Hi! Where am I?

Willamette Towers

View the printable and official published version of these minutes.

Willamette Towers HOA Board of Directors Meeting

Tuesday, 29 July, 2014 5:00 PM, Willamette Towers Office 

Board Members Present: Dan Solitz, Chair; Jean Kern, Secretary; Oliver Thornton; Dan Hardt

BMC: Diane Sollinger

Present: Joanne Gulsvig, John Rose, Douglas Beauchamp, Giny Landgreen , Luther Gruelich, Esther Konop, Susan Connolly

Approval of 2014 06/24 minutes: Amended and approved.


John Rose

  • “A couple of moments from the previous board meeting leads me to say a few words about the MMRC, Major Maintenance and Repair Committee, and how relevant problems are approached.
  • The main message is: to get a focus on an issue, refer an item to the committee.
  • Some projects, like the elevators or boiler replacement, are on the agenda by virtue of them being scheduled in the Reserves Study.
  • The MMRC members are not in the loop of proposals that come to the board. If an item that comes before the board can benefit from a focused look, any board member can simply request that item be referred to committee.
  • A major part of what the committee does is to describe the problem (this can take considerable theorizing and research). An accurate description is the shortest route to a proper prescription for action.
  • There is a tendency I have noted within the building to prescribe a solution to a problem, without first describing the problem.
  • An example: At the last board meeting, there was prescription that water units at stacks should all have certain washers changed when water was shut down. Maybe a good idea, maybe not. But the problem was never properly described. It seemed to be one individual’s idea, with no professional opinion cited. Such an item can be referred to the committee for a more in-depth look.
  • I thought I heard a claim that service personnel are hired to do what any given individual may prescribe that they do. This hasn’t gone so well here. A couple of years ago, a resident wrote up a scope of work for boiler repair. A quote came in for a little over $14,000. When a service person was allowed to give his own assessment of what was needed, there was a 300% savings.
  • When windows became an issue, the board handled the prescription itself. The early prescription for repair was overly-specific. It eventually became clear that a variety of remedial steps were needed, depending on the situation, but that original narrowly-conceived prescription had a stubborn staying power, and a lot of residents’ money was squandered. It would have been better if the problems were first properly described.
  • Work demands and life desires lead me to step back from my level of involvement with the committee- I have been a de facto chair and secretary. I have no doubt other committee members will step forward.
  • With the boiler replacement getting started, an array of needed projects that presented themselves when Giny and I moved to WT in 2003 are commencing or are completed. I’m seeing interior lighting, carpeting and a short and long term plan for plumbing as major steps in the future to complete a big picture of renewed life for WT.
  • I hope the future pattern will be to describe needs or problems, and then to work with the Bennett staff and local professionals to take advantage of their experience with similar facilities and contacts in the community to accomplish projects. Working with BMC creates a history of the building, an institutional memory, that can prove valuable as residents, however involved, come and go.
  • Maintenance and repair projects seem to come up in a rather haphazard and piecemeal way. I’ll be passing on to the committee Ken Guzowski’s recommendation to create a plan for the future, prioritizing and attaching (as much as possible) estimates to a comprehensive list of maintenance and repair items. This should help the board plan Willamette Towers’ future.”

Douglas Beauchamp requested that security updates continue. He is concerned about better communication regarding the budget; requests access to MMRC minutes and for information post action gram submission. More transparency ensures effectiveness.

Dan Hardt suggested an open forum web site to settle issues within the building and to ask questions.

Giny Landgreen spoke about pre-notification regarding the bicycle survey.


Diane Sollinger Software: Original visit would cost $5,000 then $400 yearly to keep it updated.


Jay Barber’s review states that the replacement schedule is generally in line. Dan Hardt’s recommendation that Otis’ May bill be paid was seconded and approved. It seems like workers are on vacation again. Otis’ Tom Gower is checking on the slipping of the schedule.


Aronson has pulled out completely. BMC has conferenced with Deus. Michael Volker did not feel comfortable doing piecemeal work on the fob system.


Luther Greulich presented a comprehensive DRAFT Report based on a 2 hour meeting, 25 July, 2014, with Tim Ely of Balzhiser & Hubbard Engineers, Inc. for the purpose of compiling a preliminary assessment of the mechanical issues facing a 50 year old, aging WT, specifically the issues of the boiler and the domestic water supply; to look at these issues through the eyes of an engineer and contractor as to options, problems and possibilities; to provide some direction to the WT Board of Directors in addressing these issues. Noted during the meeting:

  • The existing boiler has exceeded its expected useful life.
  • In the unlikely possibility of a boiler catastrophic failure the building would be without hot water for a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks.
  • Solving the problem in crisis mode would increase the expected costs from 20% to 100%.
  • There are 3 reasonably possible boiler solutions: resistance electrical system, an electric heat pump, a gas boiler. Because these systems provide heat in different manners (both in heating and in storing) an evaluation of the building requirement needs to be made so that the different systems can be properly sized.
  • If the boiler were to be replaced in the existing boiler room, the old boiler would need to be removed first, requiring at least 2 weeks of down time with the best planning and no surprises.
  • Other possible location for new boiler installation included the parking structure, the garden space between the bike rack and the parking structure, the laundry room, the roof, some of the commercial space and the storeroom at the north end of the building – the best option being the north storeroom., permitting the new boiler to be installed while the existing system continues to function with relatively little down time (1 to 3 days) necessary to switch over.
  • This location has the added advantage over all the others except the roof for allowing the option of a gas fired boiler, the limiting factor being the necessity of providing venting and combustion air.
  • Surmising that 4 ducts in the 8” to 12” range could be run to above the roof in either the corner at the intersection of the north stairwell and the ’03 units or possible in a rated chase constructed in the space between stair runs in the north stairwell.
  • It appears the increasing the size of some of the main supply lines could be done in the hall ceiling above the existing t-bar ceiling without too much trouble and at a relatively reasonable cost.
  • It was suggested that a filtration system be installed, concurrent with boiler replacement, to minimize or prevent incoming sediment.
  • Replacing the entire domestic water system, including pipes and valves, walls will need to be opened to allow for the installation of new angle stops at sinks, toilets, washing machines, etc. Some shower valves may be accessible from the hack side of the wall, minimizing repair costs; others will undoubtedly require the removal and replacement of the tile, maybe some cabinets
  • A guestimate for the plumbing cost would be in the $400,000.00 to $700,000.00 range.
  • Patching, painting, cabinet and tile work could run between $2,000.00 and $10,000.00 per unit. .
  • A middle number guestimate would be $550,000.00 for the building plumbing and $6,000.00 per unit or $552,000.00 plus $30,000.00 for common and commercial spaces with a project total of $1,132,000.00.
  • Recommendation: any suspected asbestos be tested be removed.
  • A current, complete and accurate set of “as built” drawings be assembled to assist in proper sizing of a new boiler systems, its connection to the existing system and for planning eventual piping replacement of the domestic water system.
  • Recommended: that all existing relevant documents including but not limited to the original construction drawings, schedules and schematics, drawings/sketches done by Rite Way Plumbing showing valves and recirculation pumps, any building permits and any prior research and reports to create a current overall picture of the domestic water system within WT.
  • Plumbing stacks should be surveyed and documented, including hot and cold water lines all valves, all re-circulation pumps and their return lines, any back flow valves and any filters.
  • Common and commercial areas of the building be surveyed and documented, including rented spaces, boiler room, laundry room, janitor closets and all exterior and parking structure plumbing.
  • Recommendation: Individual units surveyed and documented with special attention paid to any significant work, i.e. dishwasher, washing machines, ice makers, hot tubs, hose bibs and any relocation of plumbing fixtures.
  • Recommendation: Survey and document all drain lines.
  • Additional items included the fire sprinkler system: does the HOA need to revisit having an unmonitored system? How does this impact our insurance rates? Is the control panel for the fire sprinkler system by the front door active? Should it be?
  • Test on one of the backflow valves was unsatisfactory: what is the current situation.

This draft will be reviewed with Tim Ely, whose firm is interested in assisting WT in planning and managing both the boiler and piping projects, prior to formally submitting it to the WT HOA Board.


Windows; down to 7 in noncompliance with 4 of these working towards compliance.

Back flow valve failure: Omlid & Swinney want $3,486.00 for replacement. Harvey & Price verbally bid $3850.00

Dianne needs clarification on whether H&P came out for the boiler or not.

Regarding the request for an asphalt patch outside north entrance door, it was noted that an asphalt patch would not last. Oliver Thornton suggested a good outside mat to put feet above the puddle and provide traction.

1205 & 203 were able to blow water out without a building wide shut down. 308 is private property. 208 is dealing with 308 There has been a suggestion to re-slope 1st, 2nd and 3rd floor balconies. Industrial Concrete Coatings submitted a bid of $1,050 with scope of work. The standing water on these balconies is rusting out the metal door bottoms. The Board passed Oliver Thornton’s motion for the concrete work to be done after Dan Hardt seconded it.

Sewer: The recommendation is to cut open 2 more walls for plumbing clean outs with running a camera first, run a jetter or snake, then run a camera again. There is no schedule for this but maybe in the next three weeks, probably mid-August. Mark is the get the schedule probably the middle of this week.

Kurt the Plumber suggested closing all up top, open 2 outer ones to flush out particulates, then close those and open the next 2, etc. It means being without hot water for 2 nights to blow out particulates to help with flow.

Mark Tanner was asked to acquire a 3rd bid on boiler replacement.


Request to revisit screen door policy

Esther Konop asked about renters’ insurance policies. Are these submitted as part of a renter’s responsibility requirement prior to occupancy? Oliver Thornton noted that WT’s by-laws require owners supplying a certificate of insurance at time of purchase. He also suggested that Celina be asked to report on the insurance status of WT’s units. Dan Solitz requested that this request be tabled until the next planning meeting.

John Rose noted that he could add Action Gram resolutions within the existing closed loop of Board members, BMC and that would include the person submitting. This suggestion will be discussed at the next planning.