Subject: Update on Wednesday's water rate$ hearing: The good, the bad & the ugly. A big thank you to all who came to the water rates meeting on Wednesday. For those of who couldn't attend, here's a break-down of what happened.
THE GOOD: Turnout at City Hall was terrific. Council Chambers was packed with people who are supportive of avoiding the unnecessary "treating" and covering of Portland's historic open reservoirs for contaminants that do not exist. Over 100 people attended , including a mayoral candidate. Near the beginning, a speaker asked people to stand up if they were attending in support of keeping the reservoirs open (and stopping unnecessary construction). THE ENTIRE CHAMBER (except for Water Bureau employees) STOOD. Numerous groups testified against the planned 85% water/sewer rates increase over the next 5 years -- 45 people signed up to testify including Siltronics, Portland Bottling Co., Yo Cream, Alsco Linen, a low income housing representative, Sierra Club Columbia Chapter, Physicians for Social Responsibility and many, many more.
THE BAD & UGLY: Commissioners gave the green light for water-sewer rates to go up nearly 20% this year. They approved a 6 percent sewer fee hike and a water rate hike of approximately 12 percent. Council is expected to officially approved the rate hikes next Wednesday. An audit recently found that the Portland Water Bureau has spent millions of dollars on projects other than water and sewer operations. This is in violation of Oregon state law. You may recall that the Oregonian Editorial Board recently called for regulatory reform in an opinion piece on LT2. The question is why isn't the Portland Water Bureau working in support of community will, our good water, and LT2 regulatory reform.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Call each city Commissioner's office and tell them to stop reservoir construction projects.
Here's a brief KBOO piece by Joe Meyer on Wednesday's rate hearing:
Previous coverage of this issue: http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2011/05/408414.shtml