This Post is Full of Sh….

Sometimes Portland City Hall, and their partners in crime at the Oregonian just make writing a web post too easy. As you’ll see today “¦ very little writing is necessary “¦ just cut and paste! We begin with yesterdays story in the Oregonian “¦ no doubt straight from the Water Bureau’s spin office. Westside sewage on a cleaner route by Spencer Heinz The Story begins “¦

On top, things look the same. Below, the big flush begins. Today — after 21/2 years of tunneling — the $390 million westside leg of Portland’s $1.4 billion ratepayer-funded Big Pipe project starts giving back by getting more sewage in for treatment. The idea is to start cutting way back on decades of rain-driven overflows into the Willamette River downtown.

And it continues with more great news about how wonderful this 1.4 billion dollar program is going. What are they not telling you? How about this little nugget from the City Hall’s Environmental Department a few hours before the story “¦.

Media Advisory
September 13, 2006
For immediate release For more information contact Linc Mann, 503-823-5328, or Joan Saroka, 823-5021

Sewage spill to the Willamette River north of downtown Portland

Construction debris clogging a sewer pipe caused sewage to back up and overflow into the Willamette River today. The overflow was on the west side of the river near the foot of NW 9th Avenue about halfway between the Broadway and Fremont bridges. Maintenance crews discovered the overflow at about 11:50 a.m. today. They cleared the obstruction and stopped the overflow at 2:00 p.m. From the time they discovered the overflow and the time they cleared the clogged pipe, an estimated 6,500 gallons of sewage overflowed to the river. People should avoid contact with the Willamette River in the area around NW 9th and NW Front Avenue through tomorrow afternoon because of increased bacteria in the water. The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with Clean River programs including, water quality protection, wastewater collection and treatment, and sewer installation. -30-

That’s right “¦ over 6 thousand gallons of raw untreated sewage was dumped into the River. But I guess that doesn’t fit into the touchy feel good aspects of the story that City Hall and the Oregonian wanted to write about. Right about now “¦ the Lefty Blogers are getting ready to retort. But Dylan “¦ the pipe was completely a few hours after this problem so it won’t happen again. But a few hours after the story “¦ BEEP BEEP BEEP “¦. This just in from the news wire.

Portland’s combined sewers have overflowed into the Willamette River

City recommends caution for recreational river use
Summer CSO Advisory
September 14, 2006 For immediate release
For more information contact Linc Mann, 503-823-5328

City recommends caution for recreational river use Due to the most recent rainstorm, Portland’s combined sewers have overflowed. Portland’s Environmental Services advises the public against any recreational activity in the Willamette River during which water could be swallowed. The public should avoid the Willamette River for 48 hours after the rain has stopped. It is especially important to avoid recreational activities—such as water skiing, jet skiing or swimming—during which water could be swallowed. While health risks from combined sewer overflows are unknown, these precautions are taken to protect the public health. People who fish should wash their hands following contact with the water. Those who choose to eat fish caught in the Willamette River should cook them thoroughly to kill bacteria. In many areas of Portland, sewage mixes with stormwater runoff in what is called a combined sewer system. When the combined sewer system receives too much runoff, it overflows into the Willamette River. These combined sewer overflows (CSOs) are contaminated with bacteria from untreated sewage. Portland is in the 15th year of a 20-year program to improve the city’s sewer system. Until the program is complete, overflows of untreated sewage and stormwater will occur during rain storms, although as the program progresses, the frequency of overflows and number of outfalls are diminishing. The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with Clean River programs including, water quality protection, wastewater collection and treatment, and sewer installation. -30-

That right “¦ that mist of a rain that we had yesterday that cause me to turn my wipers on as I drove back from a breakfast meeting was enough to cause the sewers to overflow! Are you kidding me? Back to the orginal Oregonian story “¦

City Commissioner Sam Adams, who inherited the project 14 months ago from Commissioner Dan Saltzman, praised the work so far as on time and on budget.

Your killin me Smalls!!! What pipe are they smoking? Just a few paragraphs later “¦.

Dean Marriott, director of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services, said the bureau budgeted an inflation-adjusted $308 million to cover a $293 million construction contract signed in 2002. Expected associated work brought the project to $390 million, Marriott said.

Just to extrapolate for second “¦ if we continue along this “on budget” pace “¦. The final total will jump from 1.4 to 1.7 billion dollars. I guess in the end we know who is full of sh*t in this story!

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Posted by at 10:27 | Posted in Measure 37 | 24 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jerry

    These people are all the same. They are the ones full of it! What a sham and what a waste. The Willamette will never be clean. Is it any wonder people have no faith in politicians?
    Why do they keep their jobs? Does no one care? Apparently not…very sad…we are going to move out of state…we can’t take it anymore.

    • Anonymous

      Oh I feel so sorry for you — they’re actually upgrading the sewer system in Portland! And 3/4 of the way into the project it’s not yet complete! You poor guy they’re hounding you out of the state. Maybe you can claim refugee status in some other country.

      • 1. Read the story .. the westside pipe is reported as done! The same side of the river as the leak and the rain overflow.

        2. We cry fowl because it’s yet another over budget South Waterfront boondoggle that is getting passed on to ratepayers in Portland. Something you wouldn’t understand down in Eugene. Go back to class … get a job … and then you’ll understand the complaint!

        • Anonymous

          Eugene? How would you know where I live or whether I have a job or not?

          And if you think things are so much better in Eugene, why not learn how the publicly owned utility there does things, instead of whining about how bad things are in Portland.

          The idea that Jerry would be moving out of state because he “can’t take it here anymore” is still a hoot!

        • Captain An-on

          the story indicates they are only diverting a small portion of sewage into the pipe, that from St. Johns i believe. NW 9th is not St. Johns.

          more importantly, EVERYTIME IT RAINS, EVEN A SMALL AMOUNT, SEWAGE SPILLS OUT. Yes, every time. the state and federal government MANDATED (meaning the cityis compelled the city and provided no funding) this project. It amazes me to no end how much some just hate government so much, especially the city of portland, that no matter what happens, they will spin the story to cater to their hyperpartisan views. Portland is on budget – and they took into account inflation. that’s what they are supposed to do.

          Jerry, why do they keep thier jobs? what did they do wrong? holy crap! steve, government can do no right by you, unless it’s completely run by you. give people a break. let them do thier jobs. why do they post signs telling people about projects? because people like you bitch and complain about everything possible (such as placing signs). So they feel the political pressure to let people know they are doing thier jobs. get off thier back, maybe they’ll stop having to let the public know they are working within budget, on time etc. with all the bitching people like you do, it would seem they never are working properly, when they are 95% of the time.

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  • Steven Plunk

    The public sector is now mastering the art of media manipulation.

    ODOT has been at it for some time here in southern Oregon by using public access TV and publishing (partnered with the Mail Tribune who sells advertising) “Moving Ahead with ODOT”. What a crock of self congradulatory mis-information. On budget, on time, super popular, whatever. Rather than give us unadorned facts we get sugar sweetened half truths meant to make it all look good. It ain’t.

    The legislature and local elected officials should look at these agency’s spending practices as see how much money is wasted in the PR department rather than being spent productively. We shouldn’t spend tax money on programs that mislead us.

    I was bicycling on a country road near an ODOT job site when I noticed one of the typical signs boldly proclaiming another great project funded by the OTIA (or whatever the appropriate acronym). You remember, the one about the bridges “crumbling”, except later the engineers discovered they were not crumbling nearly as much as they thought. Anyway, the bigger problem with this sign was that it was on a dead end road servicing about ten households. Why put up a sign that cost hundreds of dollars to tell people what they already know? Are state agencies so unsure of themselves they must always throw up these signs to annouce to the public what they are up to? The way I look at, anybody willing to waste a couple of hundred dollars certainly has np problem wasting a couple of thousand or million.

    Dylan is right to point out the spin machine at work here. By using such misdirection goverment furthers it’s unaccountability for bad ideas, bad decisions, and bad management. It’s a mild form of coverup for screwups. Rememeber that the coverups are as bad as the crimes, if not worse.

  • BTW … at 3:15 today … another Summer Combined Sewer media advisory went out.

  • oregonelam

    Let’s get together and line up a thousand hi-speed fans along the banks of the Willamette. The overflows should get noticed more easily, then.

  • If you think that you’re really anonymous … then that is a real hoot! You scream University of Oregon. Am I wrong?

    • Anonymous

      If not anonymous to all except possibly the proprietor of the site, then the site is highly unethical.

      By the way, aren’t you a little embarrassed about the title of your piece, the level of analysis, the fact that you are posting multiple comments?

  • One … I am no longer the proprietor of this site BUT I did look up your url obviously. I don’t think it’s unethical but if you do then I don’t really care. I dislike anon posters in general … and think that the anonymity is a deterrent to a real discussion.

    As for the string of questions … no … no .. and no. The title is certainly different and I thought it might draw some attention. And like I said in the opening paragraph, It’s just a cut a paste posting … if you want something meatier like into my postings on neo-con, immigration, or group think. And I might be totally lost on the last question … but wouldn’t you want to create a dialogue with the author?

    • Anonymous

      If the site doesn’t want anonymous posters, it should ban them.

      And I think your views on ethics are about as “deep” as much sense as your views on Portland civil engineering!

      • Hopefully, you’ll be taking reading next semester at Oregon … as you clearly need to develop these skills. Again … I am NOT the proprietor of the site so I CAN’T make guidelines or banning decisions. As a side note … it’s impractical to ban all anonymous posters. You can ban specific urls from posting but not all posters that want to register under a specific name. And if it is possible to ban a specific name … I am not web savvy enough to know how but again … I am not the proprietor.

        As for the ethical argument … I don’t have anything to critique. Your comments don’t lay out any reason why it would be unethical? If you give me a moral justification for your position then maybe we can have a discussion but absent that I can’t argue with nothingness. Anyways … I need to get ready to go out … have a nice night … if you would like to write a post on the Eugene Utility issue … I am sure the site would love to post it. Ciao!

  • Jerry

    I would post anonymously, too, if I was that foolish.

  • Tim Lyman

    “On budget…On time” That’s hilarious in it’s ignorance and/or dishonesty.

    Portland was first ordered to fix its sewers by the federal government in – if I rememebr correctly – 1969 as a result of legislation strengthening the original clean water act of (I think) 1964. For over thirty years they avoided dealing with the issue by obtaining waivers from the EPA and its predecessor. Finally, that evil despoiler of the environment, George W Bush, refused to grant another waiver and Portland had to do something to clean up the turd soup we call the Willamette River. The reaction of Mayor Katz and her chief of staff Sam Adams? Why, they screamed politics. Evil Republicans were sticking it to Portland’s good hearted pro-environment Democrats by calling in a tab 30 years overdue.

  • Steve S

    I sure get sick of the appoligst patsies spewing their misinformed city agency groupie speak.

    The EPA is threatening to fine the city because their “plan” will NOT remedy the spills.
    The Big PIPE is NOT a fix. It’s like having a rain drain at one of your downspouts with all the other downpouts draing into your basement. I don’t think I would be bragging about hooking up that one drain with a basement still flooding .

    Last year about this time,
    “The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) notified the City of Portland today that it will assess nearly $449,800 in civil penalties against the City for 67 sewer system discharges into the Willamette River and 4 of its tributaries over the last 5 years.”

    Most all of these have nothing to do with the Big Pipe fix.

    “Occasionally debris or roots block pipes and cause sewage to back up and to overflow from manholes.”

    “We have an aging sewer system, with a backlog of needed maintenance”

    “Aging infrastructure recently caused bricks that formed the Woods sewer line to collapse and cause an overflow by clogging the pipe.”

    That’s right the pipes are so old they are still made out of Bricks.

    Another sever problem is many sewer lines, now crumbling, were placed in stream beds so every time (often) there is a break the sewage runs right into the watershed.

    Environmental Services is responsible for maintaining more than 2,200 miles of sewer lines.

    Much of which needs replacing and moving.

    On time and on budget?
    What is? The propoganda?

  • Steve S

    City leaders, in 2000, sought federal help to extend the Big Pipe deadline from 2011 to 2020.
    Big Pipe debate: health vs. costs
    Environment – Portland, Oregon and the EPA clash on whether the city is doing enough to curb storm water
    Sunday, January 15, 2006
    The federal government is fed up.

    For five years, Portland leaders have fought to prevent Environmental Protection Agency regulators from getting involved in the city’s storm-water problems — including repeatedly accusing the EPA of playing politics.

    But soon, Portland City Council members are going to have to stop saying, “Why us?” and start asking, “How much?” Because regardless of the motivation behind it, the federal investigation into Portland’s $1.4 billion project, known as the Big Pipe, has unearthed holes in the city’s network for treating runoff.

    EPA regulators say there are three major problem areas:

    On wet days, about 5 percent of the runoff that passes through the Columbia Boulevard treatment plant skips a step in the cleansing process. Water that leaves the plant meets state standards, but the feds say there’s still risk.

    The city has 8,700 underground sumps, some sitting within 500 feet of drinking water wells. Marriott says Portland spends $750,000 annually monitoring its sumps; the EPA says the city should do more.

    In dry weather, an aging, overtaxed system and occasional human error mean some untreated runoff reaches the Willamette. The EPA wants Portland to spend more on preventive maintenance and other precautions.

    In addition to adding items to Portland’s to-do list, the feds want more oversight of the Big Pipe. Although Portland has met all its deadlines, federal managers say the state agreement needs stronger teeth to ensure further compliance.

    The Feds say Portland elected officials aren’t being responsible.

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