There were a total of three neighbors at the meeting last night, including myself. There was also a local business owner. That meant we had a ratio of audience to presenters of 4:3. Pretty pitiful. I’m really surprised more of my neighbors didn’t show up.

Anyway, the engineering firm that came up with the expansion plan had some nice wall charts showing the building plan, the building plan superimposed over a satellite image of the neighborhood, etc. They came prepared to handle all the questions that arose.

Long story short, they’re going to expand an existing building. They’re going to take out some existing railroad tracks that are currently not in use. And they’re going to put in a new parking area for semitrailers. While they will be laying down a lot of new pavement, the impact on the wooded buffer zone between them and us will be minimal. I think they only have to cut down a few trees along one corner of their lot. There will be no encroachment onto the riparian zone of the creek between us. They say that overall, truck traffic will be decreased as a result, and that there is mostly no activity overnight at this facility anyway.

It was a very cordial meeting. It seemed like they were genuinely concerned about how the project could affect their neighbors, and that they wanted things to go as smoothly as possible. I know, every corporate entity wants to avoid trouble and bad publicity, but these guys seemed genuine.

One thing stuck in my mind, though. At the end of the meeting, I commented that they had clearly tried very hard not to impinge on the creek, or the surrounding wetlands, and had managed to avoid a large impact on the surrounding vegetation, and I thanked them for that.

The engineering guy laughed shortly and said something like “Well, thank the Clean Water Act and the City of Beaverton, because we couldn’t go anywhere near the creek without a violation.”


The owner of the building immediately also noted that they wanted to be good neighbors, etc. etc. But that comment really struck me.

You see, one of the reasons I’m a (gasp) liberal instead of a conservative, is that I strongly believe that business and industry is incapable of policing itself. You have to have rules to protect the environment, and the health of workers and citizens, because there will always be a monetary incentive to pillage the countryside and screw your workers. Unless there is a penalty structure that makes it more expensive to be Snidely Whiplash than to be Dudley Do-Right, anyone that is responsible to shareholders will always take the cheaper route. That’s their job.

I just never thought I’d hear such a definitive affirmation of those beliefs delivered directly to my face.

Bonus Question: How do you know when you’re not getting enough sleep?

Answer: When you fall asleep on the couch at 9:00, and sleep until midnight. Oy.