We in the condohood have been hearing about “economies of scale” for months and months. It was a strong selling point, conceived by our very own condo representative seated on the board of the Clean & Safe organization. Our representative has talked repeatedly, and has been quoted in print numerous times for his opinion, that inclusion of additional condominiums into the Clean & Safe District would make our participation more equitable. Economies of scale, we were told, would lower our costs. According to him, administrative costs would remain the same and additional ground level workers would be paid with the increased income from the 10 added condominiums. Therefore, more money would be available to be spread among the district, thereby lowering individual costs.
Today the City of Portland Revenue Bureau released their findings after months of in-depth investigation, data collection, and feedback from focus groups and other sources. (That report can be seen here.) In summary, it was found that the overwhelming majority of condo owners do not want to be dragged into the Clean & Safe program. They cited lack of benefit, duplication of services, and the advantage to businesses – NOT residences – among the many reasons. Moreover, the Revenue Bureau found that expansion of the district would not lead to “economies of scale” but conversely would result in a projected $74,000 deficit.
Interestingly, the Revenue Bureau took a particularly close look at the residents in the Eliot Tower. The HOA of that building voted in favor of joining the Clean & Safe District. However, their representation proved not to be in accord with its residents. In fact, the Revenue Bureau reported that “Eliot owner results are separately displayed [in their report] because the Eliot Towers HOA voted to endorse joining the District but many Eliot owners turned out in focus groups to object to joining.” Thus, they found that a majority of Eliot Tower residents did not endorse participation.
If only our HOA had fought for us in 2009 when we were dragged into the Clean & Safe program against our will. All of the arguments expressed regarding the current expansion held true for us then and continue to be true today. Sadly we did not put up a fight. Instead our representatives pushed for inclusion, seeing things only through their eyes.
Like a Christmas Room.