Before Portland Public Schools asked voters’ permission to sell $790 million in bonds to rebuild four schools and patch up a few others, construction consultants told administrators that it would not be nearly enough money.

It is unclear what resulted from those warnings. What is clear is that their predictions are slowly coming true. The district’s Office of School Modernization is predicting cost overruns of about $100 million on the 2017 bond projects.

Months before the May 2017 vote added about $300 per year to the average household’s tax burden, Ken Fisher, a construction management consultant from CBRE Heery, voluntarily composed an email. Fisher was working on the 2012 bond, but was worried enough about the 2017 figures being too tight that he flagged several concerns to Dan Jung, who still leads the PPS bond office, and his boss, former Chief Operating Officer Jerry Vincent.

“I understand what was done and why, but I am concerned that the four options on the one-pager are too lean …” Fisher wrote Jan. 24, 2017. He recommended the district go back to the professional cost estimator they used — the firm of Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) — to get their input.

Read the full article at The Portland Tribune.