October 14th, 2013 | by AARON MESH News | Posted In: City Hall, Environment

Fish Flushes $4,200 Sewer Calendar

sewercalendar2013 Bureau of Environmental Services wall calendar. The month of October features stormwater planters. - Aaron Mesh

Facing a ballot-initiative battle over control of Portland utilities, City Commissioner Nick Fish is trying to show he's cutting costs at the water and sewer bureaus.

The latest casualty? The Bureau of Environmental Services' 2014 wall calendar.

Fish has instructed the bureau not to print next year's calendar, which costs $4,200.

"Commissioner Fish is looking for any opportunity to show that we're good stewards of ratepayer dollars," says Jim Blackwood, Fish's policy director. "It's a small thing, but they add up."

Fish was assigned both ratepayer bureaus in June. He has quickly become the target of activists and businesses who say the city has let utility rates balloon out of control.

Those dissidents are currently gathering signatures for a May 2014 ballot initiative that would strip water and sewer spending decisions away from City Hall.

So Fish has begun offloading costs, including trying to sell the $950,000 model home known as the "Water House."

The 2013 calendar, which is handed out by the Bureau of Environmental Services to promote its green infrastructure, features pictures of bioswales, disconnected downspouts and ecoroofs.

The December photographs—the last the bureau will produce—highlight stormwater art: a pebble design on the Oregon Health and Science University ecoroof, and disconnected downspout at Ethos Music Center in the shape of a treble clef.

 
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