Monday, August 20, 2007

Towering monstrosity

The city is on the verge of replacing the ugly 439-foot, lattice communications tower on Council Crest with another equally ugly one (think Erector-set ugly).

Unless neighbors step up with a better idea (think "sculpture") at a hearing to be held Monday, August 27, at 9:00, 1900 SW 4th Avenue, we are stuck with this antennae-laden monstrosity in one of Portland's most cherished parks.

Bureaucratic tunnel vision is missing a great opportunity. The staff report is about as imaginative as an I-beam. The report, which is worth reading, imperiously and mindlessly blows off serious neighborhood concerns.

Interestingly, beautiful towers are popping up all over the state — in the form of windmills. The sleek stanchions topped by turbines and blades seem perfect for the new emergency communications tower. And because they are clearly being mass produced, they may be cheaper than the spindly folly planned for Council Crest.

If blade noise isn't a problem, the tower might even incorporate a wind-power generator, which would help the environment, set a civic example and produce revenue (how about for undergrounding utilities?).

Certainly the idea is worth investigating.

If you can't attend the hearing, you can e-mail your comments to the senior planning officer on the case, Sylvia Cate, referencing the Council Crest tower.

(Thanks, by the way, to Deb Scott's blog, Stoney Moss, for alerting me to the hearing.)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blade noise is probably the least problem with the wind turbine idea. The turbine's generator will likely interfere with the emergency communications especially if the turbine is on the tower.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Rick Seifert said...

That makes sense, although the towers now come in odd configurations, almost like trees with branches. One branch could support the turbine, the other could be for the communications equipment, although there might still be interference.

10:36 PM  
Blogger ...deb said...

Hi Rick,

I like the idea of a different tower design. I don't mind towers--we are in an urban setting--but making something of them would be interesting, especially in so prominent a place. There are lot's of windmill designs that are more bird-sensitive, too. Perhaps PV panels could be installed.

As far as the tower siting. I have looked at the "findings" and don't have a concern about the fencing. They are replacing what is already there as needed to match the new tower's needs. It does project further into the center of the park. Hopefully they don't wipe out too much landscape with the change.

I do find the access road odd. On Google Earth (go to PortlandMaps and use Council Crest or 3405 SW Council Crest Dr as your locator) the exisiting access appears much smaller than it does on the sketch (Exhibit C-6). The sketch says "exisitng". I hope that is true. I'd hate to see more paving, and the notice I saw on Fairview and the text of the findings seem to indicate more paving. The sketch isn't clear to my eyes.

Lastly, the finding say the public was involved. I know there were neighborhood meetings, but were the concerns from the meetings ever addressed or answered. The findings don't give any details.

That is something I'd like to know.

Thanks for posting about this.

Do you think you'll go to the hearing?

12:48 PM  

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