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 for 12 minute version.
For entire show: click on  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.

Bull Run Watershed