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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Portland water system to go another $100 million in the hole

To the Portland City Council, borrowing another $100 million has become like putting an $8 lunch on a credit card to you and me. This time, our fearless heroes take us further into hock for the water system.

Beyond that, it's pretty hard to tell from the proposed city ordinance exactly what the money's going to be used for. "Additions, improvements, and capital equipment that facilitate supply, treatment, transmission, storage, pumping, distribution, regulatory compliance, customer service and support" -- in other words, something to do with water.

The council will vote tomorrow -- the public can try to figure out the project details later. Of course, by the time we find out what the money's really going to be used for, the time period for challenging this ordinance will be over. That's standard public process for municipal finance here in the Rose City.

While we're on the subject of water, what's this all about? We thought the city was claiming that it was too late to stand up to the feds on their requirement that we treat Bull Run water for an organism that wasn't there. Now all of a sudden we're back on with asking for a variance? Haven't we already started bleeding tens of millions on the assumption that the feds aren't going to cave?

To get needless regulations off the backs of the city's residents would be good news indeed, but some days it's hard to keep straight whether the city is really fighting or not.

Comments (16)

I saw that too and wondered, "haven't we already been led down the alley by PWB over this?"

Oh now I get it. Act like you are seeking a variance while getting the funds locked up in the meantime.

I'd like to cut these guys a break and think they cared about being fiscally responsible, but...

The vagueness of the ordinance does allow "interested parties" to work out the details over lunch. You know details about campaign contributions and private job offerings after terms expire.

Hey Jack,

I have discussed this with the EPA and Portland Water Bureau officials and I did a post about it on Beaver Journal yesterday.

EPA does not seem like they are going to allow a variance. The Portland Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff left a comment on our article and I corresponded with him via e-mail. I have tried to reach out to Randy Leonard's office but they declined to comment.

One of the things I wanted to know and requested info on from Commissioner Leonard was how much the city was paying CDM under the new contract so that I could determine whether building a new treatment facility would be cheaper in the long run versus paying CDM as a consultant and facing possible fines and litigation.

Anyways you can check out the article I plan on doing a update on it in 3-4 weeks after I send a formal request for more information directly to the City Attorney.

"additions and improvements that may be financed"

I love the word may. This can mean anything. Since Randy can raise water rates as much as he wants when he wants, why not?

As far as EPA giving in, it just isn't happening. EPA does what it wants and doesn't care what anyone thinks and never changes it's mind. It's like having a whole fed agency full of Randys.

This EPA scam is the greatest thing Leonard, Shaff and CH2MHill Glicker could have ever wanted. Spend more money on a failure, borrow more money, raise rates, drive away businesses, waste more time until EPA due dates appear. Then tell us their "window dressing" attempt was doing their best to help us fight EPA.

Sorry folks...Cryptosporidium was never the public health problem EPA asserted. Greed and financial/ debt insolvency are the driving forces to degrade our water for no public health reason. And that goes for the open reservoirs too. They are fine as they are with some minor changes. We just spent millions in improvements. Good luck with the new Radon and volatile organic contaminants you'll be breathing with the covered reservoirs.

Can't wait for the dishonest rebuttals from unqualified morons, but then that's all they have. The facts don't support any drinking water treatment or reservoir covering.

It just looks like our city council is caving to corporate rule, thereby taking away from our community our wonderful sustainable treasure, the Bull Run Water System, one of the best in our country. By the time they are done, we will lose our good drinking water, as toxic chemicals will be added. Water rates will double. The financial and the health risk of our community is at stake. Much more, and the list is long!

Shame on our Council and Leonard who is Commissioner of Water. They will go down in Portland's history as the greatest sell outs evah!!

They just want the public to only know what they send out in press releases, and want us all to think the nail is in the coffin. Citizens are smarter than that.

We citizens and this community need to stand up to say NO to EPA.

Our city council won’t!

"our city council is caving to corporate rule"

I believe EPA is driving this and I thought they were a Fed agency. Besides why the heck isn't someone leaning on Bluemanure or Wyden/Merkley to speak for us? I mean Sam will hop a plane in an instant to get Earl to earmark streetcar funds.

Besides if Randy can get a 30% increase on a "just-in-case-we-need-it" scenario from EPA, what happens to rates if he actually has to do something?

Look behind the curtain, see what is really driving this, who is driving EPA and lobbied for this LT2 Rule?
and then -
Article on EPA scientists complain about political pressure:


. . Besides why the heck isn't someone leaning on Bluemanure or Wyden/Merkley to speak for us? I mean Sam will hop a plane in an instant to get Earl to earmark streetcar funds. .

They have been leaned on.
Why so much inertia and silence about this matter?
They are "waiting" for city to act?
Contact those in Congress and press on them.

We have a round about game going here.
More on that later.

Yes, Sam does hop for the streetcar. Not so for our sustainable Bull Run Water System. His "green sustainable followers" need to take their blinders off and press him about this matter. Maybe they think drinking toxic chemicals and having radon back up into our living and working spaces is green?

"see what is really driving this"

The article just says political pressure. Save me some time and tell me who you think is pushing their buttons and why.

I know in town the guy that used to run PWB is managing a big consulktant that wants to cover the reservoirs.

EPA, for whatever reason, is one of the strongest agencies in the Fed govt and it seems no one stands up to them.

"Additions, improvements, and capital equipment that facilitate supply, treatment, transmission, storage, pumping, distribution, regulatory compliance, customer service and support"

Sounds like they found the way to purchase new fire trucks.

If no one stands up them, then it is time that we did. We don't have cyrptosporidium, and our community cannot afford a billion dollars for a problem we don't have! It is folly.

I have tried to become educated on this matter for several years. Water is a basic and important.

This is where I learned about some backgrounder on the matter:


"If no one stands up them, then it is time that we did."

Sorry, I give up, I grew up here, got advanced degrees here, contributed to the economy here, but there comes a time when the grifters at all levels of govt win. No one wants to stop them from Randy (who needs an excuse to kep raising rates) to Congress who don't have saving taxpayers money as a priority.

I think we are at that point. I give up and like anyone who disagrees get told to go someplace else, I'll take them up on their suggestion in about 5 years.

Many feel this way.
While it may be a despairing situation.
where will we all go to?
I have decided to stay aware, no matter how ugly the picture is and that where I live I will step up for justice and truth. Should I have to leave the insanity here, I am afraid problems will be elsewhere. My hope is that "elsewhere" will not be as horrible as the insider game and agenda we have here.

I happen to believe that standing up for our wonderful Bull Run Water System is one of the most important steps we could do now.
Do call Congress members here anyway and let them know what you think.
They may not have heard from enough people yet, as so much of this is happening under the radar screen.
Thanks Steve for the conversation.
Take care.

Just read from this website again.
Might help explain the situation and why the public needs to contact Senator Merkley and others now. Let Leonard know what you think about this as well.

Here are excerpts from a Nov. 15, 2010 letter to Mayor Adams and City Commissioners:
. . . . .
The Senator was unaware that the Water Bureau’s burial plans will cost ratepayers $403 million (nearly $800 million with debt service). He was surprised to learn that the Water Bureau was already spending $22 million on the $99 million UV Radiation treatment plant despite the fact that the “variance” sampling of over 9000 liters has detected zero Cryptosporidium oocysts. He is aware that EPA’s sampling method does not distinguish between harmless and harmful Cryptosporidium.

Senator Merkley told us that Commissioner Leonard has never spoken with him with about assisting in the community effort to retain our open reservoirs. Senator Merkley advised that without the City making an effort his role supporting the community is more difficult. He noted Commissioner Leonard’s reputation as a fighter and wondered why Leonard doesn’t bring the full force of his potential to this cause.

While Commissioner Leonard has suggested that the community blame the Congressional delegation if alternatives aren’t secured for the open reservoirs, clearly City Council will be to blame if a serious effort is not made to retain Portland’s open reservoirs. . .

Care about your drinking water?
Turn up the pressure!

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