We are in the midst of a major dissertation on potholes.
We just keyed in this long "sidebar" of a conversation that occurred immediately following Mayor Ravenstahl's pothole news conference. Considering how much there is to say about potholes, it needed to be edited out the piece.
But we'll gladly present it to you now to keep things moving along.
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After the news conference, we asked city operations director Art Victor about complaints we had heard at a candidate forum in Elliott regarding the city's 311 line, or Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's Response Line. He referred us to Wendy Urbanic, the city's 311 Director, standing right next to him.
A couple of folks in Elliott complained aloud that you call 311, they record your complaint and you get a tracking number, you don't hear anything for weeks, you call back and they say they've lost your tracking number. We asked Urbanic how often, if ever, that is known to happen.
"Oh, very rarely," she responded. She said on occasion an operator will enter a number, and "computers crash -- usually mid-call", but that happens only "occasionally -- very, very rarely."
She said that if there has been a higher incidence of complaints about 311, that's a reflection of the "huge increase in the volume of calls made" -- due to increased awareness of the 311 line, not due to the existence of more things to complain about.
We inquired about the vintage of the computers 311 is using. "No, the computers are pretty new," Urbanic said, but they will crash "sometimes". Another plausible explanation, she said, is "Frankly, sometimes people take down the tracking numbers wrong" -- transposing digits or the like.