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Logbear
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PostFri Jul 16, 2021 10:11 pm 
Monroe House Movers contract for the 2014 Enchanted Valley Chalet move.

I don't remember ever getting a complete accounting of the contract between ONP and Monroe House Movers for the 2014 Enchanted Valley Chalet move, so I called and asked ONP.  It took a few phone calls and e-mails, but I think this is complete and accurate.   If I got something wrong please let me know.  There is more information available about the contract, but I was told that to get that information a FOIA request would be required.  That will take a little more time.


Malachai Constant
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Tom
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PostFri Jul 16, 2021 10:16 pm 
Wow, that's pretty crazy.

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zimmertr
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PostFri Jul 16, 2021 10:29 pm 
Logbear wrote:


Looks like I should be in the pack mule renting business...

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Ski
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PostSat Jul 17, 2021 9:14 am 
^ Or.... the National Park Service could have allowed Jeff to simply volunteer his time, which he offered to do.

Nice try, though. wink.gif

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Logbear
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PostSat Jul 17, 2021 12:26 pm 
Ski wrote:
^ Or.... the National Park Service could have allowed Jeff to simply volunteer his time, which he offered to do.

Nice try, though. wink.gif

It's been mentioned that the chalet could be moved again for free.  The problem with that is that it has never been moved for free as far as I know.  Maybe NPS/ONP changed their mind and is going to allow volunteers this time.

Dismantling and removing the chalet (which is ONP's preferred alternative) seems like a big, expensive project.  I don't like the idea.  I used to prefer the "dismantle/rebuild" idea, and during the comment period that's what I suggested.  I thought it would be something for the "windshield tourists" to see, and a way to preserve it for the people who care about it.   After reading some posts here, and thinking about the "dismantle/rebuild" idea, I've changed my mind and no longer support that idea.

There is a week in August when the Enchanted Valley will be closed to all visitors.  Maybe that would be a good time to slide the chalet.

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Ski
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PostSat Jul 17, 2021 1:01 pm 
I'd get all worked up about the $284K price tag, but the new Henry M. Jackson visitor center at Mt. Rainier National Park had a price tag of $22 million, so I think I'd rather get apoplectic about that instead.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/new-visitors-center-opens-at-mount-rainier/409939469

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Tom
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PostSat Jul 17, 2021 2:12 pm 
Why be apologetic?  The visitor center upgrades seem like a reasonable long term investment that will benefit many.  The chalet?  As nostalgic as it is, seems like a long term drain on park resources with minimal return.

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PostSat Jul 17, 2021 2:55 pm 
I'm not apologizing for anything. You might want to re-read that post.

Certainly dumping tons of money into the Chalet is a fool's errand, but something tells me the numbers posted above are a bit inflated.

The $116K for the EIS alone is 40% of the $284K.

Jeff offered to do the job gratis, but NPS wasn't having any of it - they insisted on paying him.

I'd suggest we wait until Rod weighs in, since he's the only person on this website that actually knows the details on all of this.

Hindsight is always 20/20 - they should have moved the shelter a greater distance when they had all the crew and materials up there to do it (as many people suggested at that time.) Had that been the case, we wouldn't be having this discussion today.
But that would have required knocking down a few trees, and would have caused far too many people's knickers to get into a twist.

Another point worth mentioning here is that this whole affair isn't about somebody's opinion. It's about compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act. You might want to read it sometime.

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Tom
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PostSat Jul 17, 2021 3:24 pm 
If opinions didn't matter why would the park bother to invite comments?  The NPS preferred alternative was to dismantle and remove the Chalet. Giving them the benefit of the doubt that they familiarized themselves with all applicable Acts.

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Logbear
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PostSat Jul 17, 2021 4:26 pm 
Ski wrote:
Certainly dumping tons of money into the Chalet is a fool's errand, but something tells me the numbers posted above are a bit inflated.

I posted the numbers that NPS/ONP gave me.

Are you saying the numbers NPS/ONP gave me are incorrect?

What is the something that tells you the numbers are as bit inflated?

Are you accusing me of doing something to the numbers?

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PostSat Jul 17, 2021 4:53 pm 
Why did it cost $3.4 million (paid by Park entrance fees) to rehab the Olympic NP Visitors Center?  You could literally have demolished it and built a McMansion twice that size for half that cost!  That just after they'd spent $238,500 just to put a new shake roof on it, almost the cost of building a private home of that size here in PA.  Why did it cost $1 million to put in a new septic system at HR Visitors Center?  For that matter, let's get serious here, the cost of removing the Elwha dams was actually just $26.9 million, but the entire project spent $324.7 million, over 90% of which not on dam removal but on "mitigations", some of which were unrelated (such as $1.5 million for new storm sewers in downtown Port Angeles) and others unneeded (such as the $79 million city water treatment plant)?  If you're gonna play investigative journalist, at least go for the big stuff!

Why does everything the Federal government do cost far more, often several times more, than it would if a private company or individual contracted the same work?  The reason is a labyrinth of Federal laws, each well intended by Congress, but which taken together hamstring the way government does everything.

Logbear wrote:
It's been mentioned that the chalet could be moved again for free.  The problem with that is that it has never been moved for free as far as I know.  Maybe NPS/ONP changed their mind and is going to allow volunteers this time.

Logbear, if you'd ever volunteered for our national parks or national forests, you'd already know the answer.  You cannot pick up a chainsaw as a volunteer without having first taken a 2-day chainsaw certification course.  You cannot walk down a trail as a volunteer without having been handed a "Jobs Hazard Analysis" which literally reminds you to tie your shoelaces first, so you don't trip over them!  I'm not kidding, I can send their Hiking JHA to you.

So here's what you would know, if you'd ever been a volunteer, and should know, if you're gonna play investigative journalist.  The problem is liability"The Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 (PL 105-19) defines volunteer work and liability. The goal is to promote volunteerism by limiting or eliminating a volunteer’s risk of tort liability when acting for a government entity."  Sounds good, right?  But here's what NPS has to do to comply with that law.

Reference Manual 7: Volunteers-In-Parks - Chapter 6: Administrative Requirements reads:

Quote:
Safety/Risk Management

The safety and health of volunteers is always of utmost priority. Volunteers must observe the same safety regulations, policies and procedures and use the same safety equipment and personal protective equipment as paid employees. Failure by the volunteer supervisor to provide appropriate safety training and personal protective equipment not only violates federal mandates but also increases the risk to the volunteer. It also may increase NPS exposure to potential violation notices of OSHA regulations, violate existing labor-management agreements, escalate the number of worker’s compensation claims, and heighten the potential of tort liability for supervisors’ acts of omission.

Volunteers should not perform work for which they are not qualified or have not been adequately trained, work that they do not feel comfortable doing or do not willingly agree to do, or work that is not part of the service description.

Job Hazard/Job Safety Analysis

The volunteer supervisor must use a job hazard analysis or job safety analysis (JHA or JSA) for all volunteer work assignments to determine the level of risk and appropriate mitigation. The JHA or JSA form is available from the designated safety officer for the park, region or program. The volunteer supervisor is responsible for evaluating the specific job, outlining the potential hazards/injury sources and identifying actions, procedures, and safety equipment to mitigate safety risks to the volunteer. Volunteers will be provided training on the JHA/JSA (s) prior to commencing work in the park or program. When the JHA/JSA indicates the need for specialized operational and/or safety training, the volunteer will not be allowed to perform the job until all training is completed, the supervisor understands the volunteer’s work capability, and the volunteer understands the job and its hazards.

Well, guess what?  NPS does know how to pick up litter, collect fees and clear trails, and has written detailed JHAs for each one of these tasks.  We volunteers are required to read those JHAs or sit through a class or safety briefings based on them before being allowed to do those tasks.  But NPS does not know how to move buildings, and hasn't written JHAs for that.  Since they can't train volunteers how to move buildings safely, they can't allow volunteers to move buildings, even though volunteers offered: NPS is simply hamstrung by the "Volunteer Protection Act of 1997", among others.

Jeff Monroe, in complete sincerity, naively volunteered to move the Chalet for free.

NPS could not accept his offer, due to liability.  They had to contract it out, requiring him to fill out reams of paperwork to become "qualified" as a Federal contractor, buy a $1 million insurance policy with NPS named insured, and pay state workman's comp for us volunteers.  So NPS first phoned around asking other house movers across the country what they'd bid to move the Chalet, and got back answers between $500k and $1m.  All the contract paperwork filled a 1 inch thick 3 ring binder!  He intentionally low-balled the bid, lost money on it (roughly $40k in his business manager's estimation) and didn't care.  He delayed moving three houses and lost a customer as a result, but he didn't care.  He just wanted to be allowed to preserve the Chalet.

Logbear, responding to Ski wrote:
Are you saying the numbers NPS/ONP gave me are incorrect?

The numbers are consistent with everything I know that the Park has previously said and released, and appear accurate.

So, what've you discovered, investigative journalist Logbear?  News Flash - that government is inefficient!  That's frustrating for everyone involved, not just we taxpayers, fee payers and volunteers, but including most of all the NPS employees who have to deal with all the paperwork, procedures, delays and costs everyday in their job serving the public.  Including dealing with frivolous FOIA requests.

I can only suggest you submit a FOIA request demanding an accounting of the costs of fulfilling your FOIA request... and then demand the impossible: to repay them!  rotf.gif

Tom wrote:
If opinions didn't matter why would the park bother to invite comments?

Simply to comply with the law, NEPA, not because public opinions matter.

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Ski
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PostSat Jul 17, 2021 5:09 pm 
thanks Rod. up.gif

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Tom
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PostSat Jul 17, 2021 5:39 pm 
OK, how is NPS not following the law or NEPA in the preferred alternative?  Rants about the government or personal attacks don't really add any value.

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Ski
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PostSat Jul 17, 2021 5:53 pm 
Well... they didn't go ahead with their "preferred alternative" when they moved the shelter, but it was still all in compliance with NEPA.

I don't want to pretend I'm able to get inside Rod's head to see what the intended meaning of his statement was, but just because the public comments favor one particular option over another doesn't necessarily mean that the agency (whether that be NPS, USFS, BLM, DNR, or WDFW) is going to go with that option - they are required only to accept and review the public comments and take them into consideration.
(e.g., if you told me to go jump in the lake, I could "take that into consideration", but it doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to do it.)

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Logbear
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PostSat Jul 17, 2021 6:04 pm 
RodF wrote:
contour5 wrote:
Perhaps the contractor will post a nice spreadsheet and enlighten us all...

I think that's a good idea.  I assume NPS will post the contract on the FedBizOpps.Gov website (search for keyword "Enchanted" or solicitation number P14PS01966).  But it's not posted there yet.  Anyone interested could also request a copy from the contracting officer posted there.  It is public information.

The spreadsheet mentioned never got posted as far as I know.  Rod thought posting it would be a good idea.  Since I was "anyone interested" I called and got the information I requested, and then posted it here.  And now I'm an investigative journalist.  I'm impressed.  Even if I can't spell juarnalist.

No FOIA was needed.  It wasn't a very big deal getting the information.

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