2.20.13 – Your Morning Buzz



City auditor releases second ‘scathing’ transportation audit on Portland road conditions – Portland has failed to maintain its most valuable asset, the 5,000 miles of roads that crisscross the city, allowing well over a third of its pavement to fall into poor or worse condition, according to an independent audit of the city’s transportation priorities released today.

Hales says he’ll develop transportation strategy, hints at new revenue following City Auditor’s report – Portland Mayor Charlie Hales will propose a transportation strategy to the city council and possibly suggest raising new revenues to get the city’s roads back in order, he said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon. Hales’ comments came in response to a City Auditor report that found Portland had failed to maintain its most valuable asset, the 5,000 miles of roads that crisscross the city, allowing well over a third of its pavement to fall into poor or worse condition.

Listen: Audit Finds Portland Paving Problematic – A report from Portland’s auditor sharply criticizes the city for neglecting street paving projects. Its analysis suggests the transportation bureau has strayed so far from basic street maintenance, it’ll take a generation to catch up.

New I-5 bridge bill sent to Oregon Legislature – A joint legislative committee Monday sent a bill to the full Oregon House and Senate that approves $450 million in bonds to help pay for the state’s share of a new bridge across Interstate 5. The group voted 14-2 in favor of the bill following a public hearing. The bill offers no specific plan for paying down the debt over the coming decades, roughly $30 million a year.



Bickering, lax oversight contributed to $800,000 Oregon City error, report contends – How did Oregon City fail to collect nearly $800,000 in homebuilder fees? Poor workmanship, lackluster management and petty bickering all played a role, according to an independent investigation. It all started with a city worker, Samantha Vandagriff, who forgot to program the building department’s computer system to start charging rate increases, the report said. Responsibility for monitoring her work was shared by several current and past supervisors who “demonstrated pattern of failing to fulfill their role.”

Clackamas County commissioners to decide Thursday whether to ask for advisory vote on Trolley Trail transaction – A possible May ballot measure asks whether the Clackamas County board should make an exchange of property with TriMet to complete the Trolley Trail. But, the question posed to residents on Thursday is whether it’s worth it to even ask.

Documents detail investigation into former Milwaukie city recorder – Investigators discovered at least nine “irregular” traffic citation transactions, ranging from $75 to $260, conducted by a former Milwaukie deputy city recorder, according to court documents released Tuesday. Juli K. Howard, 40, was arrested Feb. 13 and faces charges of theft, computer crimes and official misconduct. The documents allege Howard misappropriated more than $1,000 between May 25, 2011, and April 25, 2012, by manipulating a software program that documents Milwaukie Municipal Court fines.

Former Cornelius police chief, who retired amid internal investigation, says he didn’t know inquiry’s findings – Former Cornelius Police Chief Paul Rubenstein, who was on paid administrative leave since November pending an internal investigation, said he did not know any of the inquiry’s conclusions when he decided to retire Thursday. “I have not seen or been presented with any findings from the investigation and as long as there were no corruption or criminal findings, I do not care about the rest,” Rubenstein wrote in a statement, sent to The Oregonian on Saturday.

Hillsboro hopes Fourth and Main project pays off and pays back – In gambling parlance, Hillsboro is all-in on the Fourth and Main project. The 71-unit, four-story, mixed-used development is starting to emerge from a one-acre parcel in downtown, and city leaders are betting it will be a catalyst for future housing and development in the long-overlooked city core.

Inside Portland’s rising utility rates: Less water consumption means higher prices – Use less. Pay more? It’s a strange concept. But in Portland, lower consumption is having an unsettling consequence on water and sewer bills: higher rates. Thanks to thoughtful habits and energy-efficient home appliances, water consumption here and nationally is in decline. But because a large chunk of utility costs are fixed, city officials say they must raise rates to make up for the water customers  aren’t buying to green the grass or flush the toilet.

Intel expansion means new slew of transportation concerns for Hillsboro – Beyond thousands of news jobs, Hillsboro city officials say Intel’s latest expansiongives them another opportunity to improve congested roads and commutes for thousands of drivers.

Oracle will add 130 jobs building servers in Hillsboro – Oracle Corp. said this morning that it will shift 130 manufacturing and assembly jobs to Oregon from Mexico, and will retain 300 others that had been at risk of moving south. In return, the company won state incentives worth about $1.4 million. The incentives come in the form of forgivable loans, which turn into grants provided Oracle meets job growth and salary benchmarks.

Washington County commissioners to formally consider affordable housing tax exemption – A property tax exemption for non-profits that build affordable housing in Washington County took a step forward Tuesday. The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to have staff draft a formal ordinance for the exemption, which the board will likely vote on at some point this winter or spring. Under an emergency clause, the ordinance would take effect immediately after being signed or at a date specified by the board.

Greater Oregon

Bond sale saves ratepayers, taxpayers over $1 million – LINCOLN CITY – On Tuesday, February 12, the City of Lincoln City conducted an auction to refinance $8,888,000 of its 2005 Sewer bonds. The City was able to refinance the bonds at an interest rate of 2.44%, which is 2.09% lower than the previous rate of 4.53%. The new interest rate will lead to cost savings of $1,224,554, which is money that Lincoln City taxpayers and rate payers will not have to pay in the future.

Corvallis committee to look at public safety tax Wednesday –  The Corvallis Administrative Services Committee will consider a public safety tax at its 3:30 p.m. meeting Wednesday at the Madison Avenue Meeting Room, 500 S.W. Madison Ave. The issue was debated extensively at the Feb. 4 City Council meeting, with those present voting 5-2 to continue considering the tax. It would pay for 18 new employees and the reopening of Fire Station No. 5, which was closed in 2012 due to a budget shortfall.

Disaster planning moves to the top of the table – CANNON BEACH — Scene 1: It’s 9:55 a.m. Monday, Oct. 13, 2013 in Cannon Beach. No rain, calm wind; high temperature will be 59 degrees, low will be 44. Everyone in town is going about their usual activities. City officials are either in their City Hall offices or out about town. A police officer is giving a speeding motorist a ticket on U.S. Highway 101 near Tolovana. A resident is walking his dogs on Gower Street; another resident is working in his garage on the north side of town; and a third resident is just driving back to Cannon Beach from the grocery store in Seaside. Suddenly, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake erupts offshore in the Cascadia subduction zone. The ground shakes for five minutes. A tsunami will approach in 15 to 25 minutes. And so the tabletop exercise begins.

Lebanon appeals unfair labor practices ruling – The city of Lebanon has appealed a June 2012 unfair labor practice ruling by the Employment Relations Board. City Attorney Tre’ Kennedy filed the appeal late Friday on the basis that the opinion of one city councilor does not constitute the opinion, nor sanction of the entire city council.

Seaside council approves natural hazards mitigation plan – In an effort to increase Seaside’s resilience to natural hazards, the city council approved an addendum to the Clatsop County multi-jurisdictional Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan last week. This addendum pays particular attention to the natural hazards that are likely to affect Seaside, such as tsunamis, wildfires, floods, landslides and more.

The Career Center

Three Myths About Joining a Board – The best and most fulfilling professional development experiences of my career have come from serving on nonprofit boards. When I speak with professionals about the opportunity they usually say that it never occurred to them that they would be a fit for a board. When you unpack their assumptions, it turns out that they are carrying around at least one of these three myths.

Don’t Just Adapt to Change, Create It – Is change coming at you from the outside in, or the inside out? My experience in working with top leaders from business, government and education on five different continents is that the majority of change comes to us from the outside in.

What does it mean when a job opening is reposted with a new deadline? It might mean that they weren’t satisfied with the applicant pool they got in the first go-round and decided to try again, but there are all kinds of other things it could mean too.

The World Wide Web

Wife of Pi

On Quitting Email, For Good (And For Real) – So, as I was saying to folks at work, friends etc.: As of April 2nd I will quit email. Lots of other ways to connect to me, but the constant flush of email that I’m supposed to read and so on, made me decide this. Will it work? I sure hope so — because the way we are using email is insane.

Facebook Being Sued Over Like Button – The social network is currently being sued for its use of the Like button, a feature which was patented by Dutch programmer Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer in 1998, five years before Facebook’s launch.

5 Social Apps To Encourage Employee Health and Wellness – Health care is a huge subject right now — and for good reason.

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