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December 28th, 2011 12:01 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

Murmurs: Retired Parks Bureau Plumber Challenges Occupy Portland’s Clean-Up Tab

The real pests occupying city buildings.

  • Occupy Portland reportedly did $85,000 in damage during its 39-day stay in Lownsdale and Chapman squares-—this according to the Parks & Recreation Bureau. But a retired Parks Bureau plumber challenges those numbers. Dan Forner, who retired in June, says the city is unfairly blaming Occupy for long overdue repairs. Case in point: $23,000 to replace and fix plumbing in the Lownsdale restroom. Forner says the toilets needed fixing long before the Occupation. “At one time we thought it might even be cheaper to tear down these restrooms and put in one of those loos,” Forner says. Parks spokesman Mark Ross says experts vetted the Occupy-related repair estimates; city records don’t list the Lownsdale restroom on a pre-Occupy list of deferred maintenance. Megan Hise of Laborers Local 483, which publicized Forner’s claim, says the city simply didn’t list everything the park needed. “The parks budget is being significantly cut,” Hise says. “The city is using this [Occupy] movement to raise money to make those repairs. We think it’s unfair.”
  • The City of Portland has launched what it calls an “integrated pest management plan” for city buildings. Sustainable building coordinator Wendy Gibson says that means a “proactive” approach: An exterminator makes regular visits to apply less-toxic pesticides. (The old practice: call exterminators as needed, with no limits on the chemicals applied.) For the first time, the city publishes pest-control reports on nearly 40 of its buildings. The city-owned Southwest 10th Avenue and Yamhill Street parking garage was a relative hotbed, with exterminators making several visits to treat roaches for one tenant, a restaurant. Other discoveries: fruit flies in the Portland Police Bureau’s East Precinct community room, a mouse at North Precinct, rats at the Mounted Patrol Facility and—yuck—silverfish in a sergeant’s office at the Police Training Division. Inspections of City Hall revealed—would you believe it?—“no [rodent] activity inside.”
  • Give!Guide 2011 Update: Thanks a million—and more—to the thousands of WW readers who have made this year’s effort a success for 100 participating local nonprofits. G!G’s total hit $1 million just after 3 pm on Dec. 27. Please visit wweek.com/giveguide before midnight Saturday, Dec. 31, to contribute. At this late date, two small organizations could benefit from your special attention: Defunkt Theatre, a Drammy Award-winning, all-volunteer company that produces adventurous, challenging and genre-defying theater at low cost to Portland audiences, and Playworks, which provides “coaches” to improve the learning, health and well-being of low-income elementary students before, during and after school.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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