in all conversations, it would force people to really think about what it is they want and be prepared to ask for it in a way that isn't covered in a coat of political correctness.

As for the downtown lights, I don't know if they are declared historic, but they are part of the fabric of the city that needs to be preserved. I am pretty sure city engineers have installed energy-saving lights so the use of elec. is not really an issue.

But crime is. Citizens should not have to prove their neighborhood is already a hotbed of crime when prevention is better. And doesn't the city keep stats on crime? Isn't that where citizens would go for the data? How does one prove that but for the bad light no crime would occur? If the city let go the idiot who thought up this program, there would be enough money for 200 new street lights per year. Job done.

If you can advise total compensation costs of the ONI Director, the Crime Prevention Coordinator, the Bureau of Transportation Engineer, and the Engineering Technician (all of which are working on this important street lighting initiative), we can divide that expense by $500 to see how many streetlights could be fully subsidized if we fired them all.

I would estimate it's between 800 and 900 additional streetlights. This is the kind of math that made Mitt Romney very wealthy.

But streetlights don't vote, and union members do. Poorly illuminated crime scenes are Portland's future, and Mayor Jeffy will only make it worse.

Mister Tee,
You left our the bureau of sustainability! And a few dozen (gross?) planners.


I'm STILL trying to figure out why the City of Portland felt it was so important and necessary to replace all of the light fixtures on the pedestrian walkway on S.W. 3rd Avenue from Market south to I-405, on Harrison Street... Most of the new light fixtures are identical to the old ones, and required new foundations and conduit, so a lot of excavation was involved. On Harrison, the former decorative "lantern" fixtures were replaced with the less desirable globe fixtures common elsewhere.

And to what benefit? I have yet to figure out.

On Erik H.'s comment - when the South Auditorium URA was in existence (and eliminating a diverse downtown neighborhood) PDC crapped out on paying for the lights. The conduit was coming apart and the city used stimulus to fix "some" of it. The folks in the neighborhood (developers) wanted the same kind of lights they had before.

On the program itself - yeah, it sucks. But keep in mind, TommyBoy and the Mayor have driven the bureau into the ground. Looking at their budget - they were actually cutting street lighting. So of course you gotta pay! You don't vote enough or give campaign contributions enough of fluff the ego of the guys in charge.

This is Portland after all. We're the Tacoma of Oregon!

The Cully bike retrofit that virtually no one uses could use some more lights--sure the city's looking into it!

I clinked Jack's link and the first thing I saw was:

--- City of Portland logo------
Welcome to the new look & feel
of this City bureau website!

We've begun moving a selection of bureau websites to this improved design, and we're interested in your feedback.

To provide feedback, please click on the orange Beta button found at the top of any page. Thanks in advance for helping us create the best website for our city.

- eGovernment and Bureau teams, City of Portland

The only thing missing was, "Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line and the first available operator will be with you in a moment. Your expected wait time is....................."

I guess that means the city is right behind the "Oregonian"?

And if you are re-doing the facade of a building and the city decides the side walk needs repair you pay for a new light too!


Yes, no question, the street lights downtown are of a historic design and part of the fabric of the city. The fact is, the city owns the design. My point is that less is more for the rest of us in that four light standards per intersection with two light fixtures each would suffice. A few years back when Naito Parkway was redone, many of the same type of two fixture light standards were removed – in particular those in the center median. Eight light standards with two light fixtures each per intersection is excessive, especially when compared to most intersections throughout the city that only have one overhead cobra style streetlight, if it is working.

Likewise, equity as used in my previous post was not about so-called political correctness. The point being made was a financial one in that if a person pays for a product or service, they shouldn’t expect a chunk of the money to be siphoned off to subsidize a pet project, used for a different product or service, or in this case, to subsidize an excess of service downtown while the rest of the city only receives a minimum level of service; and now that comes with an extra charge to increase that minimum level of service.


TR - it would, indeed, be equitable for the city to spread the benefits as well as the pain to all citizens. Treating everyone and every neighborhood equally is the very least a government can do. But it is politically advantageous to cater to those who can help you.

I respectfully disagree about the wasted energy in the street lights downtown. It's a "no matter" kind of issue. We have bigger fish out there to catch and the minitue gets in the way of the main message about the extreme waste and debt and backward priorities.

Paying $500 for a new light is just the beginning. Check out Portland's byzantine criteria that determine whether the light is appropriate for the proposed location. An intersection that is dead black at night, thanks to foliage blocking the nearest light, can't qualify even if I am willing to pay the freight. The new light would be a couple of feet too close the existing one. Now if there were more accidents, there'd be a team of city workers on site to gather data, "proving" that the intersection is dark at night.

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