FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kevin Bond
PRESERVATION 911 ALERT DECLARED FOR PORTLAND'S OPEN RESERVOIRS
(Portland, Oregon) - The Friends of the Reservoirs will soon get some national media coverage of the battle over the Portland Water Bureau's Open Reservoir Replacement Project.
A few weeks ago, the Friends wrote a letter to the National Trust for Historic Preservation explaining the nature of our preservation emergency. They will post a copy of this letter (attached below) on their website as a Preservation 911 alert. The alert will be on Preservation magazine's website < http://www.nthp.org/magazine> on Tuesday, April 22 around Noon EST. They will also include a photo of the reservoirs, as well as the Friends' website address.
The Friends of the Reservoirs was formed last fall by a group of concerned citizens who oppose the reservoir project. Presently, the Friends are working on several fronts in an attempt to stop the project. One such front includes attracting greater local and national media attention to this issue.
The Friends of the Reservoirs oppose the project based on the large cost, the irreparable damage that will be done to the historic reservoirs, and its needlessness. The city plans to spend over $150 million, permanently increase water rates at least 7%, and pay outside consultants millions of dollars. The city plans to destroy 100-year old reservoirs, gatehouses, and walls. These historic structures will be gone forever. There are alternatives to burial that address the city's water quality and safety concerns. This project is absolutely unnecessary.
Text of Friends' letter to National Trust:
Dear Preservation 911,
We are having a preservation emergency here in Portland, Ore. I am a member of a grassroots organization known as the Friends of the Reservoirs, which is attempting to save our city's 100-year old open reservoirs from destruction by the city's Water Bureau. These reservoirs have been used for over 100 years for Portland's drinking water. Not only are they an integral part of the water system, they also serve as focal points within Mount Tabor Park. This unique interaction of water and public space was first identified by the Olmsteds in 1903.
Citing terrorism fears in the shadow of Sept. 11, the city wants to replace the reservoirs with buried storage tanks and develop new park space in their place. A public advisory committee is currently helping decide "what goes on top."
The Friends of the Reservoirs strongly opposes the current public process and the city council's decision in May 2002 to bury the reservoirs. We feel that the public was unfairly excluded from discussing alternatives to reservoir burial. Furthermore, there is very little public support for this project.
We need all the help we can get from all available sources. Right now, the Friends are raising money for our pending legal case against the city. We are also trying to raise public awareness of this project. But we need more help.
Our group, the Friends of the Reservoirs, have nominated the reservoirs for National Register consideration. I have contacted all other statewide orgs, but most are hesitant to get politically or legally involved.
Please feel free to contact me. Thank you!
Kevin Bond, Secretary
Friends of the Reservoirs