Col. Summers Park Improvement Plans Finalized

col-summers-2Next summer there should be an interesting new water feature in Col. Summers Park  to  replace the existing circular wading pool.

The new water feature, known as a “Splash Pad,” has received much attention over the past year from Portland Parks and Recreation in association with the Colonel Summers Task Force and the Buckman Community Association in their efforts to improve Colonel Summers Park.

It will be a linear stream-like water course that can be turned on by the those using it. The water will flow for a set period of time to the end of the water course where it will slowly drain out. In this way the water does not need to be chlorinated. Water jets will shoot out all along the stream.

Picnic tables, seating, and landscaping appropriate to a stream-like environment will enhance the area for both users and observers. The design is in its final phase of development and construction will occur next spring. Hopefully it will be enjoyed by everyone all summer.col-summers-1

Funding will be provided by the local System Development Charges by developers of the new buildings being built in the area. Fifty members of the Buckman community attended the two meetings to review the plans and 400 nearby residents provided comments by email that generally were in favor of the project

The brick pavilion, a major feature of the park, will be the first of the park improvement project. Over the years it has not been used appropriately and its bathrooms have received heavy use causing them to be closed much too often.

The major project within the pavilion are the ornamental metal screens in the vaulted openings of the pavilion to provide improved access and security. They are being fabricated now and are expected to be installed by late fall or early winter.

A new free standing restroom will be placed to the east of the pavilion. It will be one of the newly-designed Portland Loos that are simple, but sturdy flush toilet kiosks that are located in public areas. Portland Loos provide the community with clean, safe, environmentally-friendly restroom facilities.

Funded through the $68 million Parks Replacement General Obligation Bond that was passed overwhelmingly by the voters in 2014, the Loo will be installed next spring along with the Splash Pad.

The park is named in honor of Colonel Owen Summers when Belmont Park was renamed in 1938. Summers was a prominent businessman, a member of the Oregon Legislature, and the commanding officer of the Second Oregon Volunteer Regiment in the Spanish-American War.

Perhaps he is best known for the significant role he played in the creation of the Oregon National Guard. In the SW corner of Colonel Summers Park, there is a large volcanic rock with his image on a bronze plaque along with a description of his contribution to Portland and Oregon.

 

The full article can be found HERE at the Southeast Examiner website.

Radon: What to Know

radon

What is radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in the soil. Radon is what is called ionizing radiation emitting very destructive alpha particles. These alpha particles destroy sensitive lung tissue and can damage DNA causing cells to become cancerous. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer killing 20,000 Americans each year. It is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon only becomes a health issue when it is trapped within homes and buildings. Methods for removing radon from buildings are simple and affordable. The most recommended method for radon mitigation is called sub-soil depressurization. Simply put, the system uses an inline fan and 3-4” pipe to suck the soil gas (and radon) out of the soil under the building.

Why is radon testing important?

The EPA recommends that every home be tested because there is no way of knowing if you have a radon problem unless you test. After thousands of tests each year we have learned the areas of Portland and SW Washington that are “Hot Spots,” but you just cannot tell from one house to the next if radon is present in unhealthy levels. A short term test is always recommended first to get a 2 day snap shot of the radon levels to be sure there is not high radon levels. It is also recommended to follow up with a long term (91 days to 1 year) test like an Alpha Track test, because long term average radon levels are the most accurate representation of your exposure in the home. A short term test requires “Closed House Conditions” to be accurate and the radon levels often fluctuate seasonally, so the best time to short term test is in the cooler seasons when the radon levels are higher.

When should a home get tested?

A home should be tested as soon as possible and particularly in the cool months. When running a long term test you do not have to maintain closed conditions. You can live in the home as you normally would and at the end of the long term test you will have an average based upon many months. Short term charcoal test kits are typically under $15, and long term Alpha Track canisters are about $30. This price included return shipping and lab analysis.

Short term radon testing has become very common in real estate transactions and the preferred method is using a continuous radon monitor (CRM) because you don’t need to wait on your radon test results, you get them immediately upon picking up the radon monitor. This is especially important when there is a 10 day inspection period and you need to figure it out quickly. These short term tests typically cost $150. These tests also come with a nice report printout and hourly radon levels.

What happens if a radon test comes back high?

The EPA recommends mitigation at or above 4.0 pCi/L, whereas the World Health Organization (WHO) has an action level of 2.7 pCi/L. The EPA also recommends that people consider radon mitigation when the levels are between 2-4 pCi/L. During a real estate sale the magic number is typically 4.0 pCi/L, but that is just an industry standard. There is still significant risk for lung cancer with long term exposure at 4.0 pCi/L. The estimates based upon scientific research is that a 15 year exposure, 12 hours per day at 4.0 pCi/L will result in approximately 7 in 1000 lung cancer deaths! When we install our mitigation systems we guarantee them to keep long term average radon levels below the WHO action level of 2.7 pCi/L. This performance guarantee is unconditional for a period of 10 years and transfers to anyone living in the home.

What is mitigation and how much does it cost?

Radon mitigation systems are typically around $1600 in our area and can go up a bit for more elaborate sub-membrane depressurization systems in crawlspace homes. Many basement or slab on grade homes are easily mitigated with a sub-slab depressurization system by drilling a hole through the basement floor, sealing a pipe to that suction point, installing an inline fan to create a vacuum on the soil, and then running the pipe to above the roof line to meet code requirements. These systems, when designed properly by a radon professional are very effective, very quiet and well hidden for aesthetics.

What can be done to reduce radon in the home?

In the Summer months it can help to have fresh air coming in and out of the home, but what about when it gets too hot or too cold out and we shut the windows and turn on the air conditioner or furnace? Fresh air is always a good thing, but it will not solve a radon problem. The best plan is to remove the source via soil depressurization.

What is the accepted level in the air for Portland?

The national average radon levels in the ambient air are about 0.4 pCi/L, or about 1/10th the EPA Action Level. Often times homes with fairly porous soil types can be mitigated to ambient air levels! We have even seen our systems even mitigate the neighbors home next door.

Can you buy a reliable testing kit at the store?

Yes you can, and make sure it is an EPA approved kit. Read the fine print though because often times these store bought kits do not include shipping or the lab cost, so you may pay some hidden fees. The America Lung Association sells radon test kits and www.radon.com is an accredited lab that also sells kits directly to the public.

What is the benefit to using a trained professional versus buying a kit?

Anyone can set up their own radon test according to the instructions and following EPA approved protocol. It is not difficult at all. If you are in a time crunch or just want to make sure it is done by a certified radon professional then you should consider hiring one.

The full article can be found HERE  at the All Things Real Estate website.