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

Bull Run Watershed