Mayor Balks the Plan
Laurelhurst Park Projectors Fail to Win Executive
Mayor Simon yesterday afternoon refused to give his consent to a plan, suggested by Oskar Huber, on behalf of the Laurelhurst Park projectors, for the laying of water mains under the bonding act. He is opposed to the city taking any part in the proposition, he states, as it is against his policy to permit the municipality to have control of or incur any expense in pipes where there is not at least 6% revenue on the amount required to install.
There was considerable discussion between Mr. Huber and the Mayor and members of the Water Board, to whom Mr. Huber applied for permission to proceed with the installation of the water mains in the Laurelhurst district, he wishing the consent of the Board so that the property could be bonded, although, as he said, the projectors of the new district propose to pay for all of the improvements themselves, the city not being charged for any of it.
Mayor Simon was unable to see it that way, and the matter was taken under advisement until the next regular meeting, which will be held in two weeks. The Mayor is very much opposed to city being behind any such project, as he says it certainly would be were it to permit the laying of the mains by the consent of the Water Board and under its direction, so that the property abutting the mains could be bonded.
"If the promoters of Laurelhurst wish to lay water mains, I have no objection, most certainly,” said Mayor Simon. "But if they wish to lay the mains and have the city behind them, so that, in case any property owner there refuses to pay the assessment, or the property its not worth the price, the city must pay it, I am opposed to it. The only thing for Laurelhurst people to do is to lay their mains and pay for them privately.”
“The Laurelhurst people intend to pay for the mains themselves,” explained Mr. Huber, replying to Mayor Simon. “All they want is for it to be done under direction the city, so that, under the charter, the property can be bonded. The proposed street improvements, which are very extensive, will be done the same way. It costs the city nothing.”
“I am unwilling to have the city behind the project in any way," said the Mayor. "I see no way whereby you can bond property without the work being done at the order of the city and under direction of the city, by the regular manner of advertising and following all of the regular provisions of the charter.”
Oregonian 31 Dec 1909
All Pay For Water
No Special Favors to Laurelhurst; None Asked.
MAYOR SIMON TO BE FAIR
Mains Will Be Laid to New Additions and Paid for by Their Owners, but No Bonding Privilege to Be Given.
Laurelhurst Park owners will not specially benefit by any action of the Water Board or other branch of the municipal government, according to Mayor Simon. They will have, and they have merely asked, the same privilege that every one else would have in similar circumstances and no more. In laying mains in their new tract, they will pay for the work themselves. If they lay the proper kind and it develops later the city needs the pipes for its general distributing system, they will be taken over and paid for from the public funds.
The first application for the water pipes, made by Oskar Huber, was that the Water Board call
for bids for mains in the routine manner, and that the work be done by the Laurelhurst people,
at their own expense, but that they be privileged to take advantage of the bonding act. To this
Mayor Simon objected, saying he would not sanction such a course; that they must pay for the work themselves and take chances on the mains being taken over later by the city.
Bond Privilege Desired
Mr. Huber said he would not think of asking the city to back up the project of laying these mains, and said that it was not the intention of the promoters of the tract to do so. He wanted, however, to have the bonding privilege, which cannot be granted unless the work is done under direction of the city. The matter was postponed until the next regular meeting of the Water Board. "No member of the Water Board owns a cent's worth of interest in Laurelhurst," said Mayor Simon. "Furthermore, the mains, as I understand it, will cost not to exceed $50,000--probably not more than $40,000. However it would make no difference if the members of the Water Board were interested. It is possible for men to act honestly in their official capacity, even if personally interested in certain things. I was not favorable to the Laurelhurst or to any other tract, but I am in favor of taking over, when needed, such mains as may have been laid in accordance with the regular specifications of the water department officials, and paying for them from public funds."
Simon Would Be Fair
Mayor Simon's plan is to make it possible for the Board to exercise its judgment as to what mains to take over and which ones to reject, so that where there is a revenue equal to 6% of the cost of the pipes, the property owners and all interested will have the same treatment as the ones already having mains paid for out of the water receipts. In other words, all money paid out for main that are suitable for the general distributing system, will be refunded and the pipes used by the city, if the proposed amendment carries next February.
Mayor Simon made this same proposition to the promoters of Alameda Park last week, and it was accepted. The Laurelhurst people will not proceed in the same manner, without bonding privileges.
Statement From Company
James B. Meikle, of the Laurelhurst Company, made the following statement:
"There is no controversy between the Mayor and the Laurelhurst Company as to who shall pay for the water mains at Laurelhurst. The only question is how the installation of the system is to be handled. We expect to pay for the mains and service in exactly the same way as other property owners in Portland. We have sold our lots with the distinct agreement that each purchaser shall pay his proportion of the cost of the water system, the same as any other improvement, and we will pay the rest. Our greatest interest is to get the water system installed at the earliest possible date; as quite a number of houses are to be commenced within the next few weeks. We expect to reach an agreement as to the method of installation at the next meeting of the Water Board."