This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 19, 2012 7:43 AM. The previous post in this blog was Please do not show this to anyone at Portland City Hall. The next post in this blog is Vestas wearing out kneepads in D.C.. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

It's gonna cost ya

We've been checking out the City of Portland water bureau budget. We believe that the current state of that document is here. For a person who pays a Portland water bill, the money page is here. Oh yes, the city's been let off the hook for expensive water treatment and reservoir covers, but your bill is still going up by 11%, because the Admiral and the boys have dredged up "deferred rate increases" from as far back as 2006 -- and now's our time to pay, apparently.

That, and it's going to cost $2.2 million a year to switch to monthly billing, even for customers who don't want it.

Meanwhile, it's full steam ahead to blow $53 million this year toward an underground reservoir on Powell Butte; $21 million for a new dam tower for fish at the Bull Run reservoir and Randyland theme park; and $16 million for the first year of a teardown and rebuild of the water bureau maintenance facility on Interstate Avenue. Are all of those projects absolutely necessary, this year? Don't ask, Grandma, just pungle up.

Comments (46)

Not too bad Randy - A $10M bump in rate payer fees for the exact same water with no improvement.

We've gone from $80M/yr in 2007 to $128M in 2011 which is a 50% increase to ratepayers in 4 years. Plus it looks like we're going to average a 12% per annum increase from here on out.

All for the exact same water in the exact same reservoirs going thru the exact same pipes.

I'd love to hear any mayoral candidate address this (I know where Mr Fernandez, the auditor and PURB stand) screwing of the ratepayers.

Good morning Jack:

I just wanted to say that I thank Portlanders for their continued support of the Water Bureau, my three ( or is it four - I can't remember) pensions, my crony appointees, my allimony payments to my two ex-wives (or is it three - I forgot), one of which was my FPDR case manager who some say "worked with me" on my disability claim (while I needed time off to run for the State Legislature) and my multiple boondoggle trips to exotic five star resorts over the years. I look forward to having full-time to devote to having hundred dollar dinners paid for by business moguls while at the same time casting myself as a progressive. Portlanders have been so easy to work - mostly starry-eyed hipsters who never took a civics class and uneducated members of LIUNA 483. Anyway, I plan to leave a legacy of various monuments to my reign ... so dig deep and pay up.

THIS is the money page:

FY 2012-13 FY 2013-14 FY 2014-15 FY 2015-16 FY 2016-17
11.0% 10.5% 13.0% 13.4% 7.7%

Bills will be 50% higher in 5 years.

WTF? Outrageous but somehow predictable.
Maybe Randy can go live in that bus he bought for the tours to Bull Run.

If PWB was smart, they'd take a page from P&G or other packaged goods marketers and create some sort of meaningless, yet impressive-sounding product claim. PORTLAND WATER, NOW WITH TWO HYDROGEN ATOMS FOR EVERY OXYGEN ATOM!

A while back before the leaks out of City Hall got "fixed", I swear I read somewhere Randy being quoted saying something like "Portlanders will pay anything we tell them to as long as they believe it's the right thing to do". Anyone else remember that?

Mr. Grumpy-

You are so silly.

You don't need any confirmation of facts here. Just print what you think and call it a fact.

You will be in good company.

Randy, could you please address why we need these increases?

Water Boarding en mass. Do you ever get the feeling these little dictators enjoy being cruel, just because they can? I think the French had it right a couple of hundred years ago.

Hey, it's Randy "Groundhog" Leonard. Mention his name on your blog, and he'll pop up and say something grumpy, then disappear for the rest of the winter.

I swear I read somewhere Randy being quoted saying something like "Portlanders will pay anything we tell them to as long as they believe it's the right thing to do". Anyone else remember that?

I believe he did say something along the lines of (paraphrasing here) "Portlanders will pass this because it's the right thing to do", but I believe it was referring to the fire bond in 2010.

I'm not sure if I'm more disappointed in Randy for leapfrogging shiny new fire trucks and a new fireboat in front of all of the other city's considerable needs, or in Portland voters for going along with it. Considering how the city can't (or won't) repair roads and schools are laying off teachers, the new fire trucks will rattle to pieces and new firefighter recruits will be too dumb to pass their exams to operate them.

1. If the uncovered pools of water at Washington Park are OK, why does the Powell Butte water tank have to be underground? Why not a surface pool? Certainly it'd be cheaper.

2. What's the purpose of the dam tower? Why must it cost $21 million?

3. Why must the maintenance facility be rebuilt? Why cannot that be delayed/deferred? The last time I drove by it there were no big red "U" signs on it, so it must be safe enough for occupancy and use.

4. I continue to see an ignorance as to why the Water Bureau refused to buy local, and bought a luxury bus from an limousine manufacturer built on an International chassis...a bus that was never needed in the first place, but nevertheless a bus that was overpriced, overbuilt, and for no good reason. (I hear school buses would provide the same function and carry up to 70 riders for about $75,000 per vehicle.)

Dear Mr. Leonard,
I was going to respond in some snarky fashion. But I will instead offer some advice.
"Speach is silver, but silence is golden".
Even in the last year of your term you might do well to think before you speak or write.

And school buses can be rented too....

Oops...should read Speech is silver but silence is golden...my bad.

Nice job on Siltronic, Randy.

The 5-year rate projection actually works out to a compounded 69% water rate increase over that time frame. This is the PWB request, the City Council will approve the final rates.

Given the recent delay of $300 million+ in treatment and reservoir projects, which result in a $186 million reduction to the Bureau's pending 5-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP), these 5-year rate projections could be curbed dramatically.

Unfortunately, the Water Bureau has simply back-filled the CIP with new projects, including a new Willamette River crossing. They assert it's an emergency, even though in November 2011 before the treatment and reservoir projects were delayed, a new crossing wasn't even on their 5-year project list.

Randy just makes stuff up, then goes trolling to tell everyone they've got their facts wrong.

If he's got specific facts we've misstated on this blog, we'd be glad to correct them. Maybe one of his half-dozen paid tweeters could make us a list of which facts we've misstated.

"You don't need any confirmation of facts here. Just print what you think and call it a fact."

OK, Randy:

"FY 2012-13 FY 2013-14 FY 2014-15 FY 2015-16 FY 2016-17
11.0% 10.5% 13.0% 13.4% 7.7%"


"All for the exact same water in the exact same reservoirs going thru the exact same pipes."

Now the opinion part:

You're screwing ratepayers.

What I was referring to was more than 2 years ago, more like 3 or 5. It's possible that at the time I misunderstood it and was hoping somebody on the forum could either corroborate it or correct me.

"Speach (sic) is silver, but silence is golden".

Portland Native-

Is it that I use my real name that bothers you?

" "Speach (sic) is silver, but silence is golden".

Portland Native-

Is it that I use my real name that bothers you?"
Sounds like the Commodore will address anything but the issues....

Unfortunately, the Water Bureau has simply back-filled the CIP with new projects,...

As soon as Council finally did some delay on the LT2,
Shaff presented to them a whole list of new capitol projects.
That keeps those dollars like water flowing to certain corporations,
have to keep that going, never mind our community paying dearly for this.
These increases hurt the people and the businesses.
Not every one is making the kind of money these bureaucrats are.

In some cases, public dollars are being rushed into these projects like waterfalls,
like when the Admiral used an emergency ordinance to get that $135 million
rushing for that Powell Butte Project.

Who set up the 2014 deadline for some of the LT2 projects in the first place?

NY got a reprieve until 2028 and asked for another until 2034.
Guess our Council had to do something as they looked so very lame compared to NY efforts, however, our council would only ask for a delay until 2020-2021.

So comforting to know that our officials are "really" watching out for our public interests!

Mr. Leonard,
Interesting response. I guess you don't like advice politely offered in good faith from a taxpaying citizen.
I did correct myself which is more than you ever do! A simple typo is hardly reaches the level of malfeasance you have achieved while in office.
Why do you not simply answer the questions posed on this forum?
You do troll. Why are you even bothering to read what is said here since you obviously have so little regard for any of us?
Aren't you just wasting your "valuable" time?
Why don't you just crawl back into your foul den and be quiet till January of 2013?

A Water Bureau employee informed me that PWB managers decided a couple of years ago (when Randy decided to leave) that in order to prevent the new Mayor (and City Council) from interfering with Bureau plans for bloat via continued massive unnecessary rate increases,the Bureau would undertake as many large projects as possible before Randy/Sam left office.

Years ago when then Administrator Anoushirivani was asked during a public meeting why it was that so much money was spent on cozy consultant studies when the Auditor report (2001 or 2002?) indicated that deferred maintenance was not being addressed, we were told that maintenance is boring designing and building is glamorous. Engineers want to design and build regardless of the community interest in maintenance over new construction (Hibbits survey,2011 indicated that the community supports maintenance over new construction).

During Randy's reign the engineering staff along with consultant spending has dramatically increased. Between 2005 and 2010 consultant spending increased from $9 million a year to $19 million, personnel spending doubled as well. Hiring more engineers clearly didn't reduce consultant spending, the excuse given at the time for hiring more engineers, a process they then said would take many, many years but was completed within a year. The dramatic increase in Bureau staffing level during Randy's reign is not withstanding customer service personnel leaving then returning to the Water Bureau.

Luxury all-expense paid conference trips are the norm per those in the know (Mitt Farr posted to earlier blog on this site).
Crony hires come in at top salary level despite little to no qualifying experience. Secret excessive Bureau spending with disclosure of future impacts only after the fact, "deferred rate increases". Non-mission critical projects that involve hiring BDS staff as uncovered by the O's Brad Schmidt.
Current Dam2 Tower project 200% of estimate when it was known from the start that it would involve extensive underwater work. Five-six full-time PR staff earning close to or above $100,000/year.

Management problems are many and independent oversight nonexistent.

Tell City Hall enough is enough. A 55% rate increase since June 2008 (on top of many other increases) is more than adequate.

f.jones you are pointing to things that the general public and the auditor has honed in on, and that is why Admiral Randy is bailing. You can bet that he and mayor creepy will either be back on the public payroll in Beaverton, or highly paid consultants for Merrit Paulson....

In a recent article in the Tribune (last Thursday) addressing Randy's house project (Water House)Randy suggested that Portland could avoid building a third Dam in Bull Run and customers could reduce their water bill with conservation efforts as demonstrated by his $700,000 house.

Funny how through the Bureau's budgets over the last several years, ratepayers have been thanked for their conservation efforts (that have nothing to do with the house project) with additional rate increases each year for conservation-related "decreased demand" a problem that has been ongoing since 1986. The PWB has more water than it can sell. "Use more water wisely" is a phrase often used by Dave Hasson financial officer with the Bureau to suggest that conservation costs rather than saves.

In January 2012 Randy stated that we needed Powell Butte II storage not because of LT2 but because additional storage is essential, yet in 2012 the PWB told the FERC that the storage at Mt. Tabor's Reservoir 6 (35 million gallons each cell) is not needed and thus has not been utilized since Sept. 2010. 2009- 2011 the PWB told the EPA and the the State the same thing that Portland's in town reservoir system currently has an excess of storage. The 2004 $500,000 Portland Reservoir Panel was also told by the PWB that our in town reservoir system has an excess of storage. Powell Butte II storage is not needed, but the MWH Global/CH2Mill consultant team outlined all of the projects for which they desired contracts back in 2000 in the Bureau's Infrastructure Master Plan. Powell Butte II was included in this Master Plan of projects. $137 million wish granted with the help of Bureau and former Bureau employees serving on the contract selection committee.

The Water Bureau's Project Profile description (buried in current year budget documents) lists Powell Butte II as an LT2 project first mentioned in 2005. Which consultant was it that was hired to help craft the EPA LT2 rule (1997-2003)? Joe Glicker then with MWH Global. Who was awarded the LT2 Powell Butte II contract in 2009? Joe Glicker now with CH2MHill.

The only solution to this fiasco is for every Portland resident to get off the grid. Install your own grey water and black water systems. It's possible people. Force their hand. Sam has set it up perfectly with the slop buckets. Fill them with your black water turds and you're off the grid! Cancel all services and shut if off!

As a protest to all this excessive, unneeded and morally bankrupt spending- visualize pissing on their project plans...

And Randy.....The last time I had a conversation with a member of YOUR STAFF, they didn't even know what a grey water system was!

Lots of info on the web about composting toilets, worm bins, and grey water and black water systems.
We have an off the grid place with all that stuff and it works well. Just takes a bit of management. Of course management is sorely lacking at kiddie hall, so it doesn't surprise me that Randy and his staff know nothing about anything except twittering or tweeting.

And I forgot to mention we also collect our rain water, and purify it for all our needs, including drinking water!

I don't believe that the commenter referring to himself or herself as "Randy Leonard" is in fact the Portland City Councilor (Councilor, not "commissioner").

The Portland City Councilors are dedicated public servants, who hold the civic duties with which taxpayers entrust them in the greatest esteem. There is no possibility that Randy Leonard, or any other Councilor, for that matter, would fritter away precious work-time (10:10 a.m. and 1:36 p.m.) checking out insignificant blogs - let alone responding in comments.

No, the employer - the taxpayer - is always first and foremost in their minds, and it would be unethical to use taxpayer equipment, on taxpayer-paid time, to engage in such activities. Knowing how important ethics are to Mr. Leonard, it seems clear that an impostor is commenting under his name; thereby sullying Mr. Leonard's impeccable reputation.

It's really unconscionable.

If it's not he, it's definitely coming from a city computer:

IP Information for
IP Location: United States United States Portland City Of Portland
ASN: AS12102
Resolve Host: 133.152.ptldnet.portlandoregon.gov
IP Address: [Whois] [Reverse-Ip] [Ping] [DNS Lookup] [Traceroute]

NetRange: -
OriginAS: AS12102
NetHandle: NET-74-120-152-0-1
Parent: NET-74-0-0-0-0
NetType: Direct Assignment
RegDate: 2009-12-10
Updated: 2012-03-02
Ref: http://whois.arin.net/rest/net/NET-74-120-152-0-1

OrgName: City of Portland
OrgId: CITYOF-152
Address: 1120 SW 5th Ave
Address: Room 450
City: Portland
StateProv: OR
PostalCode: 97204
Country: US
RegDate: 1998-10-23
Updated: 2011-03-31
Ref: http://whois.arin.net/rest/org/CITYOF-152

Well if it's not Randy, the imposter sure has his d*ckish accent down pat.

Is the trial going to be live blogged? I want to be first to volunteer a few hours.

This could be the Honorable Randy or anyone of his multle six figure minions. Doing the Peoples' good work, of course, before meeting various consultants with expense accounts for drinks n'stuff.

With all the publicity, concern and the lawsuit concerning Leonard's Water/Sewer Bureau, I think it is time to take a lesson from Clackamas Co., and soon to be Washington Co. on the use of the Initiative process.

Collecting approximately 45,000 signatures might be easier than all the years spent in trying to affect the bureau's mismanagement. The Initiative could be simply written with some explicit requirements of expenditures and better defining of what City statutes already state on mingling of monies.

The time has come for citizens to take action because the council elections, nipping at their heels and lawsuits take a long time to affect change. The lawsuit will help but time is running out. And an Initiative will send a message to other Bureau's too, like the Parks Bureau and PDC.

Why don't you just crawl back into your foul den and be quiet till January of 2013?

The Admiral can't be quiet.
In my opinion, he likes to bluster and bully, and then in order to betray the people as he has on our water, he has to believe in his own mind that he is right.

He has even commissioned a book to be written to make it right for history.
I doubt that will work, the truth of this will come out to the people.

I'm not worried about what nickname people use here Mr Leonard and neither should you.
It's Jack's page and he makes the rules. If he decides he wants people real names it's up to him.
I certainly use a valid email and Jack has demonstrated the ability to ferret out who is posting anonymously if he thinks it necessarily.
Often you forget you are a public servant and as such you have a higher standard to keep to.
Please try to in the future.

Hey Max, who do you shill for? Or was that little speech just really good irony? That last paragraph of yours is priceless!

PN: Thanks. You got what I was doing...hard to believe that some took it seriously. I wonder if there are any web-writing jobs open at CoPo?

I just love knowing this blog is getting under the Admiral's skin.

It'll be even more fun to read the deposition transcripts.

"L'etat c'est moi" will surely be ruled non-responsive.

Amen Mr. Tee!
The admiral's skin is getting thinner these days for some reason....maybe he is feeling the heat, and the thought that he won't have his official desk to hide behind for much longer must make him feel a bit less secure. With any luck at all this bully will retreat into obsurity.
Randy, may I suggest a move to Sandpoint, Idaho. You might fit right in with the other so called "celebrities" there.

Well, if it is getting under the Admiral’s skin, is he trying to salvage his reputation?
That ship sailed when he crossed the line going against the citizenry he was supposed to represent and he knows it.

So go on that ship Admiral, enjoy your several pensions and retirement,
lay on that lounging chair around the pool with a margarita.
Then think about what you did and who you were working for because it wasn’t us.
Remember that end scene in the movie “Body Heat” where Turner's character is laying on a lounging chair, but instead of being full of life, now looks eerily lifeless, a cold soul.
Once there Admiral, ain’t no way of getting that life back!

Just like there is no way of getting our sustainable treasure of our water back if you persist in ruining it by debt swamping us and god knows what else you have in mind.

Will the Admiral’s destiny be to live the rest of his life in stormy soul waters
and our community’s destiny to live with suffering from degraded drinking water?

A tragedy that will take a modern day Shakespeare to decipher.
A tragedy that I rue the day I had to witness!

Admiral or Emperor? The latter designation allows this discussion of assaults upon the public's purse to incorporate the notorious alternative fuel scam that will burden the residents of this city long after the departure of Mr Leonard.

Meanwhile, has there been any suggestion from the Water Bureau that World Water Day will be celebrated locally?

Nothing at the PWB website, which "will be under construction for the next few months."

Nothing at the PWB News site, either:

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