Portland Water House Disaster

Dated: August 14 2013

Views: 1161

Havve you seen what the Portland has done lately.  Check out this Portland Water House Disaster.

"Portland Water House”

Built by the Portland Water Bureau


A KATU news article reads, “A controversial eco-friendly house built by the city of Portland is going on the market.”


According to information on the Portland Water Bureau website the house sounds great! It is Earth Advantage and Energy Star certified. It meets their strict requirements for energy efficiency, healthier indoor air, materials responsibility, land conservation and water conservation. But who paid for this over-priced project and what is the actual purpose of it?


Multiple sources say it was paid for with money straight from Portlanders' water/sewer bills! It was NOT supposed to cost tax-payers anything! In one news show it said the budget started at around 300K then went up to around 400K. A different news station says “Water Bureau officials in 2011 estimated the building would cost $200,000 and had hoped to sell it for $400,000.” I was unable to find information as to where the money for the house was supposed to come from in the first place.


Bureau spokesman Tim Hall said “It was a demonstration project and the costs were higher than what the water bureau and I believe Commissioner Leonard and the City Council thought they would be.”


Located at 1616 NE 140th Avenue, it wound up costing $950,000, says Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish. He calls the Water House a mistake he regrets. He also said “We will take a loss. A big loss, we’re not in the business of owning and operating water houses,” and “No one was watching the bottom line as carefully as they should. What I have learned is we have to do a better job of oversight.” Yet another statement from Nick Fish was this: "Was it the right idea then to build a high-end house to feature technologies when working families are having trouble making their mortgage payments during the great recession? No. In retrospect, was it a mistake? Yes." 


In a KGW article it said “The Water House came under fire when an audit revealed the water bureau was using customer payments to fund its construction. City code states that those payments can only be used for water and sewer services. The audit also found that City Council never approved the spending, which at that point had already reached an estimated $700,000.” That same article also provided this: “The Water Bureau is under new management,” Fish said Tuesday. “We are committed to stabilizing rates and to high levels of accountability and transparency.” Fish said about 2,500 people have toured the house since January 2011. It has also hosted workshops and classes on water efficiency practices. According to Fish, the proceeds from the Water House sale will go towards more stable water rates.


Who knows what the outcome will be. From all the information I found, it doesn't seem like a profit from the sale of The Water House is in order. The big questions on my mind are:

How will the money be paid back and when? What will the legal consequences be? How can this incredible misuse of public funds be prevented in the future and corrected in this present situation??

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Megan Womack

Megan Womack came to Front Door Realty with over 10 years of customer service experience. She thrives on making sure our clients come first, is the ultimate people person, and makes friends everywhere....

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