LETTER: Gresham imposes unnecessary charges on contractors
As a contractor who works in Gresham on underground utilities, I wanted to share what is happening from my perspective.
I believe the citizens of this community are being taxed in ways that are just like being robbed. Here's an example: I had to purchase a street opening bond to work in the "right of way" on a property within the city of Gresham, even though I already carry a $20,000 bond for the state. The job we were doing didn't call for any work in the street, yet we had to pay the city $900 for a street opening bond. I passed that $900 on to my customer. We did not open the street or do any work in the street. Gresham got $900 off the citizen for no legitimate reason.
Another example: We did a job within Gresham city limits. The "right of way" inspector had us install a two-way clean out at the end of the property, about 5 feet deep. The thing is, a two-way clean out only works — or is required — in depths of 3 feet or less, and we had already installed one near the foundation that does the most good for future access to the line for cleaning and videoing. This property has no sidewalk and the inspector made us install a clean out in the customer's lawn, out at the edge of her property, with a cast iron lid and a 2-by-2 concrete pad right in her lawn. The cost to the customer? Another $500 that does no good and is just an eyesoar in her yard.
I am concerned the city is using its authority to fleece its citizens. When a contractor is charged $900 to do a job over and above the cost of permits and for no reason, it makes me wonder what else it may be doing to increase its revenue streams and how that benefits the hard working folks in this town.
Keith Reynolds, Northeast Portland
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.