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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Next for your Portland sewer dollars: "rain gardens"

Portland City Hall knows that you're unhappy about your sewer bill. And they're doing something about it.

They're giving you the finger.

Comments (26)

This stuff is not lost on people. My wife, who is generally a liberal who does not share my cantankerous ways, has taken to tearing into Adams lately, with no prompting from me at all. I don't harangue her about these issues, knowing that we don't always agree. (That's what you guys are for.)

She recently was talking about it with a like-minded friend, and the $20 million biko-swales and increased water fees were not lost on them at all. They are pretty pissed, and will not be voting for Sam Adams again, barring some miracle turnaround.

I think the council is in for a rude awakening on their impression that no one is paying attention, or that everyone agrees with them.

Anyway, if you have family and friends that you don't normally discuss this stuff with, just mention the news of the water increases to them, and let them come to their own conclusions. If there is one thing that people understand it is their own pocketbook.

I wish you were right, Snards, but they just reelected Saltzman! The brain-dead seem to outnumber the intelligent, at least when it comes to voting. I thought things might have gotten bad enough to bring out enough right-thinkers to change things a little bit, but no luck. It will get much worse before it gets better, but that's no reason to quit.

This must be what they're thinking...

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Snards certainly has a point: there are numerous people amongst those whom I know and love who voted for Adams in `08. Not so much in `04, when he scarcely best Nick Fish -- Portland's long-term memory having been negatively impacted by so many things.

It is possible they are just being nice, but it would seem that numberous people are unhappy with his newly-bloated, creepy honor.

But hey, the mandatory -four-year term election cycle allows for all sorts of indiscretions and evil-doing, particularly at the 2-year mark. That's what makes Adams appear so entirely dumb, in my mind: allowing himself to get nailed on day 22 of his administration. Perhaps if he'd have considered a $10 million bail-out of the Oregonian back in `09, we would never have had to have heard of Beau Breedlove.

Given what we've learned of the Oregonian's ethics of late, that it.

"Oregon's Republican Newspaper" indeed.

So the sewer department is implementing a low cost program to control storm water runoff. I'm not sure what the outrage is about.

It's quite a stretch. What next? A subsidy for the Widmer Brothers, because they're keeping all that water out of the sewers?

It's not really a stretch considering that stormwater runoff is the main contributor to the issues of our CSO system (and the subsequent construction of the big pipe).

Let's just assume that all stormwater runoff was managed on site or thereabouts. We wouldn't be endeavoring in a multi-billion dollar pipe system.

Even so, managing stormwater on site (rain gardens) means less water needed to be treated at a plant.

RFP Statement:

"The Tabor to the River (T2R) Program is being implemented by the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services. The T2R Program is working to achieve multiple objectives such as reducing sewer back-ups, addressing pipe rehabilitation needs, improving watershed health (hydrology, water quality, habitat, stewardship) and assisting in controlling combined sewer overflows to the Willamette River. Removal of stormwater runoff from the public sewer system is a key element of the T2R Program. To achieve this, the City will partner with property owners to implement private stormwater facilities in those portions of the basin with the greatest sewer capacity problems. Through this program, the City will contract the construction of residential scale rain garden facilities on private property."

Now, I think it's fair to criticize bioswale / bike combo deal because the idea did little to address the best areas that needed on-site stormwater management.

This program is working towards areas that could benefit the most in regards to sewer capacity.

"A subsidy for the Widmer Brothers, because they're keeping all that water out of the sewers?"

That's only while it is still in the bottles.

It's not really a stretch

Sure. Landscaping some guy's yard is now a function of the sewer bureau? This deal is on private property, apparently.

Give me a break. Just another item for the Measure 5 lawsuit that I hope is coming.

Q: Why do monopoly utilities give those who (supposedly) "own" them the finger?
A: Because they can.

One of many examples: Oregon Electric Co-operative ratepayers (also called "stockholders" or "members")do not have the right to honest and impartial board of directors elections. The Co-operative alone conducts the elections, counts the votes and declares the winners.

This is no oversight. If the lawmakers had wanted the ratepayers to have honest and impartial elections they would have written that into law but they did not.
Likewise if the lawmakers wanted the monopoly utility ratepayers to have a say in how their ratepayer money was spent they would have written that into law but they did not.

So the practical result is that nobody gets on an Oregon Electric Co-operative board unless the board wants them there no matter how many votes they get.

Didn't think that could happen in the good old US of A? Think again. That's how the communists in Soviet Union and elsewhere did things. The Soviet Union conducted the elections, counted the votes and declared the winners, just like Oregon Electric Co-operatives do today.

There was no third-party authentication and there were no laws against or penalties for rigged elections. Joseph Stalin once said: "It matters not who votes. What matters is who counts the votes".

They did have elections but they didn't mean anything because the incumbents or their hand-picked successors always won.
Just like Oregon Electric Co-operatives do today.

For more information check out http://www.reformwascoelectric.com

In reference to the above post what's to stop Wasco Electric Co-op (or any other monopoly utility for that matter) from raising their rates 10-fold (from an average of about $100 per month to about $1000 per month for basic electric service)?
Answer: Absolutely nothing.

On top of that they can give preferential rates (or charge nothing at all) to certain individuals. On top of that who gets what rate is not public information. So the Wasco Electric board can exempt themselves or anybody else from these huge rate increases.

Often it's not what's in the law that's a problem...It's what's NOT in the law.

I don't care which agency has the money, I'd like to see all special projects put on hold until the streets are fixed, jobs are created, and the public's trust of the police department is restored. I know, I know, those things are really hard and very boring while bioswales and rain gardens are cool.

Here's another interesting twist - water tables in SE Portland run higher than the rest of the City - I know several people who have to run sump pumps to keep their basements dry - what happens when a whole bunch o' swales are installed, and all of that storm water increases the water table? Yes, it keeps volume out of the sewer system - but it has now the potential to shift costs to the property owner to keep water out of their basements.

Easy ... you sell your now devalued and perhaps uninhabitable house to a condo developer to stop urban sprawl!

Recently there were workshops by the Mayor to plan for 2035. Good way to take attention off of what he is up to now.

Adams has been going bananas since the 2nd recall failed. Like now he can freely do whatever, whoopee!! The way he is carrying on, week by week, $10 million for the Oregonian property, etc, this cannot continue, this throwing around dollars like there is no tomorrow.

Hesitate to bring this up, a third recall may have to be initiated. If nothing else, it might make him behave and back off these schemes for a while. A continuous recall until he gets ousted? Think of how much more he can do in two and a half years! Might even work better if we did two for one - Adams and Leonard.

This time it might just work as the spotlight is on more and more
arrogance and simply no financial accountability. Like Jack said, "They're giving you the finger."


How did the expression 'third try is a charm' come about?

The belief that the third time something is attempted is more likely to succeed than the previous two attempts. It is also used as a good luck charm - spoken just before trying something for the third time.

"Recall" in Portland is a total waste of time. Spend your time and energy recruiting and promoting candidates to replace the dummies.

In reading the specs for the project, I think the winning line is as follows:

"Begin and complete project as scheduled and complete project as quickly as possible (generally expected to be 2 – 7 days, weather dependent)."

For Gawd's Sakes!
Beyond being wordy and redundant, they're building a RAIN garden. H-e-l-l-o?!?!
However, if it rains (after all, this IS Portland), all schedules are off.

..from their "specs" to God's ears!


We just had an election and nobody got replaced.

Elections don't work, recall don't work...I guess we get what we asked for...nothing! Absolutely nothing!

Been there done that, by spending my time and energy and working for a great candidate several years ago. One who was smart and for the public interest. Another time stepped out to endorse another who was politically across the aisle one might say, however, again candidate had integrity and public interest in mind. Seems only insiders who go along with the agenda get "in" and all these revolving doors of candidates from official's offices makes one dizzy with disgust.

From what I heard on the last recall, many were reluctant to sign on as they were afraid Leonard would become Mayor. I venture now to guess that with all the latest shenanigans regarding our water, people might race to sign petitions on the duo.

I could be wrong, but as you can see, things are getting worse. I am merely throwing the concept out as a way to keep the schemes at a minimum as that in itself would be worthwhile.

Third recall is a good idea. Time of year is right. Gear for about right after Labor Day. Maybe the kickoff should be at the big Labor Day picnic at Oak's Park.
I will volunteer for signature gathering.

As long as the developer weasels can buy and sell elections (and they have been for awhile now), grass roots efforts like those that elected regular people like Bud Clark and Margaret Strachan (who really couldn't stand Neil) are doomed to fail. And the weasels aren't leaving until the flock has been fleeced (take as much money as they can) and slaughtered (leave the average John/Jane with as much debt as possible and bankrupt local govt.)

1. What the hell's a rain garden? (I have a mud garden in my back yard. Does that qualify?) 2. Any of you progressive lawyers willing to take on some pro bono work?

Nielsen (the market research company) just came out with its list of the top ten green cities as measured by how likely its residents were to choose green power.

Portland is not on the list!


So, if I want my yard relandscaped and I want a new gutter/drainage system, the city will come out and do it all--and pay for it all--for me??? Cool! Where do I sign up???

But, I live in outer East Portland and there isn't a streetcar line near by. Do I still qualify for the project?

Can I get my yard re-landscaped too, by all the rest of Portland taxpayers? I already have a natural swale with six large trees-can I qualify?

But after yesterday TriMet cut bus service on the bus lines eight blocks to my east and seven blocks to my west. Do I still qualify?

Build enough Rain Gardens and the Big Pipe won't be necessary. Hello, underground bikeway system!

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