B&W News

Multnomah County voters approve Troutdale gas tax

The Oregonian
Gas tax: Troutdale voters were approving a 3-cent-a-gallon gas tax, phased in over three years, to pay for street maintenance. Early returns showed 53 percent approving.


Gresham Outlook
Unofficial results show voters support Troutdale gas tax
Incremental 3-cent-per-gallon tax would fund street maintenance

With unofficial results approaching 54 percent of voters in support on Tuesday evening, Nov. 3, the Troutdale fuel tax appears on its way to reality. Final tabulations will not be issued until Nov. 18 after Multnomah County tracks down any ballots with missing signatures, late arrivals or with unclear votes.

The measure was placed before voters after months of debate and planning by the Troutdale City Council to ensure its success. Settling on a 3-cent tax, the council designed the fuel tax to be phased in one penny per gallon at a time for the next three years. The revenue will be used to supplement dwindling street maintenance funds. Before the tax was sent to the ballot, Troutdale was facing a $500,000 discrepancy between state funding and needs to maintain the city’s street system.

“The majority understood this is a wise investment,” said Mayor Doug Daoust in a press release. “Every $1 spent on street preservation saves up to $12 for reconstruction.”

A fuel tax was selected in lieu of a street utility fee or increased vehicle registration fees, based on results from a focus group held in February.

Most concerns from the council and Trouble residents stemmed from an assumed link between prices at the gas pump and the gas tax, but studies have shown there is no discernible link.

Eugene, for example, has a 5-cent gas tax, yet fuel prices are lower than Cottage Grove, which only has a 3-cent tax.

Once implemented Jan. 1, 2016, tax collection will be managed by the Oregon Department of Transportation — thanks to a preemptive ordinance the council recently passed in October. The council chose this route, as ODOT already collects the state motor vehicle tax, eliminating the need for Troutdale to set up a potentially costly system.

“The main reason the community supports continued funding for the maintenance program is it extends the useful life of the pavement before it has to be rebuilt. With proper maintenance, the pavement can last up to 100 years,” said Troutdale Public Works director Steve Gaschler. “And the money collected in Troutdale stays in Troutdale.”

The measure included an accountability system, to demonstrate where the tax funds are being used.

“We are going to show the public exactly where the dollars are going,” said Councilor Larry Morgan.

Come January, a public reporting system will track revenues and expenditures, creating reports available to the public.

For more information, visit Troutdale’s website at




TROUTDALE, Ore. (KOIN) — Troutdale voters approved a ballot issue that would add a penny-per-gallon tax for each of the next 3 years, early election results showed late Tuesday night.

City leaders told KOIN 6 News the gas tax will raise $100,000 a year to pay for road maintenance and construction. The Troutdale City Council looked at a 5-cent per gallon increase, but gas station owners were worried about losing business.

The city tax would be added to the federal (18.4 cents), state (30 cents) and county (3 cents) gas taxes drivers already pay — a total that is just over 50 cents per gallon.

Fifteen other Oregon cities have a local gas tax ranging between a penny and a nickel per gallon.

The final results will come in as ballots are counted over the next couple of days.


Editorial: Public process on sewers worked well

Published Dec 5, 2014 at 12:14AM / The Bulletin

Bend city councilors unanimously voted to approve a new sewer plan Wednesday in a session that was marked by a general air of calm on the part of the public. It was quite a contrast from meetings before approval of the city’s Bridge Creek water system improvements, which were noisy, rancorous affairs.

What a difference an active public involvement process can make.

The new sewer plan will cost the city and its residents about $89 million and take 20 years to complete. It’s badly needed: As things now stand, parts of the existing sewer system are too small for the load they’re required to handle, and sewage can overflow onto city streets.

Too, parts of the city are still unsewered. In some neighborhoods, for example, houses were so far apart that when work to expand the city’s original system — built in 1913 — began in 1978, those neighborhoods were bypassed.

All that could have added up to the sort of public brouhaha that surrounded the Bridge Creek project. It could have, that is, if city officials had not recognized as well as they did the early mistakes they made when considering water-system improvements.

Yes, they held all the requisite public hearings on the matter, but few members of the community were actively engaged in the early planning that went into it. The city had to struggle to make up for that later. That was not the case this time around.

More than two years ago, the city created the Bend Sewer Infrastructure Advisory Group, made of local business people and others, to decide what improvements the sewer system needed and the best way to make them. The group met regularly and was supported by city staff and other experts, it took tours of facilities, and, in the end, all members agreed to the plan that was adopted Wednesday.

In fact, the process worked so well that several members of the advisory group have said they believe the city should consider a similar process when other major decisions must be made. No doubt city officials concur.

Bend adopts long-range sewer plan

City addresses overflows, outlines needed improvements

By Tyler Leeds / The Bulletin

As Published Dec 4, 2014 at 12:01AM in The Bulletin

The Bend City Council on Wednesday night adopted a plan estimated to cost $89 million to manage its overwhelmed sewer system, outlining needed improvements and prioritizing new construction for the next 20 years.

The Wastewater Collection System Master Plan has been two years in the making, involving input from private consultants, business and environmental groups and a 16-member volunteer advisory committee. The plan, which was adopted unanimously, includes steps to address overflows that have reached city streets and the Deschutes River, as well as to add capacity to handle new developments.

Included in the document is the Southeast Interceptor Project, the first phase of which was completed in 2011. In October, the city approved the project’s next phase, costing up to $5 million. The City Council earlier voted to raise sewer rates by 9 percent and water rates by 5 percent beginning this fall to help fund all of the estimated $89 million in work.

The council, which had reviewed the plan multiple times at previous meetings, adopted it without much discussion, with Mayor Jim Clinton remarking, “It looks pretty quiet up here.”

Bend Capital Improvement Projects Director Tom Hickmann noted he received only two comments on the final plan, one with concerns about the projects’ cost and the other questioning why one of the projects wasn’t completed sooner.

Sharon Smith, a member of the volunteer advisory committee, said there was little input because of the city’s inclusive process for developing the plan.

“The reason we don’t have a lot of testimony is because this was a terrific public input process that led to a very good plan,” Smith said. “We went out to groups in the community, sought input all along the way, and this is a great tool to use going forward.”

The plan calls for all new development within city limits to be connected to city sewer services and also directs the city to work on connecting existing neighborhoods that are not part of the system.

In other business, the City Council approved an additional $530,000 to be spent on replacing the water pipeline running out of Bridge Creek and for the installation of a new water treatment plant. The city had already allocated about $60 million for the two projects.

Central Oregon LandWatch and WaterWatch of Oregon filed suit in U.S. District Court over the pipe replacement, arguing the U.S. Forest Service did not adequately investigate how the project will affect Tumalo Creek and the fish within its waters before issuing a permit.

The added cost, city staff said, stems from delays caused by the lawsuit and the City Council’s decision to extend its debate over which type of treatment plant to build.

Hickmann noted that if there are future unforeseen delays, additional costs could be possible. U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken is expected to issue a decision on the case before the new year.

— Reporter: 541-633-2160, tleeds@bendbulletin.com

New Tools for Effective Communications

In today’s world of instant electronic communications, promising new tools are unveiled every month. Barney & Worth is committed to testing these tools to find cost-effective applications for Salem and other clients. A few of the best, offering benefits lasting well beyond the initial buzz, are described below.

  • Electronic polling: The new equipment is compact and easy for participants to use. Powerful analytical tools provide instant, usefulresults.
  • Social media: Facebook and Twitter, when used creatively, reach that segment of customers who no longer read the newspaper, surf the webor use email (it’s more people than you think).
  • Email list managers: EMMA and MailChimp are examples of low-cost email programs that efficiently keep track of interested parties’ contact data and information preferences. These programs provide engaging email templates, easily adaptable to clients’ needs.
  • SurveyMonkey: New features for this Oregon-born, global survey program include simple analytical tools and options to have SurveyMonkey manage prizes—a sure way to increase survey responses.
  • YouTube Channel: Many people don’t have time (or take time) to read. YouTube gets over 800 million unique user visits each month. Creating a YouTube channel with worthy videos—funny or “howto”—helps reach this enormous online audience.
  • Mobile applications: Traffic from mobile devices tripled in 2011. Americans increasingly live on their “smart phones”. Cities’ information should be there, too.
  • Prezi: This cloud-based presentation software provides an alternative to banal (and too often boring) PowerPoints. Audiences agree—they have had enough PowerPoint, and are aching to see something different.
  • GoToMeeting: Another easy-to-use technology that expands participation. Not everyone can attend a meeting. Let them participate, effortlessly, with this new teleconference technology that anyone can use.
  • Google Docs: Cities can easily use this program to share an interactive, online project / events calendar with their entire project team. It doesn’t cost a thing, and is easy to access.

League of Oregon Cities Property Tax Research & Analysis

The League of Oregon Cities is working on legislation that would authorize a statewide vote on a Constitutional amendment to revamp the current property tax limitations.   Barney & Worth led the consultant team that conducted the financial and public opinion research which informed the development of legislative proposals.  Barney & Worth also developed a communications plan outlining key messages, strategies and timing to effectively reach elected policymakers, voters and other audiences in preparation for a successful Constitutional amendment.

Portland Plan: East Portland School Districts Policy Coordination

Barney & Worth was selected by BPS to enable and support the districts’ investments (of time) in Portland’s long range planning. As a flexible, on-call resource, Barney & Worth staff built trust, provided liaison, leadership, facilitation, coordination, cheerleading, strategic thinking, communications support for the East Portland schools. The work resulted in meaningful district involvement in the Portland Plan.

City of Bend Infrastructure Strategic Communications Plan

Bend, like many other Pacific Northwest communities, is confronting the need to simultaneously upgrade and expand several key components of community infrastructure: for drinking water supply, wastewater collection and treatment, stormwater, streets and bridges, and aviation. Bend’s earlier infrastructure investments, some funded with federal dollars, are wearing out and need to be upgraded and replaced. And as the community has grown to 81,000, urgent capacity issues have also arisen. The bottom line: multiple infrastructure needs in Bend today totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.

As the City of Bend moves ahead to finance and construct the next generation of community infrastructure, it faces several significant communications challenges. Barney & Worth developed a strategic communications plan with strategies and tools for a well-coordinated three- to five-year communications campaign. Objectives include enhancing public education and involvement opportunities, providing easy access to the most up-to-date information, and reinforcing the City’s credibility to deliver the projects.

Morningside Neighborhood Plan

Morningside Neighborhood Association is highly interested in updating and adopting their Neighborhood Plan. A 2004 draft plan prepared by neighborhood association leaders will be used as a starting point for the update.

The City of Salem and its Community Development Department requested the assistance Barney & Worth to assist in designing and supporting public involvement for this project to assure interested citizens could participate effectively. Along with a communications and outreach plan, Barney & Worth staff created project branding, messaging, survey tools, PowerPoint presentations and helped facilitate the project kickoff meeting.

Morningside 360 logo

Lake Oswego Tigard Water Partnership

Results from the mini pilot plant study shows customers in Lake Oswego and Tigard will receive top quality water. Read more in the West Linn Tidings.

Barney & Worth leads strategic communications for the Lake Oswego Tigard Partnership. The project management team recognizes that success depends on building and sustaining understanding and support from Lake Oswego and Tigard policymakers, ratepayers, and facility neighbors.