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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 5, 2013 7:47 AM. The previous post in this blog was PDC needs new "urban renewal" district to meet payroll. The next post in this blog is Watch the Portland cops get away with murder. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Fresh air: Novick stirs pot on reservoirs

We're not sure that our nickname of "Napoleon" is going to stick to new Portland commissioner Steve Novick. But the news that he's been quietly running the city's water bureau, including its street toilet program, for the last month sure sounds like he met his Water-loo.

Anyway, Novick's now handed the reins over to the mayor, who will be administering all the city bureaus for a while. Maybe the rookie will get it back later this year.

We hope so, because one of the things Novick did in his brief interim tenure was to take another run at the bureaucrats in Salem who are forcing the city to cover its reservoirs. Replacing the reservoirs with underground tanks was a pet project of Novick's predecessor, Admiral Randy, and while the city has gone through the motions of petitioning the state for an exemption or a delay, it's been obvious that City Hall has actually welcomed the excruciatingly expensive and utterly unnecessary cover mandate. The state health authority, no doubt reading the Admiral's clearly legible body language, so far has held the line.

Interestingly, those rulings were made back when Gail Shibley was one of the head honchos at the state health agency. But now she's the chief of staff to the mayor of Portland, who's desperately trying to run a city with a cash flow that's already been frittered away on debt for the Admiral's toys. Perhaps in her new role, Shibley can join Novick in getting the state to back off.

Alternatively, maybe the city's extensive lobbying crew can convince the legislature to intervene and let the city off the hook. Perhaps they could work it in between repealing Measure 5 and preserving the corruption known as "urban renewal."

It was interesting to read the dialogue between Spineless Jelly Fish and water bureau expedition leader David Shaff about why Portland hasn't gotten the same deal that Rochester, N.Y., has managed to get:

"There's nothing that we've learned in the Rochester application that would give us a basis to say, reconsider here in Oregon?" Commissioner Nick Fish asked during the Dec. 12 meeting. "Was there a different argument or a new argument or new evidence that would give us basis to seek reconsideration here?"

"No," Shaff responded. "As a matter of fact, I think we have a better case," he said, noting that Portland received a variance from treating water for cryptosporidium.

Shaff told the City Council that his bureau argued rising costs and broad expenses to state regulators, "just like Rochester did."

"If we were in New York, it's very possible we would have gotten an extension from the state agency. But we didn't," Shaff said in December. "We're in Oregon, and it was Oregon that said no."

What a load. Rochester got an exemption because it really wanted one. The Admiral didn't want one, and everybody knew it. Including Shibley. And including Fish, who along with Shaff was obviously providing cover for his bosom buddy Randy. Well, Randy's gone now. Maybe Shaff and Fish will be gone soon as well. Let's hope that Novick was sincere, and that this time somebody through the looking glass in the state capital will listen.

Comments (14)

It's always a little scary to say you're impressed with politicians, but, in my opinion, Hales and Novick have been gold so far. They could be the Starsky and Hutch who save Portland.

It just feels different around here like the adults are driving the station wagon again. (Hey, when you bring up Starsky and Hutch, you don't worry if the station wagon reference is dated.)

One of the mysterious things about leadership is how it can set up a force field, and - not to be cold to Sam and Randy, now that they're gone - but they didn't feel like leaders to me. They were just the most vocal patients in the therapy group.

Jack, you hit the nail on the head. When it comes to avoiding this $300 million make-work project with no demonstrable health benefit, the decision has always been the City's. Where there's a will, there's a way. The last Council hadn't the will. Steve Novick does. And for ratepayers sake, let's hope the Mayor and his new Chief of Staff do too--they have the power to solve this once and for all. The question is, will the Mayor take this above the unelected bureaucrats, and engage the Governor?

A big thank you to Steve Novick. He has been a real go getter on this issue, wasting no time. Good followup action by the Mayor will be critical to achieving a successful outcome.

We look forward to working with Steve, the Mayor, and the full Council to see this through, protecting our grand open reservoir system and ratepayer's pocketbooks.

Your assessment of the situation is right on.

If only someone had gotten out in front of this issue years ago. What we needed was a columnist who could combine humor with a cynical view of city spending - someone who could see through the phony numbers being thrown around and warn the city about the future.

You know, sort of a forerunner to Jack Bog's Blog:

Nice writing Bill.... "The second plan is that we chance it. Sure, we add a bunch more surveillance cameras and hire some people to monitor the screens, but we keep the beauty of the parks."

And there has only been one drunk who pissed in the drinking water since. (OK, that we know of... can't monitor the cams all the time.)

That is a small price to pay for all that money saved. Portland can just factor it into the equation.

Jack, is it just a coincidence that your right hand ad column has National Tank advertising their plastic water tanks with underground tanks featured? Better yet, at 40% off, and shipping included?

Thanks, Harry. My comment was not to imply that I have Jack's understanding of the financial stuff - not even close.
But to all those weasels out there who called me a sycophant for appearing on this blog, this is your official cue to go f*uck yourself. Jack and I happen to be kindred spirits.

Now back to the topic of underground reservoirs: I always felt a duck you can see is better than a rat you cannot.

The issue that continues to be overlooked is the science of the open reservoirs, Bull Run treatment, and EPA LT2. EPA said “it will be the science that determines the ultimate outcome” and we agree. This all should have been finished years ago if a handful of organizations hadn’t gotten us into the “variance” process that was based on politics not science. Over the last decade, my paper “Public Health Benefits of Open Reservoirs” helped provide understanding of the public health functionality of the reservoirs, not just for aesthetics. I’ve written about the “no need for added Bull Run treatment” too.
Our next step needs to be a complete “waiver” from EPA LT2 through the Safe Drinking Water Act, papers I’ve already written, outlining the scientific rationale for obtaining one, for Bull Run treatment and the reservoirs. EPA got it scientifically wrong. We thank Commissioner Novick, but we need to move forward on the science of the waiver I can provide now. It will be the only answer for a long term permanent solution without the politics.

Scott Fernandez M.Sc.biology/microbiology

Scott Fernandez is a water wonk. Nobody during the last campaign came close to his expertise. Hales and Novick should bring him in for a meeting and hear him out.

For more try this:

I have to agree with Scott Fernandez on the "waiver" aspect. Seems the "variance" has not stopped the Water Bureau from building tanks on Powell Butte, so what good has it done?

It is amazing how politicians can start doing the right thing about curbing unhealthy and misguided pork projects when the cookie jar is empty.

And perhaps there is an dawning understanding that our water supply is not only uniquely efficient as is, but pretty damn healthy when you get the Sun involved to keep it clean.

Seems the "variance" has not stopped the Water Bureau from building tanks on Powell Butte, so what good has it done?

That project cost over $130 million.

The question is, will the Mayor take this above the unelected bureaucrats, and engage the Governor?

The LT2 regulation is a federal rule and our Bull Run Water is in a federally protected watershed.

Let us add Senator Merkley into the mix here to align with Senator Schumer in NY to get our sustainable Bull Run Water System the Waiver it deserves. Sending the matter to the state again needs to be watched carefully as in the past in my opinion it has just been a run around situation with some in the state too closely aligned with the political scene here in Portland.

Scott Fernandez,M.Sc.biology/microbiology is the one who needs to be listened to here. These type of decisions ought to be based on science and our community should be assured that science is what will prevail here. He has been advocating for a Waiver and understands the importance of it.

People need to understand the difference between a variance and a Waiver. Leonard, PWB and the council have liked that avenue of the variance because it allowed them to continue the spending, and in the final analysis is a temporary measure. Our community needs the stability of our sustainable Bull Run Water System that a Waiver would provide.

Yes, hats off to Mr. Novick for his apparent interest in heading this off at the pass. For the moment, I'll favor his presence on City Council over the U.S. Senate, especially since Merkely appears to be on the right track. Meanwhile, along with Mr. Hales, they need to put an immediate stop to all current efforts to the contrary. I'm counting on them and Fritz to carry the ball now.

As for the science backing this issue, Scott Fernandez is certainly right, and that fact has been obvious from day one, over a decade ago. Nevertheless, the politics that "got in the way" of achieving a complete waiver for both Bull Run treatment AND open reservoirs may have been the only viable recourse at the time, given who was ruling the roost and the size of that task. Take your cues from Lincoln (just back from the movie) or from Obama's last 4 years.

Bull Run water is only a part of the plans in process by the
State as well as a Regional proposal extending from British
Columbia through the West Coast states and possibly into
Mexico. Its called the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange and its
website is Governor Kitzhaber and State Treasurer Ted Wheeler support the CH2MHILL study (Bull Run as well as Hanford contractors) which showed the advantages on
paper in 2011. Already the process is started for hiring the Exchange manager.

The study claims that there will be an innovatieve ( infrastructure financing system(private) which provides cost savings and
better collaboration brokering connections between public projects and sources of capital.
CH2MHill's track record is questionable but nobody seems to care.


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

In Vino Veritas

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
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2012
Decoy, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Marqués de Murrieta, Reserva Rioja 2010
Kendall-Jackson, Grand Reserve Cabernet 2009
Seven Hills, Merlot 2013
Los Vascos, Grande Reserve Cabernet 2011
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Forlorn Hope, St. Laurent, Ost-Intrigen 2013
Upper Five, Tempranillo 2010 and 2012
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Topsail, Syrah 2013
Jim Barry, The Lodge Hill Shiraz 2013
Robert Mondavi, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2012
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2014
Boomtown, Cabernet 2013
Boulay, Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Domaine de Durban Muscat 2011
Patricia Green, Estate Pinot Noir 2012
Crios, Cabernet, Mendoza 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Dehesa la Granja, Tempranillo 2008
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #15
Selvapiana, Chianti Ruffina 2012
Joseph Carr, Cabernet 2012
Prendo, Pinot Grigio, Vigneti Delle Dolomiti 2014
Joel Gott, Oregon Pinot Gris 2014
Otazu, Red 2010
Chehalem, Pinot Gris, Three Vineyards 2013
Wente, Merlot, Sandstone 2011
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2012
Monmousseau, Vouvray 2014
Duriguttti, Malbec 2013
Ruby, Pinot Noir 2012
Castellare, Chianti 2013
Lugana, San Benedetto 2013
Canoe Ridge, Cabernet, Horse Heaven Hills 2011
Arcangelo, Negroamaro Rosato
Vale do Bomfim, Douro 2012
Portuga, Branco 2013
Taylor Fladgate, Late Bottled Vintage Porto 2009
Pete's Mountain, Pinot Noir, Kristina's Reserve 2010
Rodney Strong, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Bookwalter, Subplot No. 28, 2012
Coppola, Sofia, Rose 2014
Kirkland, Napa Cabernet 2012
Trader Joe's Grand Reserve, Napa Meritage 2011
Kramer, Chardonnay Estate 2012
Forlorn Hope, Que Saudade 2013
Ramos, Premium Tinto, Alentejano 2012
Trader Joe's Grand Reserve, Rutherford Cabernet 2012
Bottego Vinaia, Pinot Grigio Trentino 2013
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2011
Pete's Mountain, Elijah's Reserve Cabernet, 2007
Beaulieu, George Latour Cabernet 1998
Januik, Merlot 2011
Torricino, Campania Falanghina 2013
Edmunds St. John, Heart of Gold 2012
Chloe, Pinot Grigio, Valdadige 2013
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir 2013
Kirkland, Pinot Grigio, Friuli 2013
St. Francis, Red Splash 2011
Rodney Strong, Canernet, Alexander Valley 2011
Erath, Pinot Blanc 2013
Taylor Fladgate, Porto 2007
Portuga, Rose 2013
Domaine Digioia-Royer, Chambolle-Musigny, Vielles Vignes Les Premieres 2008
Locations, F Red Blend
El Perro Verde, Rueda 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells Red 2010
Chloe, Pinot Grigio, Valdadige 2013
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir 2013
Kirkland, Pinot Grigio, Friuli 2013
St. Francis, Red Splash 2011
Rodney Strong, Canernet, Alexander Valley 2011
Erath, Pinot Blanc 2013
Taylor Fladgate, Porto 2007
Portuga, Rose 2013
Domaine Digioia-Royer, Chambolle-Musigny, Vielles Vignes Les Premieres 2008
Locations, F Red Blend
El Perro Verde, Rueda 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells Red 2
If You See Kay, Red 2011
Turnbull, Old Bull Red 2010
Cherry Tart, Cherry Pie Pinot Noir 2012
Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Cabernet, Oakville 2012
Benton Lane, Pinot Gris 2012
Campo Viejo, Rioja, Reserva 2008
Haden Fig, Pinot Noir 2012
Pendulum Red 2011
Vina Real, Plata, Crianza Rioja 2009
Edmunds St. John, Bone/Jolly, Gamay Noir Rose 2013
Bookwalter, Subplot No. 26
Ayna, Tempranillo 2011
Pete's Mountain, Pinot Noir, Haley's Block 2010
Apaltagua, Reserva Camenere 2012
Lugana, San Benedetto 2012
Argyle Brut 2007
Wildewood Pinot Gris 2012
Anciano, Tempranillo Reserva 2007
Santa Rita, Reserva Cabernet 2009
Casone, Toscana 2008
Fonseca Porto, Bin No. 27
Louis Jadot, Pouilly-Fuissé 2011
Trader Joe's, Grower's Reserve Pinot Noir 2012
Zenato, Lugana San Benedetto 2012
Vintjs, Cabernet 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White 2012
Rainstorm, Oregon Pinot Gris 2012
Silver Palm, North Coast Cabernet 2011
Andrew Rich, Gewurtztraminer 2008
Rodney Strong, Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Canoe Ridge, Pinot Gris, Expedition 2012
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir Rose 2012
Dark Horse, Big Red Blend No. 01A
Elk Cove, Pinot Noir Rose 2012
Fletcher, Shiraz 2010
Picollo, Gavi 2011
Domaine Eugene Carrel, Jongieux 2012
Eyrie, Pinot Blanc 2010
Atticus, Pinot Noir 2010

The Occasional Book

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: 69
At this date last year: 110
Total run 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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