Laborers’ Local 483
1125 SE Madison St., Rm. 206 Phone: (503)239-5676
Portland, OR 97214-3600 Fax: (503)239-5741
NEWS RELEASE CONTACT:
December 21, 2011 Megan Hise 503-459-1515
Retired Parks Employee Defends Occupiers from City’s Claims
Damage to Chapman/Lownsdale issue of deferred maintenance
(Portland, OR) – Recently retired Portland Parks and Recreation employee Dan Forner says the Parks department’s estimate of the cost of refurbishing Chapman and Lownsdale parks unfairly implicates the Occupy Portland encampment. As the maintenance plumber with PP&R for 13 years before retiring in June, Forner says the $28,000 estimate to repair the Lownsdale restroom includes replacing features that the Parks department was aware were needed as of June 2011, months before the October 6, 2011 occupation. This is just one example of deferred maintenance in Parks that the proposed 2012-2013 budget cuts will increase.
When Forner read about the City’s claims that the 8 week occupation caused over $85,000 in damages, he was inspired to share what he knew with the public. “In June of 2011 I was asked to rank the restrooms most in need of refurbishment. I put Lownsdale at the top of that list.” The toilets, Forner says, were originally damaged when someone poured wet concrete down the bowls. Forner had the three toilets repaired, but they were never replaced in spite of heavy use by transient people and employees in the downtown core.
Towards the end of the occupation, Parks closed the Chapman women’s restroom because someone flushed a pair of jeans. In fact,Parks employees understand that houseless people living downtown frequently use the stainless steel public toilets to wash their clothes, which occasionally get stuck in the plumbing. There is a pattern of use that is not unique to the Occupy Portland camp thatParks staff members have not had the resources to adequately address. “None of the stuff that they are saying happened because of the occupiers. I don’t care if they say it costs $85,000, the point is that the Portland occupiers did not do it!”
Richard Beetle, Business Manager for Laborers’ local 483 says “we’ve represented Parks employees for over 80 years. We know that every year our members are asked to deliver higher levels of service with ever shrinking revenues. The backlog in maintenance has reached unsustainable levels- and it has nothing to do with Occupy Portland. We can no longer kick this can down the road. We have to reinvest in our parks.”
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Laborers’ Local 483
1125 SE Madison St. Ste 206, Portland, OR 97214