A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Looks of electric equipment bug mayor

Written August 15th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

The council was shown this image of a voltage regulator of the kind to be installed off North Albany Road.

Albany Mayor Sharon Konopa called it “one ugly piece of equipment.” It’s a voltage regulator assembly, and Pacific Power plans to install it on city-owned property just north of the park-and-ride station off North Albany Road.

Matthew Ruettgers, development services manager in Albany Public Works, briefed the city council Wednesday on an encroachment permit that will allow the power company to install the bank of three voltage regulators. He said the power company needs the equipment to properly regulate electricity in North Albany and this was the best of the possible locations. Another possibility would have been in the center of the Gibson Hill roundabout.

Konopa didn’t like the looks of it. It’s supposed to be 28 feet high to the top of the reglators, which look like big transformers, and then extend another 6 feet or so to the transmission lines to which they are connnected. (Judging from the height arrows on the image, the equipment shown to the council appears to be not that tall.)

The mayor said property owners within 300 feet should have been notified, the way the city is required to send notifications in land-use matters. Apparently only the people at 820 North Albany Road, next door to the installation, were consulted.

Konopa wondered whether the thing could be camouflaged with tall trees, but Ruettgers considered that unlikely.

Pacific estimates the installation will take place Sept. 16-20, the council was told.

Will the sight of this equipment up in the air bother drivers on North Albany Road? Not if they watch where they’re going and keep their eyes on the vehicle in front. (hh)

This is where the poles to hold up the regulators will be installed. N. Albany road is on the left.

18 responses to “Looks of electric equipment bug mayor”

  1. Delfina H Hoxie says:

    I have to agree, the equipment will be an eye-sore and I am glad I do not live near the monstrosity. I feel sorry for the family that will have to stare at it from their front porch.

  2. centrist says:

    Talkin’ thru my hat here, but I suspect that aerial placement avoids a legal quagmire. Prudent design to supply the North Albany expansion load needs more than one source.
    Progress meeting reality is often messy

  3. Mort Harkins says:

    This type of thing is to me like the cell towers that blot our landscape all around the area…..and like plastic is becoming….they are ugly we don’t need or want this view of technology……

  4. Richard Smith says:

    Agree…it is ugly. Why bother with underground utilities, and then put this up in plain sight? Seems bassackwards to me…

  5. Craig says:

    Sorry, it is an eye sore and it’s placement should be reconsidered to a more appropriate and less visible location. If a small business or home owner in the area has to go through a mountain of paperwork to get a shed added to his or her property and then only if it passes all code, then who approved this? Seriously? Does a big company get a carte blanc pass?

  6. don says:

    I think it looks pretty nice because of the service it provides. GUess you want to hide in someone else’s backyard? Like to hear what the mayor has to say about just do away with electric service. More people need more power!!

  7. Jim Engel says:

    Well folks if you want to have lights, TV & computers you gotta have the electrical equipment that supports it. I sure wish Konopa would busy herself with urgent matters of City financing & not go off on Don Quixote type musings. You can’t control everything Konopa!

  8. Rhea Graham says:

    I would like to know what the antenna are that are on top of the building that is sited across Ellsworth from the Democrat-Herald. That big mirrored building is the one I speak of.

  9. riv3tt says:

    I am sure the equipment is needed, so if the choice is a bit of ugly equipment vs reliable, affordable power, I am sure property owners would vote for the work to continue.

  10. Bendover says:

    How much did the council spend per lighting fixture downtown to make it, “Just right”? So is this must be their way of saying “screw this particular spot in North Albany”. I can think of multiple places that would be a better placement, out of sight, away from neighborhood traffic within a few blocks area from that spot. If you can’t, you either don’t know the area or you are not trying.

  11. Roe Miller says:

    Of course everyone is worried about how it works. Most people couldn’t identify a transmission or find it pretty but it is important. Our mayor is again showing her immature nature yet again.

  12. centrist says:

    Several commenters have missed a key point. Power distribution design is not a City function. Equipment placement choices are driven by the route of the grid, the problem to be solved, as well as easements and rights of way.

    • Bendover says:

      Your definition of “city planning”. Is different than mine. Oh my, those three hundred new homes started using more power than we have now. Damn, who didn’t think of and plan for this? Yes easements and right of ways are an issue. Those issues where all overcome when the builders wanted to build an.unlimited number of homes in North Albany. What about that huge behemoth of a school they are building in North Albany? Did they think that was going to add to the power load? Really a big huge school with all those empty fields around? Wonder if some builders will overcome easement and right of way issues there. At least they don’t have to worry about the power load.

  13. Bill Kapaun says:

    Certainly looks nicer than a charging station.

  14. D says:

    Worry about the streets with craters in them

  15. Russ Allen says:

    Yes, the equipment is needed. But transmission needs can be balanced with livability needs. When required cell tower operators have gotten quite creative in camouflaging cell towers so they are not such an eyesore, Pacific Power should be required to do the same.

  16. DonnaClem says:

    The mayor needs to stay out of North Albany & take care of all that is happening in her city – – I agree with the large pot holes on the streets. My car does not like them!


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