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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Maybe they should just go on his lawn

A reader writes:

Was wondering if you would blog about a current situation in my Eastmoreland neighborhood. Apparently the association president, Robert McCullough, is suing Sellwood Junior Baseball in an attempt to eliminate a porta-potty for the baseball and soccer fields at Duniway Elementary School. Both my children had their first sporting events at this field. Also, there are many sports camps held throughout the various breaks and summers at the field. which generate much needed income for PPS. Without the porta-potty, none of this would be possible as it is a requirement of PPS, and obviously a necessity when dealing with little kids. A little help from you would go a long way.

Sounds like an interesting case. Isn't that down around where Gatsby Wyden's new "home" is? Maybe his kids will play little league baseball in Sellwood. Only kidding.

UPDATE, 1:10 p.m.: A reader notes that Google Maps has an image of the facilities in question:

Perhaps the angry neighbors have a point. Location, location, location.

Comments (21)

In case anyone is interested, this guy posts a lot of info about himself online at There are a lot of games played on those fields, and the alternatives are alluded to by Jack.

I'm not sure what the neighbor is upset about, the smell from the potties, or the sound of kids playing ball, or maybe there are lights on the field? Getting rid of the potties would eliminate all three. Newer, well-maintained toilets don't smell that much from the outside. Maybe a bush or two for camouflage would help.

Looks like a likely Pers 1 guy moonlighting as a consultant. Nice to know the workplace demands in public service allow adequate time to hold down a second job.

I remember Duniway grade school well. I was there to audition as a junior Rose Festival prince. I was so nervous I threw up in the hallway.

I think Charlie Hales lives in Eastmoreland. Maybe he needs to weigh in on whether the kids should get to play there.

Eastmoreland's new neighborhood motto:

"Get Off My Damn Lawn!"

I don't live there and it isn't my problem, but I can sympathize with the association president. I wouldn't like to see this outside my front window:

It seems like there should be a better out of sight location for these.

If needed and the problem IS a visual eyesore, they could put them on the other side of the sidewalk or somewhere else, but hide them with a trellis to the neighborhood side to cover them up visually and with plantings so that the neighbors see greenery, with clematis or something visually pleasing.

I'm curious whether filing a suit against Sellwood Junior Baseball was a first resort or a last resort. Given neighborhood associations pretend to represent cooperative activity and increased communications and all.

Sellwood Junior Baseball first heard of this two days ago. Mr. McCollough came out of the gate talking about a lawsuit. The Neighborhood Association and Portland Parks worked out a compromise last fall, but neglected to inform the various sports leagues about the decisions. Sellwood Baseball has had their porta-potty picked up and the one remaining (agreed upon) potty is provided by Portland Parks. But somehow that's just not good enough for Mr. McCollough. He wants all sports GONE from the neighborhood, no matter the cost to our youth.

Why not place a leonard loo? Paint a bird on it an use the Arts tax money. Sorry for the sarcasm from Tigard

It's probably the parking. Some folks don't like strangers flocking into their neighborhood to use "their" parks or schools and lining the street with SUVs, rambunctious kids and parents. He probably thought the school property would be quiet after 3:00 pm and on weekends. The loo in the picture is badly placed but that's an easy fix. A neighbor who doesn't like cars, kids, and noise is another kettle of fish.

Dave, I was delighted to hear that you'd once been in the running for Rose Festival royalty. Some Portlanders remember the Junior Rose Festival Courts, but few recall the princes from the grade schools. My brother was the "prince" from our local, Gilbert Primary in the early 1960s. He mortified the family by standing on the stage with the others while waiting his turn to bow and speak with his head resting on his right shoulder as if he were falling asleep. We kept gesturing and trying to get his attention, but he didn't notice us. My sister was a runner-up one year. Girls were made to walk under a measuring stick, curtsey and smile. If you were too tall, couldn't curtsey and didn't have dimples, you were out of the running. It came down to she and her best friend who had to curtsey and smile for five minutes until the Rose Festival folks made up their minds.

Oh, those were the days.

Mr McCullough is an old friend but eccentric enough to be behind such a silly and malicious attempt to prevent children from having a good time. He is married, childless, a former pre-Enron PGE VP and energy consultant running his own successful business with 9 or 10 employees. McCullough made his bones as the economist who explained enron's off books transactions to the NYT AND the WSJ and helped exposé Ken Lay's various frauds, I am deeply disappointed by the childishness of this litigation. Shame on you Robert and shame on the Eastmoreland Association.

I can see both sides here. Several years ago the Parks Bureau tried to take away the CU (conditional use) aspects of the code and put in good neighbor agreements instead.
Not the same. I don't know what happened here.
I often speak of results of land scarcity created by the UGB, I see this as another ongoing situation with less and less open space available for children to play. People need the open space and if we had more of it, this wouldn't be such a problem. For example out in Lents was a great field for Little League and it was closed down for some PDC deal as I recall. I do not live in that neighborhood, others may know details, but what I did see is that it seemed a great place for sport activities. There are fields out at Delta Park, we need more of these kind of spaces for teams. We need open spaces where the noise and lighting is not a problem and parking is available. It is fine and good to say neighbors ought to tolerate this, but when Parks comes in and overdoes this, not just a night now and then but frequently, it can wear on a neighborhood.
I don't know McCollough, does he want sports gone completely or is he upset about the frequency, and the CU having been eliminated by the Parks Bureau?

NW Portlander - Thank you for the story. I'm smiling right now. Full dimples.

This lawyer made hay from the City of Portland back in the mid-00s when Commissioner Leonard contracted with him to look into PGE's role in the western electricity crisis of 2000-01. At the time, the City wanted to take over PGE; but something happened shortly thereafter where a hedge fund Goldschmidt worked for tried buying PGE. But I suspect the hedge fund or somebody got some dirt on City Hall, or some key folks in City Hall; because the City dropped its bid to squeeze PGE into its hands shortly thereafter. Anyways, I had written Commissioner Leonard trying to tell him all the information about the electricity crisis had already been revealed in FERC related hearings, available to the public at no cost. But instead, spendthrift Commissioner Leonard threw out over $100k to repeat the findings already published.

When I think of this lawyer, I think of Johnny Cochran and the electricity industry. Where there's an ambulance (industry crisis) certain folks are adept at cleaning up litigation dollars.
Trying to stop the naïve from being carpet bagged is (was) almost futile.

The Western electricity crisis of 2000-01 is better explained not so much by the guy behind the grassy knoll (Enron) but by the severe record drought cutting hydro-electric supplies and Grey Davis who decided to open up the California Treasury and start buying without any price sensitivity. Enron was only like the bad neighbor who seeing his neighbor's house burning stands by for the opportunity to loot the house. But it's pretty easy for the tall tale salesman to point at something shady in cleaning up litigation monies.

The most interesting time I spent in the electricity industry was in 2000/2001.

As to the issue at hand:

You live in a gosh dang city. Next to a ball field. You know what you are getting into. People all over. The noise. The congestion. The ballyhoo. Hate children? Hate people? Hate noise? Hate idiots knocking on your door? Want a view? Sorry, can't help ya, deal with it. Take a deep breath and realize you aren't the center of the world...

I have over 50 first cousins, and another few dozen second cousins, all of trick-or-treat age. I just want to target this guy's house for candy begging...

This is a case of someone with too much time and hate on his hands. Time and hate. Sorry to contradict the person above that calls it 'eccentricity'. I'm eccentric. I'm a full grown man with a girls name that loves cats. That's eccentric. This is just old man cantankerous hate. Point simple.

Is this really a law suit? My goodness. Who the heck has time for this nonsense? Spend you time giving out free rice krispee treats at the game, not this. Please never this.

Many children aren't that great in a classroom, this nearly ruins them as people. Told for years they don't amount to anything. Sports are an outlet that debunks that thinking. Parents can be supportive, rock and roll music can help, but there's nothing like beating the holy snot out of the 'smart' kids to help a young 'dumb' kid feel good. Maybe sometimes you lose as well, but you don't remember that stuff when the coach takes you for pizza anyway.

On behalf of my childhood self, who couldn't sit down for 2 seconds and was hated by basically every non-coach teacher growing up, I plead with anyone reading to shut this crud down. Let the kids play. Take joy from their joy. Know it's important and treat it that way.

Imagine suing a kids' softball league.

Somebody has too much time on their hands...

Let the kids play. Take joy from their joy. Know it's important and treat it that way.

Take this message to the city and planners.
The extreme infill has taken the open spaces one after another from the kids for them to play outside. There used to be plentiful fields around where kids could be outside, that has changed and it is detrimental because that open space is of value and is needed, not only by kids but by adults as well. Is it good for so many children living in these huge apartment complexes without yards?
Look at the reality here, more infill, more congestion, more huge complexes being built but no accommodating open space that is needed has been added.
This is wrong planning.

Koin6 News picked up the story from THIS BLOG. Thanks, Jack!

When Neil was trying to do the hedge fund thing, that is when the babysitter scandal came out. Someone dropped off identical packets of information at WW and the Big O. WW pursued it, the Big O did not.


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