Here is a summary of meeting notes taken by Sumner Association of Neighbors (SAN) at a pre-application conference between septic pumper Water Truck Service (WTS) and the city Bureau of Development Services (BDS) on October 20, 2011.

As explained in this previous article, WTS is operating a wastewater processing and disposal facility at 8828 NE Killingsworth — the corner of NE 89th and NE Killingsworth — without the required conditional use permit for waste-related use as specified by city code 33.140.100.

You can also download the official BDS meeting summary (PDF).

Short Summary

  • WTS owner Bob Jonas & his attorney David Nepom said they hired some high-powered transnational sewer conglomerateVeolia Services — to devise their odor containment strategy.
  • BDS told Bob and David explicitly that WTS would need ‘adjustments’ for — that is, exceptions from — 4 or 5 elements required under the ‘waste-related use’ section of the city land use code. They would also have to justify those adjustments as being as good as or better than meeting the actual requirements.
  • Normally, an applicant would have 1 full year from a pre-app conference until they must submit their CU plan. Because they are ‘under enforcement,’ WTS get only 60 days from the meeting on 20 Oct 2011 to submit a plan.

WTS at NE 89th and NE Killingsworth

Caption: WTS at NE 89th and NE Killingsworth

Longer Summary

We met at 10:30 AM this morning and Allison from CNN was there. There were introductions all around and WTS owner Bob Jonas was there with his attorney, David Nepom. There was an array of city officials (BES, PBOT, BDS, etc) listed on the agenda, and they even had a slot for us to speak at the end.

Bob & David mentioned hiring some high-powered transnational sewer conglomerate to devise their odor containment strategy. That seemed to be the core of what they knew they were going to do.

Most of the meeting, however, involved the city officials from each bureau taking turns stating what they require — some as part of basic conditional use (CU) requirements, some as part of the waste-related CU requirements — for CU permit plan. It was deep. Traffic impact, enviro impact, nuisance mitigation, etc.

A BDS rep named Sheila walked through all the specifics for land use and even stated explicitly, one by one, that WTS would need ‘adjustments’ for 4 or 5 elements required under the ‘waste-related use’ section of the city land use code 33.254 — because they physically cannot do them at the 8828 NE Killingsworth site. Specifically:

  • Traffic access from a ‘major street’ as designated in the city transportation plan
  • Enclosed space for loading and unloading
  • 100-foot setbacks
  • Screening and landscaping in setback area

When I spoke, I told them about the impact of the odor (health, shut windows, etc) and how far the odor ranges now that the wind has shifted with the season. But I also said, on a more basic level, that the ‘wholesale’ need for adjustments — something like 5 out of 10 points — indicate that the site ‘simply isn’t suitable’ for this kind of work.

Bottom line: Normally, an applicant would have 1 full year from a pre-app conference until they must submit their CU plan. Because they are ‘under enforcement,’ WTS get only 60 days from the meeting on 20 Oct 2011 to submit a plan.

Timeline After that, you can see the timeline — with the CU application submission listed as ‘Day One’ — on the BDS Type III Conditional Land Use Review (PDF). When WTS submits a plan, BDS gets 21 days to determine whether it’s complete. If it is, they will do two things (1) set a date with a hearings officer — about 50 days out — for a public hearing on the CU application and (2) notify the neighborhood association, business assn, and property owners within 400 feet requesting comments on the application. But we’ll notify everyone we can and anyone can comment.

About 10 days before the public hearing, BDS staff will make a recommendation — up or down — on the plan & notify the applicant of that recommendation. We probably get notified, but either way the recommendation will be public record.

Approximate (!) dates:

  • Dec 19 – WTS submits CU application
  • Jan 9 – BDS determines whether the application is complete. If so, neighbors are notified, public comment period begins, and a hearing date is set about 50 days later.
  • Feb 20 – BDS staff makes a recommendation on the application
  • Mar 2 – Public hearing in front of a hearings officer. Public can make direct comments at the hearing. Decision can be rendered on the spot or sent out within 17 days.
  • Mar 19 – Decision mailed out, 14-day appeal period begins.
  • Apr 2 – 14-day appeal period ends. Any appeal goes to the Portland city council. It’s not clear how soon they’d need to hear & decide after this date.

Three guest speakers + a lot of status updates to report = a long October meeting. Many thanks to our Sumner Association of Neighbors (SAN) secretary, Erica, for these (abridged) notes from the October 18, 2011 meeting.

Report from Portland Police Officer Jerry Cioeta

  • Presented offense report from past 30 days- “smash and grab” car prowls and home invasions being a focus with upcoming holiday season.
  • Suspected activity of 82nd & Sandy Blvd. The perception of activity is often exaggerated. Is currently working with 7-11, Dotty’s and Pizza Hut businesses on a Trespassing Agreement. Questions of what kinds of activity happen at the intersection: drugs (heroin), prostitution and fights. Because of efforts of Portland police (prostitution detail) some activity is down from 3-4 years ago.
  • Neighbors brought to the officers attention, suspicious activity in the vicinity of 90th and Going street. Officer Jerry is well versed with “JT and crew”. Scott requested more patrols on Going st. Scott has invited Mark Wells, Community Policing Officer to November’s meeting for Neighborhood Watch discussion.
  • Addressed questions of Neighbors who have called CNN/Ronda regarding Magazine salespeople sales tactics, especially to elderly neighbors. Officer Cioeta is familiar with the magazine companies (operating with a legitimate business license) and based out of the Howard Johnson hotel on 82nd. He encouraged to not answer door and to call the police if any problems with magazine salesperson.

Guest Speaker: Michael Andersen of Willamette Pedestrian Coalition: WPC is a non profit organization dedicated to promoting walking and making the conditions for walking safe and inviting.

  • To become involved with WPC please call 503-223-1597 or
  • Anticipated completion of the “Getting Around on Foot” 54 pg. Action plan- Working with PBOT, Trimet, and ODOT to ensure that walking is a part of their planning and development projects.
  • Another resource for Transportational Related issues, 503-823-SAFE (7233)

Guest Speaker: Babs Adamski, Community Outreach Coordinator, City of Portland Office of Planning & Sustainability to discuss the new composting program:

  • Gave a little history of Phase I (co-mingling) & II (food waste compost) of solid waste/recycling efforts
  • Residents seemed more concerned with pests- Metro, Vector control, Mult. Co. Health dept. weighed in on the health concerns-it is unlikely if you have not experienced any previous problems with pests, you will not with the new collection system- (covered containers)
  • Answered questions regarding the new composting Curbside Collection “Be Cart Smart”. Need help? See or call the hotline 503-823-7202 or email:
  • Update on 19 Nov 2011: Holiday composting tips from the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability: Include the Food: Holiday tips and tricks (34 KB DOC)

Other business:

  • Approval for Draft calendar for 2012. Approved with three updates: (1) Friends of Trees purchase deadline for yard/sidewalk trees Feb. 6, 2012 subject to extension; (2) Johnson Lake Stewardship work party TBA – more details on stewardship program needed; (3) Annual Sumner Neighborhood Clean Up, date changed to Saturday, May 19th, 2012.
  • Update on Halloween Party. Heather secured donations from Cascade Station Subway; Mountain Coin to bring games to event; Candy donations accepted through 10/27.
  • Update on Community Garden. Scott met with Parkrose School Superintendent, Dr. Karen Gray and business manager, Mary Larson today. Garden plans were well received. Recommendations were to attend the upcoming Parkrose School Board Meeting and present to the board for review. Steering committee is to be formed.
  • Johnson Lake Stewardship. Recent clean up was well attended. As per calendar amendments, April 2012 clean up event TBA-More information needed on Stewardship Program from Parks & Rec.
  • Liquor License Application. Please refer to website for most current information on this topic.
  • Friends of Trees. Save the Date the Neighborhood Tree Planting (with Parkrose, Argay, Parkrose Heights, Russell & Wilkes) – Saturday, March 10, 2012. Sign up by 2/6/12. Deadline to purchase trees is 2/20/12. More information to come.
  • Update on 82nd to 47th and Sandy Blvd Paving project. Postponed until Spring 2012
  • Sumner Pride Litter Patrol. 1,543 lbs. of Litter collected so far this year. Next clean up, Saturday, 10/29/11
  • WTS septic pumper and processor. The WTS Conditional Use Permit pre-application conference is scheduled for Oct 20. Web links to the City of Portland and DEQ pages — and ongoing updates — can be found on the SAN website.

Here are the (overdue) meeting notes from our September 2011 meeting, as recorded by Erica, the secretary for Sumner Association of Neighbors (SAN).

Note: Any scorn for the tardiness of posting these notes should be heaped on Scott, not Erica. 😉

Report from Portland Police Officer Eric Zajac:
Presented offense report from past 30 days- car prowls and car theft on slight rise around Portland area.

Neighbors brought to the officers attention, suspicious activity in the vicinity of 90th and Going street.(Suspected drug dealing activity, littering, etc.) Officer Eric mentioned that more patrols could be requested. Scott has invited Mark Wells, Community Policing Officer to November’s meeting-It is possible to bring back the Neighborhood watch program- More to be discussed at the November meeting.

Guest Speakers: Regarding the WTS Situation/Update-Discussion Notes

Eric DeBerry, Bureau of Environmental Services (BES):

  • Better described BES responsibilities and how they are handling the WTS issue – how BES is overseen by DEQ and ultimately odor calls should be handled by DEQ- Emerson St. Neighbors did not feel DEQ did a thorough job of inspecting the odor at WTS.
  • WTS processes oily waste water and “septage” at this site.
  • Neighbors questioned the “chemical” spray WTS is using. It is unknown what is “chemically” being sprayed in truck bays- most likely something like Industrial “Febreeze” to cover odor. Eric stated he would try to find out what was being sprayed? (MSDS)
  • A question was brought to the floor: “Was WTS being compliant or were they “hedging”? Eric said there was no room for hedging-if WTS is unsuccessful with CU permit/odor mitigation-they would not be allowed to operate.

Michael Lefield, Bureau of Developmental Services (BDS):

  • This is a zoning/land use issue
  • Explained process in obtaining a Conditional Use permit: > WTS> Land Use review> applicant to prove to Code hearing officer odor, litter, Noise level impacts > Community comment> BDS> Code hearing officer hears BDS recommendations> Goes to City Council
  • Question: Did BDS need evidence of WTS’s operations? No, Already in violation of CUR
  • Addressed the question of the 100 ft. set back rule- WTS can ask for a variance/adjustment.
  • Our remedy for this issue is Conditional Land Use Review.
  • Made recommendations on how the NA can be effective during this process. Have Patience –this issue has a majority of BDS resources/ person power focus-but a time line is in place; have information ready (commended neighbors for being informed), be factual.

SAN wants to thank Michael and Eric for attending our neighborhood meeting, looking people the eye, and answering some very tough and specific questions from our residents with candor and respect. Special thanks to Eric because this was his first public meeting representing BES in (I believe) 16 years with the agency.

Water Truck Service (WTS) has filed for a pre-application conference with the Portland Bureau of Development Services (BDS).

It is the first official step that WTS, a Sherwood-based septic pumper and wastewater treatment and disposal business located at 8828 NE Killingsworth, can take toward obtaining the required conditional use permit for their waste-related operation in Sumner neighborhood here in NE Portland. They have been operating illegally without the permit since spring 2010.

The pre-app conference date is set for Thursday, October 20, at 10:30 AM downtown at the main BDS office, 1900 SW 4th Avenue, 4th Floor, Room 4a. The meeting is open to the public, but neighborhood attendees can only observe and not participate.

WTS sign

Acording to the BDS notice, “The purpose of the conference is to provide information to the applicant to help them prepare a complete project proposal. Interested parties may attend, but the purpose is to provide information to the applicant.”

The official notice can be found on the BDS website. We have also posted a copy of the pre-app conference notice on our website (1.28 MB PDF).

In late July, based on neighborhood inquiry, BDS determined that WTS was operating a ‘waste-related’ business at 8828 NE Killingsworth. In late August, WTS was fined $500 for non-compliance with city land use laws because they had neither obtained nor applied for a conditional use permit. By filing for a pre-app conference — at a fee of about $3700 — they stop the clock on further non-compliance fines.

Any ‘waste-related’ operation requires a conditional use permit because of the impact on nearby land uses. In this case, nearby residents have been complaining for months about the odor of septage (the human waste pumped from septic tanks) trucked to the industrially zoned site bordering residential properties for unloading, processing and disposal.

Reps from BDS and the city Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) attended our Sept 20 neighborhood meeting to discuss WTS and their status. The owner of WTS, Bob Jonas of Sherwood, was contacted several times and also invited to attend, but never responded.

For more background about WTS and the issues there, see this previous article. For a video report by local TV reporter Ed Teachout on KGW, see their report.

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