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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Parks Bureau Announces Occupy Portland Cleanup Tab: $85,850

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 11:59 AM

Portland's parks bureau has finally refined its last estimate for what it will cost to spruce up Chapman and Lownsdale Squares—home, for nearly six weeks, to Occupy Portland's Alpha and Beta Camps.

The current tally? An oddly symmetrical $85,850. (And, says spokesman Mark Ross in a statement, that doesn't include some $45,000 in staff and material costs spent during the occupation of the parks.)

The biggest chunk ($28,000) is related to what looks to be a total reconstruction of the restroom at Lownsdale Square, along SW Salmon Street. The next biggest chunk ($16,500) will pay to repair seven benches at the two parks and replace two others.

Meanwhile, parks officials (publicly) and some cops (privately) had worried about finding piss and shit and and drug needles and generator-fuel in the muck, something that could have dramatically raised costs. The good news is that no soil contamination was found.

How much does the city spend in a normal year to maintain the two parks? I've got a message into Ross and I'll update when I hear back. Update 2:15PM: Ross replied about an hour ago that, from September 8, 2010, to November 7, 2011, the parks bureau "spent just $653.14 for aeration, fertilizing, and irrigation at Lownsdale and Chapman Squares." I've now asked whether that's all the cash spent on the parks in that span.

Update 3:10PM: Ross replies:

No, there are costs for mowing, irrigation/lawn sprinkler maintenance and repair, litter pickup, garbage removal, contracted restroom cleaning, building and bench maintenance, light systems maintenance, shrub and tree care, hard surface cleaning, and leaf removal. Safety inspections possible too.
I will look into the costs for that.

Stay tuned...Update 3:40PM: Ross says the costs for the above list of work, from September 2010 to October 2011, comes to $897.31 in materials, and $18,485.19 for labor. Not chump change—but only a fraction of what Parks is currently estimating.

It should be noted that Occupy Portland has offered its hands and time (and money) to help with the cleanup. The Portland Parks Foundation has raised $33,000 so far in a fund that most supporters of Occupy seem to be using. As the Mercury reported last week, the vast majority of those giving to the fund overwhelmingly support the movement.

Update 2:50PM: Occupy media volunteer Reid Parham offered a tart assessment of what the parks looked like before Occupy Portland settled in: "The pre-occupation condition of the Lownsdale Square men's restroom included nonfunctional lights and sinks, various human excretions on the floors, and heroin-abusing inhabitants. I hope [Parks Commissioner Nick] Fish intends the parks’ 'restoration' to surpass the previous status quo."

A full breakdown of the costs is below the cut.

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