Polybutylene Plumbing

Polybutylene is a form of plastic resin that was used extensively in the manufacture of water supply piping from 1978 until 1995. Due to the low cost of the material and ease of installation, polybutylene piping systems were viewed as "the pipe of the future" and were used as a substitute for traditional copper piping. It is most commonly found in the "Sun Belt" where residential construction was heavy through the 1980's and early-to-mid 90's, but it is also very common in the Mid Atlantic and Northwest Pacific states.  Read more

The International Association of Home Inspectors recommends replacing Polybutylene piping:  

Polybutylene Pipes Should Be Replaced
Although no regulations require the replacement of polybutylene piping with other material, many plumbers recommend doing this, at a cost several thousand dollars. Leaking can happen without warning and can result in flooding and serious damage to a home’s interior if it is not immediately stopped. PB pipes installed behind sheetrock can leak unnoticed for long periods of time and cause mold and water damage. InterNACHI believes it is far cheaper to replace polybutylene pipes before they fail and release their contents onto floors, appliances and furniture. They can also reduce a home’s value or prolong its time on the market. Homeowners might face higher insurance premiums or be denied coverage entirely.  For homeowners who are concerned about this problem and wish to replace the PB piping in their home with copper or other material, there are companies that specialize in this type of work.

Myths about Polybutylene piping

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Posted on April 17, 2015 at 11:20 pm
Sean Coster | Category: Sean Coster | Tagged ,

John Yeon Spec House


North Portland residents may recognize this residence and find it suprising to be on the National Registry of Historic Places.  Designed by John Yeon in 1939 and situated just yards away from his childhood residence in University Park, this home illustrated some of the desgin elements that would later be termed Northwest Regional Style of architecture.  

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Posted on April 14, 2015 at 6:20 pm
Sean Coster | Category: Sean Coster | Tagged ,

Active Transportation Volunteers Needed in Portland

Hello everyone, please pass this along to people you think would be interested in being an Active Transportation Ambassador for the Portland Bureau of Transportation. 

The City of Portland Active Transportation Division is looking for volunteers. This is an opportunity to get hands-on experience with the Active Transportation staff to reach out to Portland residents. Ambassadors are amazing volunteers who represent the Bureau of Transportation and present information to encourage pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers and transit riders to travel safely together.  Ambassadors help residents discover all the ways Portland offers for getting around, to help them save money and increase physical activity and to help the city reduce congestion and preserve air quality. 


There are numerous kinds of volunteer opportunities for Ambassadors, from tabling at public events like farmers markets and neighborhood street fairs, to assisting with guided walks and bike rides through our Ten Toes and Portland By Cycle programs. Other opportunities include helping out at active transportation classes and workshops, during Sunday Parkways, and for bike and pedestrian counts.  


Apply to become an Active Transportation Ambassador! Completed applications are due by Monday, April 27th. (Two file formats of the application are provided for your convenience. Please return via email or send in the mail).  Selected applicants will be invited to a two hour training on Thursday, May 7th from 6-8pm. 


CLICK HERE to view our online post, or to share this with others.  


Want more information? Contact Sarah.Goforth@portlandoregon.gov or at 503-823-9863.

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Posted on April 13, 2015 at 11:33 pm
Sean Coster | Category: Sean Coster | Tagged ,

Be Part of the Demolition Task Force in Portland

Demolition Task Force Recommendations Go-live April 20, 2015 

On February 12, 2015, the Portland City Council adopted Demolition Task Force recommendations in response to community requests for increased notification to abutting residences prior to commencement of residential demolitions and large remodel projects. These changes to Portland City Code Title 24, Building Regulations, that are effective April 20, 2015, will expand notification and delay requirements for residential demolition permits and create a new Major Residential Alteration and Addition (MRAA) permit type with notification and delay requirements. In addition, applicants will be required to submit a Certification Regarding Asbestos and Lead-Based Paint form for these types of projects prior to permit issuance.

Effective Monday, April 20, 2015: All Residential Demolition Permits will require:

  • Mandatory 35-day delay prior to permit issuance, with a possible 60-day extension through an appeal process. 
  • The City will mail a notice to all properties within 150 feet of the project site and to recognized organizations, Architectural Heritage Center and Restore Oregon at the beginning of the 35-day delay period.
  • Door hangers will be posted by property owner or representative on abutting homes at least 5 days prior to demolition.
  • New Certification Regarding Asbestos and Lead-Based Paint Form will be completed by the applicant and submitted to BDS prior to permit issuance. 

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Posted on April 13, 2015 at 11:25 pm
Sean Coster | Category: Sean Coster | Tagged ,

Appealing Property Taxes with Multnomah Co

Appealing your property taxes with Multnomah County is done through the Board of Property Tax Appeals.  The petition must be postmarked by 12/31.  Appeals will only be considered for the current tax year.  Hearings may be scheduled through the first Monday in February through April 15th.  Hearings are typically 10 minutes.
A written board order will be mailed to the property owners representative 8 to 10 business days after the hearing.
There is a $30.00 filing fee per account.
You can appeal the Real Market Value, Assessed Value or Specially Assessed Value of your property.
Multnomah County provides useful definitions relevant to an appeal on their site.   

Generally, to be successful in your appeal, you must provide evidence of the market value of your property on January 1 of the assessment year. This is the day the assessor uses to establish the real market value of your property.

Listed below are the types of evidence you could use to convince the board that your property's real market value should be reduced.

  • Documentation of an arm's-length sale of the property that occurred close to January 1 of the assessment year.
  • A fee appraisal dated close to January 1 of the assessment year which reflects the property's value.
  • Proof that the property has been listed for sale on the open market for a reasonable period of time at a price below the real market value on the tax roll.
  • A comparison of properties similar to yours in location, size and quality that have sold close to January 1 of the assessment year. If there are differences between properties, the differences must be accounted for in the comparison of values.
  • Cost of new construction that occurred close to January 1 of the assessment year and was performed by a professional contractor.
  • Cost to repair your property. You must provide written estimates of the cost of the repairs.
  • For commercial property, documentation of income and expense information or a comparable sales analysis.
Practically determining if you have a case
  1. Check Real Market Value (RMW) provided by the county 
    1. Could this be too high?
      1. Yes –
        1. Pull comparable properties to show the accurate real market value was lower.  These can be up to one year previous (ie.  January 1st of 2013 for a 2014 challenge). 
        2. And/OR – Proof of sale of the property ‘close’ to January 1st of the tax year.  This has been interpreted as within 12 months in previous cases.
        3. Is there any new construction that would increase the value of the property?  Provide documentation that with these new construction items it is still being taxed at too high a RMV.
        4. OR – Pay an appraiser to provide an appraisal of your property within the tax year.
      2. Comparable properties need to be in the same ‘class’.  This is found in Portland Maps under Property>Assessor>(heading) Improvement Details.
      3. If these comparable properties show a lower real market value and are in the same class you may have a case if their are no additional improvements that have taken place within the year that will increase your RMV.
  2. Is the Education portion of the taxes greater than 0.5% of RMV? If so document to what excess.
  3. Are the General Government taxes greater than 1.0% of RMV?  If so document to what excess.
Forms for use in appealing your property taxes
 Please consult the Multnomah County site for further details on appealing your taxes.  

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Posted on November 17, 2014 at 9:45 pm
Sean Coster | Category: Sean Coster | Tagged

Oil Tank Decommisioning

Putting an offer on a home with an underground heating oil tank can be a uncomfortable process when you begin to look into the liability a homeowner has with an underground oil tank.  While the 'lifespan' of a heating oil tank is estimated at only 25 years, most of those in operation are much older than this.  Therefore proper testing and possibly mitigation may be needed before an owner would want to take on the liability of an underground oil tank. 

Clearn up and official decommissioning of these tanks is overseen by Oregon DEQ.  They provide homeowners and contractors with guidance on the cleanup of an old oil tank and the decommisioning process. 

The video below will give you an idea of the process of removing and cleaning a tank. 


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Posted on November 7, 2014 at 12:36 am
Sean Coster | Category: Sean Coster

Monthly Market Review – September 2014

Monthly Market Review Sept 2014

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Posted on September 9, 2014 at 1:40 am
Sean Coster | Category: Sean Coster

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Posted on March 18, 2014 at 8:07 pm
Sean Coster | Category: Arbor Lodge, North Portland, Sean Coster, Willamette

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Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:00 am
Sean Coster | Category: Sean Coster