Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Great News!

Word came from the Oregon Health Authority today that it intends to grant a variance to the City of Portland from an absurd EPA requirement to additionally treat Bull Run water for Cryptosporidium. Finally, a sweet victory for COMMON SENSE!

This protozoa has never threatened Bull Run water because the primary sources (humans and domestic animals) are prohibited from entry into the Bull Run Management Unit.  We thank Senator Merkley (who helped the EPA understand the unique nature of the protected Bull Run), the OHA, the Portland City Council, the Water Bureau and those activists, organizations, and businesses who fought so long and hard to halt the unnecessary expenditure of at least $90 million (plus annual operating costs).  Thank you so much!

Now we need to submit comments to the OHA and encourage the agency to set more reasonable and less costly monitoring conditions with establishment of the variance. The only EPA-approved protocol for testing for Crypto is terribly flawed (according to water experts) and the agency's draft conditions rely far too heavily on that method. Stay posted for details on comments and plan to attend a hearing in Portland on December 14th.

Even then, our work is not done. We now call for a commitment from the Portland Water Bureau and the Portland City Council to focus and correct the second part of the flawed EPA rule (dealing with our historic reservoirs) as New York City is doing. As of today, we've accomplished what no other city has.  Let's keep up the good work!

Friday, October 21, 2011

PolitiFact more “politi” than “fact” today

When (in January 2011) the President ordered the EPA to open its ears, and take public comments regarding its regulatory practices, Portland had an opportunity to shine a new spotlight on EPA’s LT2 regulation and the unnecessary expenditures it forces upon our city.  Our City Hall submitted, via lazy online form, a handful of disjointed, poorly crafted paragraphs in which only 3 sentences even mentioned LT2.  Compare that with New York City’s response to this opportunity – they submitted over 100 pages, on letterhead, with scientific data detailing the flaws of LT2 and its blunt application across all water systems – and you see in New York a city that defines action. 

When (in July 2011) New York City’s meaningful, relentless efforts to extract LT2 reform (and save billions of dollars) manifested an official EPA agreement to review and reform LT2 madness, Portland had an opportunity to freeze all spending on every LT2 related project (Powell Butte tanks, Kelley Butte Tanks, Mt. Tabor disconnect).  But they didn’t.  Instead, our City Hall allows our Water Bureau to move forward with these projects under the claim that they were “in the long-range plan anyway”.  We’ll apparently need them in 50 years; never mind we can’t afford to upkeep them for the next 50 years until we need them; never mind that we already have more storage than we can use even without these new tanks; and never mind that the “long-range plan” from which these source was written 20 years ago, based-on what have become obviously incorrect consumption projections, and that the very Consultant who wrote this “long-range plan” now hopes we’ll stick to it no-matter-what because he’ll make billions on the construction of said projects.

Those citizens that read everything related to this issue know that PolitiFact just plain doesn’t get it, that Portland’s City Hall has NOT contributed meaningfully to this fight since 2009, and that there are more than enough examples of this kind of inept action (i.e. inaction) to make even the most polite Portlanders hot under the collar.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Let's get going!

Yesterday our coalition sent an appeal to Senator Jeff Merkley. Read the letter here.

Jeff has been an effective advocate for Bull Run for the past few years, having secured an important agreement with Lisa Jackson of the EPA. (The federal agency will not oppose a state variance that will allow Portland rate-payers to avoid unnecessary and wasteful construction and treatment of our Bull Run source water. That request for a variance is under consideration by the Oregon Drinking Water Program right now.)

Jeff was interviewed on OPB's Think Out Loud show today. (See Press Room.) There he stated that, given the new response from Lisa Jackson to a request sent by Senator Schumer-NY, he's ready to jump in to stop the unnecessary covering/treating of our in-town reservoirs, too, if given the clear support of the Portland City Council.

What are we waiting for? Let's get going!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thank You!

Since our letter to Senator Wyden was sent last week, others have joined the call to action, including
  • Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association
  • Central Eastside Industrial Council
  • Portland Business Alliance
  • Eileen Brady, member of the Mt. Tabor Reservoirs Independent Review Panel (2004) and candidate for Mayor of Portland                                 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Finally - Breakthrough!

Today,  the Portland Water Bureau requested an indefinite time-out on its reservoir compliance schedule approved by the EPA and the State of Oregon. Read excerpts of a letter sent by David Shaff to David Leland at the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Drinking Water Program below.  (See Press Room for text of full letter.)

"Last Friday in a letter from Administrator Lisa Jackson, the EPA reversed its longstanding refusal to review the requirements of the federal LT2 rule as they pertain to uncovered finished drinking water reservoirs. The reversal came in response to a July 20th request from Senator Chuck Schumer to the agency.   In the letter, the EPA states:
          “...as part of the Agency’s Final Plan for Periodic Retrospective Review of Regulations, as well     as the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the Agency will review the LT2 rule. In doing so, EPA will reassess and analyze new data and information regarding occurrence, treatment, analytical methods, health effects, and risk from viruses, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium to evaluate whether there are new or additional ways to manage risk while assuring equivalent or improved public health protection.” 

"In light of this significant and unanticipated change in federal drinking water policy, the City requests an indefinite suspension in Portland’s uncovered drinking water reservoir compliance schedule during EPA’s review of the federal LT2 rule. It is critical to the City to remain in regulatory compliance with the LT2 rule during EPA’s review and it therefore seeks written approval from the Oregon Health Authority Drinking Water Program of Portland’s request for a suspension of the City’s state approved schedule."

Right on. The EPA has NO DATA on the health effects of open and/or closed reservoirs and it was foolish to establish a cookie-cutter rule that has no basis in science. Especially when the City of Portland has data showing that there is no illness related to water from our pristine source and from our uncovered reservoirs. 

While we don't agree with all elements of the The  Oregonian editorial that followed on the heels of the Water Bureau letter, we absolutely agree with the editors that:

"New York's success in getting the EPA to reconsider argues that maybe Portland's leaders could have put more muscle into winning regulatory relief, too. Ditto for the Oregon congressional delegation, which also could -- and should -- have been working harder behind the scenes." 

And we heartily endorse this sentiment: 

"Now it's time for everyone to step it up. Gone is the excuse that the EPA will never bend. Nonsense. Now, once again, Portland has the perfect opening to press its case. The delegation, the mayor and City Council must wring every advantage for Portland ratepayers from the EPA's newly open mind." 

It's high time. Let's go!

Commissioner Fritz: Leadership

We thank Commissioner Amanda Fritz for her steadfast defense of our drinking water and pocketbooks. While some on the Portland City Council ask our congresssional delegation to provide information, she provides sorely needed leadership in her renewed call for a halt to unnecessary and wasteful construction.  Excerpts from her statement are below.

"With the decision of the Environmental Protection Agency to review the Safe Drinking Water Act regulation often referred to as LT2, with respect to open reservoirs in New York, the City of Portland should halt plans to move forward with Kelly Butte underground reservoir construction until further regulatory review is completed."

"If there is a chance that we can save water ratepayers money, we need to take a timeout and review our options."

"In light of the recent success of New York Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to win a stay on open reservoir coverage in New York, along with White House directives to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens, clearly it is time to reassess Portland's LT2 Compliance policy.  We should start by asking for a change in the schedule for compliance, and the associated multimillion dollar construction projects. Those include the Ultraviolet treatment facility EPA is requiring to treat our Bull Run water even though it doesn't have the Cryptosporidium contaminant, and  underground facilities EPA says are needed to store treated water.  Thorough research by the Water Bureau has shown that treating our source water is unnecessary. EPA has not demonstrated that covering our reservoirs will improve public health, yet we know that it will impose extreme and unnecessary financial burdens on the ratepayers."

"...More than 80 individuals and groups from all interests - businesses, unions, environmentalists, neighbors -- ratepayers all -- have signed on to the Water Users group position on this matter, which includes asking for a time out, and seeking regulatory and/or compliance timeline relief."

"With this new development by the EPA for New York, I am again asking my colleagues on the Portland City Council to join together with these citizens and others, in asking the EPA to allow the City of Portland to reopen and make changes to our compliance plan and schedule..."  

Monday, August 22, 2011

Exciting News!

Our coalition sent a letter to Senator Ron Wyden on August 18, 2011 which requested that he work with Senator Charles Schumer to reform the LT2 Rule on open reservoirs. (Schumer had written a July letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson requesting relief on LT2 open reservoir requirements for New York City, a move we applauded from afar. New York City residents will be forced to pay $1.6 billion to cover the Hillview Reservoir if there is no relief.)

Then Jackson responded with a letter to Schumer on August 19, stating:"I agree with you that we should and can find cost-effective ways of achieving these public health protections. For this reason, EPA will initiate a review process for the regulation requiring covers on reservoirs such as Hillview."

Steve Duin broke the story (or was it Steve Novick?) At any rate, now is the time for our congressional delegation to work with Schumer and the EPA to reform this cookie-cutter rule and give Portland a variance or a waiver from this unreasonable requirement. We should not be forced to pay half-billion dollars to treat a public health problem that does not exist here!

Since our letter was sent to Senator Wyden, others have joined the call to action, including
  • Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association
  • Central Eastside Industrial Council
  • Portland Business Alliance
  • Eileen Brady, member of the Mt. Tabor Reservoirs Independent Review Panel (2004) and candidate for Mayor of Portland

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Independent Utility Commission (IUC)

We attended City Council work session on the matter yesterday. This idea of an IUC surfaced at City Council and at Charter Commission meetings in response to a City Auditor's report and investigative reporting from the Oregonian that question the propriety and legality of certain utility bureau spending. Beth Slovic reports on yesterday's work session here.
Good questions raised. Plus... If the Portland Water Bureau hadn't been hiding the ball and funding expensive pet projects unrelated to delivery of great water, would we be having this discussion about an IUC at all?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

We call for new leadership of the Water Bureau

Ratepayer advocates’ statement on the leadership of the Portland Water Bureau

The Portland Water Bureau is in crisis. With new revelations this week over spending on pet projects that have nothing to do with water service, the Water Bureau has lost the confidence of its customers.

It is time for new leadership at the Portland Water Bureau. Today, we are asking Mayor Sam Adams to remove the bureau from Commissioner Randy Leonard’s portfolio. We acknowledge and respect Commissioner Leonard’s three decades of service to the people of Portland. But with this $200 million utility facing unprecedented challenges and with customer satisfaction at an all-time low, it is time to take the bureau in a new direction.

Furthermore, in order to fully account for the ratepayer funds spent on side-projects as recently uncovered by The Oregonian, we will be asking City Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade to reopen her audit of the Portland Water Bureau.

Portland has the best municipal drinking water in the world. We enjoy a pristine water source that requires minimal treatment. We have a well-designed distribution system. With such tremendous natural advantages, it is inexplicable why the Portland Water Bureau finds itself with such high costs and rates that are climbing out of control.

We urge Mayor Adams to listen to Portland ratepayers and regain control of this out-of-control utility.

Kent Craford, Portland Water Users Coalition

Floy Jones, Friends of the Reservoirs

Regna Merritt

Former member of the City of Portland Water Quality Advisory Committee

Former executive director of Oregon Wild and Oregon Wild Conservation Leaders Fund

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I'm back

Sorry to have been out of touch and offline recently. With a death in my family, I was out of town and focused only on my family.  Back now and will soon be posting fresh content and press here.

By the way, if you want to hear Commissioner Saltzman discuss his proposal for a new Independent Utility Commission (to help in setting City of Portland utility rates), join us at today's meeting of the Portland Utility Review Board (PURB). This group, charged with advising the City Council on utility rates and other things, meets the
3rd Thursday of every month
Lovejoy Room, 2nd Floor of City Hall
1221 SW 4th Avenue

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A huge week!

This has been a big week.  On Monday, the Portland Water Bureau submitted an application for a Bull Run treatment variance to the Oregon Health Authority Drinking Water Program. We've been pushing for this for years and are pleased that the formal application has finally been submitted.  Today we reiterate what was stated in our letter sent to the Portland City Council in March:

"We acknowledge and thank you for your efforts to pursue a regulatory variance from Long-Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2) water treatment mandates.  We all know that this is a ridiculous one-size-fits-all mandate that fails to take into account the protected, pristine nature of the Bull Run watershed and the purity of our water source, as supported by newly available scientific evidence which conclusively proves that Cryptosporidium does not exist in Bull Run water. We strongly support aggressive efforts to pursue the LT2 treatment waiver. We stand ready to assist you in any way we can."

We're on to a new stage for the Bull Run treatment portion of LT2.  Huge thanks to all those who have helped get us this far!

Next, Oregon's Drinking Water Program responded, in part, by posting this information. This webpage states that the decision process will include a public comment period, likely in October. 

"Public Health is required under federal law to announce its intent to issue a variance by hearing or by serving of a notice. In addition, Public Health intends to provide an opportunity for public comment from water users during its consideration of the variance request, likely in October. People also will have the opportunity to email their comments to Public Health. These comments will be considered during the decision-making process."   

A final decision is expected by the end of December. We will keep you informed of any and all opportunities to defend your drinking water!

Treatment Variance application reveals a stale plant design, flawed testing, and more nonsensical behavior

This morning I read just one section of the Treatment Variance Application Portland Water Bureau submitted to the state Drinking Water Program this week.  LT2 is outlandishly expensive.  Even the variance is going to cost us (testing at high volumes takes money).   LT2 is also completely void of benefit to us, because we don’t have the problem LT2 is trying to fix.  So, to summarize, LT2 is expensive and unnecessary for Portland’s pristine Bull Run Water.  And yet, in section 6.5 of the variance application PWB just filed with the state, PWB makes the case for conducting useless LT2 tests even MORE frequently and at higher volumes than LT2 requires.  Wha?  If a useless test is no good, then doing even more of them is better?  Well, it will funnel a little more money to PWB’s consulting buddies (a.k.a.  their future employers) so somebody is getting something out of this, right?
In section 6.4.2, PWB lets slip that the UV plant design we are paying for right now (to wait on the shelf, just in case we don’t get our variance) will be stale, and possibly need “updating” (cha-ching).  And the land use and environmental permits they are buying now, will likely also have to be redone (cha-ching).  This is good planning?  I don’t generally pack my potato salad the week before the picnic, because, that isn’t actually efficient preparation.  If there is the possibility the UV plant design will be STALE by the time we need it, surely they built a clause into the contract that allows for a brief review for updating.  Oh no, silly me, I keep forgetting.  The principle is “funnel more money” not “conserve limited public resources.” 
But most upsetting of all (it gets more upsetting) is the trigger to build the $100 million UV plant and the flawed testing protocol PWB put on that trigger.  With so much at stake ($100 million dollars + future operating expenses) on the line for just two inconclusive test results, wouldn’t it seem prudent to be particularly careful when negotiating the test method.  We wouldn’t want to choose a test method with well-known flaws, that the scientific community has identified as producing false positives which overstate public health risks.  Yet, rather than make the case  for how much the science of Crypto testing has changed since EPA suggested testing Method 1622/23 as the standard for LT2 tests,  PWB stated in the variance application they would employ flawed testing Method 1622/23.  Almost unexplainable.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lost one battle - but the war continues

Here's the Oregonian article on the long day at City Council yesterday, where votes were taken on Portland Water Bureau rates, contracts and budgets.  Big thanks to everyone who attended, wrote letters, made phone calls, signed postcards, testified and otherwise worked to bring common sense back to the City Council.

The Bad News: Nick Fish was a complete disappointment, voting against a good budget amendment offered by Amanda Fritz  and giving credit to the Water Bureau for work that has not been done and will not be done under Randy Leonard's watch.  Dan Saltzman voted for the water rate increase and was absent for the afternoon vote. The City attorney grossly misrepresented the alternative path to compliance put forward by Water User's attorneys, supporting the case for the status quo (Quick! Build $400 million dollars in unnecessary projects as fast as you possibly can!)

The Good News: We had wonderful testimony from businesses and community members. We've created an informed, active, broad coalition and we're growing! There are other opportunities to force a change and we'll be working every one of them.

Join us in sending a huge thanks to Commissioner Amanda Fritz, the only council member to vote against a 13% water rate increase and against hugely wasteful spending in the $80 million Powell Butte 2 construction project. Most importantly, she put forth a budget note that would have required the City, in the coming year, to look at new opportunities for treatment, storage and variance on the open reservoirs.
She did not get a singe vote in support from fellow Commissioners.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Oregonian: Wednesday is D Day

While we don't agree with everything in tomorrow's editorial, the writers got this 100% right:
"Today is D Day. The Portland City Council will decide whether to rescue businesses and residents, or just let them drown in water bills... Until every avenue for obtaining a reasonable extension is exhausted, the City Council shouldn't spend a dime moving forward..The council will decide today whether it's going to be excessively deferential, as in the past, or stand up and defend Portland's beleaguered water bill payers."
Come to Council Chambers Wednesday at 11 am and help the Portland Council Council make the right decision! Here's what you can do.

Portland City Council to vote on Wednesday!

You did a great job last week.  It's critical to keep up the pressure!
Attend City Council meeting this Wednesday to testify and/or to witness the votes. Check out this information and pass it on to friends, family, neighbors and colleagues.  See you at City Hall!
Listen here to short KBOO piece that ran this afternoon. It includes interview with Water User's attorneys.
If you are unable to attend, please be sure to contact your commissioners. Email addresses and phone numbers are here, too.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hell does not have to freeze over

(Portland Water Bureau staff stated in January that hell would freeze over before we could save our open reservoirs, which have provided safe and affordable drinking water for over 100 years.)

Over 100 people turned out for Wednesday morning's water rate hearing, which ran over its alloted 30 minutes by almost 5 hours. Forty-five people signed up to speak on behalf of protecting our open reservoirs from senseless LT2 projects, including Siltronics, Portland Bottling Co., Yo Cream, Alsco Linen, and Physicians for Social Responsibility. The next morning Mayor Sam Adams convened a good meeting to learn more about the new legal opinion and an alternate path that could prevent wasteful spending.
Urgent Update: See "What You Can Do" on right panel

KBOO's Joe Meyer ran a 4 minute piece which holds several interesting quotes from Fritz, Saltzman, and Adams (they begin at minute 2:45). But if there is one thing I aboslutely don't want you to miss it's the quote from Dave Wagner, formerly of EPA's Office of General Council, stating there is a legal path to both a variance and a timeline extension for the reservoirs (minute 1:52). It seems Hell does not have to freeze over before our reservoirs can be saved!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New legal opinion!

Click here to read legal expert's opinion on opportunity to secure a variance and change schedule of compliance for costly and unnecessary LT2 rule.

Come to City Hall TODAY, May 18!

Finally! This is YOUR opportunity to tell City Council what you think of the Water Bureau's proposed rate increase of 12 -14% this year and 84.7% over next 5 years.  Tell Council to "press pause" on unnecessary LT2 projects.  

Concerned citizens must pack the house, so spread the word!

Time: 10:15 am on Wednesday, May 18
Location: Council Chambers, Portland City Hall
(City Hall is between Jefferson and Madison on SW 4th Ave)

PLEASE SHOW UP.   Testimony can be very brief (2-3 minutes). Identify yourself, state why you don't want water rates to go up  and please ask City Council to:

 1) Vote NO on water rate increases;
2) Call for a time-out on new LT2 construction projects;
3) Submit a new plan/schedule and
4) Apply to the State of Oregon for variances for Bull Run and reservoirs. 

If Council asks for "no repeat" testimony, stand strong and say your piece.  Your reasons and your personal story are your own.

If you bring written testimony, please bring 7 copies so it goes in the record.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Check out KBOO story on Portland Water and Reservoirs

This is a great educational piece by Joe Meyer. Click on http://kboo.fm/node/28586 for 12 minute version.
For entire show: click on  http://kboo.fm/node/28507  and  then scroll down to the bottom of the page, where you will see a little gray box with a speaker and an arrow.  Click on arrow to begin. This show is over 43:00 minutes in length so, if short on time, you might want to slide arrow to minute 3:30 to begin.
Title: Open Reservoirs and Governments
Length: 43:48 minutes (40.11 MB)
Format: MP3 Stereo 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)

DON'T MISS minute 36 - when Dave Leland with the state's Drinking Water Program indicates that his office has jurisdiction over the EPA LT2 issue, and that granting a deadline extension is within his authority but they'd need to hear from PWB first.

DON'T MISS minute 6:29 - when Dr. Gary Oxman with Multnomah County Health Department indicates that they don't expect to see any reduction in disease incidence if/when the reservoirs are buried, because they aren't seeing any disease incidence now (and therefore there is nothing to reduce).

Thursday, May 5, 2011

New Support!

Organizational support continues to pour in:
John Watt for Teamsters Local #305.
Nancy Newell for Oregon Green Energy Coalition.
Ron Carley on behalf of Coalition for a Liveable Future.
Alexander Mace on behalf of the Old Town Chinatown Neighborhood Association. 
Brian Hoop on behalf of Linnton Neighborhood Association.
Eric Reimkit on behalf of Marshall Park Estates Homeowners Association.

See "What You Can Do" on right and help secure the support of your organization.

Thank you!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mayor's Budget Increases Water Rates 84.7% over 5 years

Mayor Sam Adams today proposed a minor reduction in water rate increases (compared to Water Bureau request for the coming fiscal year) --- but failed to control the driver for huge rate increases: unnecessary water treatment and projects. See our Press Release here which responds to the Mayor's summary budget.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dear Water Bureau Blogger: Please give us substance

I'd like to see who was really writing the script for Friday's Water Bureau posts and tweets. Someone should do a public records request for the emails to and from Bott, Shaff, and Brown related to public messaging, tweets and blog posts on April 21 and 22.

Do I need my water bureau spending my money to talk about the weather and the fountains? I'd rather they tweet me everytime they hand out a new multi-million dollar contract. If Water Bureau truly wants to encourage public involvment (and not just propoganda) they can start by giving citizens the information we want... not just the information they want us to have. How about we de-fund the tweet and blog program at Water Bureau, freeing up a staff person to provide the information the community really wants access to.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Portland Water Bureau: Tweeting away your $

Gee, let's see how many ways we can try to scare people away from our great drinking water and elegant, green, inexpensive system that delivers it. What a fabulous way to waste ratepayer dollars!
Read about Portland Water Bureau escapades here in the latest Oregonian story

TV coverage of rally to protect affordable drinking water

 In many ways, it was steaming hot at the rally on Earth Day!  See KATU coverage of the scene in front of Portland City Hall here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Our Response to Water Bureau OPed in Oregonian today

There are a number of options available to the City of Portland which would provide relief from these mandates, none of which involve breaking the law.

Mr. Shaff's assertion that our choices are two--build these projects as the Water Bureau proposes or break the law--is totally specious and intended to prevent ratepayers and the City Council from understanding the true number of options at hand.

Specifically, the City Council has four options:

1. Seek a permanent waiver from these Cryptosporidium mandates, which could either be granted by Congress or the EPA itself through executive action.

2. Pursue a variance from the rule, using the 17,000 liters of testing in Bull Run and at our open drinking water reservoirs as proof that we already meet the objectives of the Cryptosporidium rule.

It is important to note that federal regulators are no longer the decision-makers on a variance from the rule, the State of Oregon has been delegated primacy for rule implementation and therefore the state will decide whether Portland is eligible for a variance. This is a critical development, as we expect the state to be much more sympathetic to Portland's unique situation than the EPA.

3. Pursue treatment at the outlet of the reservoirs as Rochester, New York has done. While Mr. Shaff is correct that this would cost much more in Portland than it did in Rochester (approximately $200 million), that is still far less than the Water Bureau is proposing to spend--$500 million. Has the Water Bureau allowed the City Council the opportunity to consider or debate an alternative compliance program that could save ratepayers $300 million? And if not, why not?

4. Seek a delayed compliance timeline as Dr. Thomas Ward, an infectious disease specialist at OHSU, has recommended the City pursue. Again, the decision on a delayed compliance time frame is not up to the EPA, it is up to the State of Oregon.

Mr. Shaff asserts that Portland must have a legal or technical basis for requesting a delay for reservoir replacement. Says who? Where is that written? He refers to Congress' original direction to the EPA in authorizing promulgation of this rule, but that has nothing to do with implementation of the rule, especially when authority for that implementation has been turned over to the State of Oregon. The Water Bureau is counting on ratepayers and the City Council to take their word for it. Don't.

Portland can seek a delay for any reason. The worst that would happen is the state refuses. We will never know unless we ask. The City Council must request a delay so as to pursue other options (listed above) and prevent a half-billion dollar waste of money at a time when Portland residents and businesses are struggling.

Kent Craford
Portland Water Users Coalition

Opinion: Oregonian publishes Portland Water Bureau response.

Read Portland Water Bureau David Shaff's Opinion piece in today's newspaper responding to our Opinion piece in the Oregonian last week. When reading his response, please keep in mind that NO ONE is advocating that we break federal law. In our next post, Kent Craford, a member of our very active coalition, responds.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Oregonian coverage of today's rally

It was a beautiful day for the rally to protect Portland's drinking water.

Click here for the story.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Great News: New Organizational Support!

Our most recent supporter:
David Lorati on behalf of the Central Eastside Industrial Council has signed on to the letter to Portland City Council.
See "What You Can Do" on right and help secure the support of your organization.

Thank you!

Rally 12-1pm Friday April 22

Gather at noon outside Portland's City Hall on Earth Day to protect our pure drinking water.
A sister group has called for the rally (click here for poster) It's important that you bring your friends and family. Send a big message to the Portland City Council, which will vote on this critical issue in May. See you there!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Read all about it: The Oregonian

Read great opinion piece in the Oregonian today by Kent Craford (Portland Large Water Users Coalition) and Kelly Campbell (Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility). Here they call on the Portland City Council to push the pause button on hugely expensive, unnecessary Water Bureau plans.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Amanda is running for re-election

Amanda Fritz has been, and continues to be, our champion on Portland City Council for matters related our water bills and unnecessary, expensive water treatment. She is the sole commissioner to date who has stated support for a time-out (as requested in Our Ask). But the tide is turning. Help us bring the Mayor and the other Commissioners along! See What You Can Do. Go Amanda!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Randy's thoughts on City Hall elections

Click here  to read Brad Schmidt's Oregonian piece today on upcoming elections.
85% rate increases and strategies for Bull Run treatment and reservoir construction are sure to play key role in this and other campaigns.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

More Great News: New Organizational Support!

Our most recent supporters:

Sandra McDonough for Portland Business Alliance
Andrew Frazier for Portland Small Business Advisory Council
Jason Williams for Taxpayers Association of Oregon

See "What You Can Do" on right and help secure the support of your organization.
Thank you!

The Oregonian covers polling results

Click here to read the latest on polling results regarding Portland Water Bureau.  Story by Brad Schmidt.

Lars on Water Bureau rates today

Kent Craford, representing the Portland Water Users Coalition, joins Lars today at 1:20 pm.
Listen at KXL AM 750

Good News: New Community Support!

Our most recent supporter:
Peter Stark on behalf of Hillside Neighborhood Association.
See "What You Can Do" on right and help secure the support of your organization.

Thank you!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Jack's take on Randy's change of course on $45 million billing system

Take a gander...

Phony Story of the Month

Here's a bogus plot that the local daily newspaper swallows hook, line, and sinker: The staff at the Portland Water Bureau wants to spend millions on fancy new water meters, but Fireman Randy is turning them down because he's a careful custodian of the public's money.
What a joke.
No one who works in any office run by the Fireman ever has the nerve to disagree with him -- if they know what's good for them. And he'll spend bureau money on whatever he darn well pleases.
It's an interesting set-up, but anyone who buys it deserves to live in a place run by Fireman Randy.

City Commissioner Randy Leonard changes course on proposed $45 million billing system

Water Bureau staff are now taking the fall for Commissioner Leonard and his budget which was proposed to City Council in March.  But that's OK.  Click here for article by Brad Schmidt, The Oregonian

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tomorrow! Visit and learn about Sandy Basin River Restoration

The Bull Run Watershed is located within the greater Sandy River Watershed.
A great, educational forum complete with workshops and field trips awaits you tomorrow.
While oriented towards Sandy Basin landowners, this event is free and open to all.
Check it out here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Good News! New Organizational Support

Our most recent supporter:
TJ Reilly on behalf of Oregon Small Business Association
See "What You Can Do" on right and help secure the support of your organization.

Thank you!

KGW on Saltzman proposal for independent rate review for utilities

Click here for tonight's story.  Dan Saltzman wants it. Randy Leonard doesn't want it. Sam Adams says he thought of it first (years ago).

4.07.2011 The Oregonian; Brad Schmidt. "Portland Mayor Sam Adams Drops Plan to Use Water and Sewer Money for College Scholarships

Portland Mayor Sam Adams on Wednesday ditched a controversial plan to tap water and sewer money to pay for community college scholarships.

Adams first proposed the strategy a year ago and hoped to implement it this week. But growing public skepticism over how water and sewer money is used, and uncertainty among Portland City Council members threatened to postpone approval of the program.

Instead, Adams opted to pay for the program exclusively from the city's discretionary general fund.

"It's important to me that we move this project forward," Adams said before the council unanimously approved the program. "I don't want the debate -- which I think is also important -- about funding sources to cloud or slow down our effort to get scholarships out to up to  200 applicants."

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Portland Mayor Sam Adams drops plan to use water and sewer money for college scholarships

Portland water bureau's expanded mission under Randy Leonard isn't his fault alone

Published: Tuesday, April 05, 2011, 4:30 PM
As a new city audit suggests, the amount of mission creep in the Portland Water Bureau has reached the level of malpractice, if not quite malfeasance.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

IF you missed yesterday's Think Out Loud

Go to this page for OPB's April 4, 2011 show on Portland water and rates.  When you arrive at the page, click on the small arrow (as seen below) to hear the show.

Portland Water Bureau

AIR DATE: Monday, April 4th 2011

Bull Run Watershed