Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bus barn battles

Two thoughts from the Lake Oswego Review front page article November 13, 2014.

Waluga bus garage has neighbors fuming
By Jillian Daley

Diesel emissions spew from tailpipes and engines growl as dozens of school buses queue up and trundle through the Waluga neighborhood of Lake Oswego, starting at about 6:30 a.m. on weekdays.

Buses rumble down Beasley Way during the evening, on weekends and in the summer, too, ferrying students and other groups to special events. The large buses squeeze down narrow roads, sometimes rolling onto sidewalks for tight turns and making it difficult for residents to navigate their neighborhoods.

Living on the same street as a bus garage is “hell,” Kate O’Rielly says.

1.  Industrial areas are important for cities to have and maintain.  As the city continues to make plans to re-zone the "under-performing" two industrial areas in the city.  They aren't pretty.  They don't have glamorous jobs, though the largest employer in the city with high-paying jobs is in the SW industrial zone.

Where does a city put necessary utility or function?  Where do you put a wastewater treatment plant, a bus barn. a city operations facility?  These facilities do not make good neighbors and this is why industrial zones exist - to segregate functional land uses.  Where would you put the bus barn - is there room in your neighborhood?
First Student’s contract with Lake Oswego goes back more than a decade. In 2003, the district hit financial hard times — a difficult period that lasted about three fiscal years — and took “drastic measures” to close a budget gap, a 2013 district financial report says.

“The entire transportation staff of 40 people was laid off in June 2003 and a contract for transportation services was entered into with First Student (formerly Laidlaw),” the report says. “The district’s bus fleet was also sold at that time for $1,000,000 to Laidlaw as part of

2.  To save money, the school district cut personnel and contracted out services.  With this move, the city was no longer obligated to pay for ballooning salary, benefits and retirement costs that continued to cut into direct educational services, it's primary function.

The City can learn some lessons from the school district and other cities that have decided to use contracted personnel to fulfill city services to save the taxpayers money or retain city services when budget get tight.  As long as there are controls against cronyism, a serious study of which contract services could benefit the city is needed.

1 comment:

  1. This a very good example of why outsourcing works. Wonder why the School District, now in much better financial shape, has not brought the work back in house?
    The City of Lake Oswego has similar opportunities staring it in the face. Why doesn't the City take advantage of similar opportunities and there by hold down our tax bill?