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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 28, 2013 11:44 AM. The previous post in this blog was "Dance Moms" comes to Oregon City. The next post in this blog is Are English majors paying for Chip Kelly's lawyers?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Doubly spooky

Here's an interesting story about Portland water rates. They've gone up at a compound rate of 7.34% a year over the past dozen years -- or 133.9% over that time.

What's even more interesting is the stock photo that the O is using of city commissioner Steve Novick. The photo credit is to Rob Finch, but it looks as though it ought to be to Alfred Hitchcock.

Comments (12)

By my calcs, water has gone up 50% the past 3 years and they want to raise it 50% more the next 3-4 years. Remember, each $1 water = about $2.50 of sewer.

All of this increase has happened without one good reason why - Besides Randy's rule by fiat.

I don't even know how it can be calculated.

I have "water bills" going back to 1979 and there was no such thing as "Rainwater disposal fee... onsite, rainwater disposal fees...off site, or sewer usage fee.

The "water use" portion is the least of any of the junk fees they've added.

Now I'm going to dig out my really old water bills and compare net due amounts.

I want my rates reduced,
I want a refund ,
AND I think "WE" should hire the best trial lawman known.
As long as we take it they will gladly give it. Just ask Randy.

Note that the chart does not include last year's water rate increase of 7.6%. On top of years of skyrocketing water rate increases under Leonard/Shaff/Adams leadership (resulting in water bills doubling in just over 5 years), the base charge, a separate line item, tripled during Randy's reign.

Let Mayor Hales know directly that you want your water and sewer bills to go down. He is just now starting to take a look at the Water Bureau and BES budgets.

If the city sells the water utility (plenty of cities have private water companies) it would book a large pool of money. They could use it to get somebody to take a good picture of Steve Novick. The guy has a nice smile for heaven's sake.

I've taken better photos with a pinhole camera made from an old shoe box.

Anyone knows if its legal to disconnect yourself from Portland Water & Sewer. get a composting toilet & a big cistern to save all the rainwater off your roof ??

if it is legal, it probably would soon not be...

Can't you just see a turkey vulture sitting on his shoulder?

Meanwhile, just up the valley:

Don't punish people who save water
by Leslie Schockner, OpEd (February 27, 2013)
http://portlandtribune.com/cr/28-opinion/128905-dont-punish-people-who-save-water

One of the most terrible results of skyrocketing water rates is that an increasing number of landlords are now charging tenants water fees on top of rent. Ours has been raised twice and in Oregon landlords are entitled to do that. As often as they want. In fact they can charge any fee they want, except for garbage service. As many fees as they want. At any rate, no matter how onerous. And a lease contract will not protect you. Water used to be included in rent but not any more.

I love the downtown area and prefer to live there. I never thought I'd say it, but Hillsboro is looking more and more attractive.

NW Portlander,
If water quality and the pristine water of Bull Run matters to you, you may not want to make that move. There is talk of tapping into the Willamette in that Hillsboro area.
Bob,
As much as we dislike what our city has done here, privatization is not the way to go. Loss of water rights is a big deal to people throughout the world and once privatized, no say at all left for the people about the water they drink. The pattern of privatization is not good, for a couple of years OK and then watch out. Do the research. In some areas the water pressure became so low in hydrants, in other areas water not looking good coming out of faucets, I believe that was in Atlanta. Stockton, CA lost their water rights and fought for six long years to get them back.

It is my view that the public have ownership and retain ownership of their water, not for others to make money on this basic necessity that people need to live.
I can understand why people might think this but the problem we have here is that our PWB and council unfortunately have not been acting for our public interest.
Who knows, their actions may have been engineered to take us on that path to privatization, there is lots of money for others to make here on our public water. Is this the reason for their horrendous decisions, enormous spending and debt? So sad and despite the mess our elected officials have gotten us into, I will champion to retain public ownership of our good water.

http://www.globalexchange.org/sites/default/files/MoneyDownDrain.pdf

To try to help gain perspective, the schedule to replace our beloved open reservoirs at Mount Tabor and Washington Park with underground tanks at Powell and Kelly Buttes, the schedule that Steve Novick is trying to delay, was submitted by the Portland Water Bureau and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency in March 2009. The cost of the project has been estimated at 400 million dollars and would, of course, add to our water rate. In July 2009 the Environmental Protection Agency granted the Oregon Health Authority Interim Primacy for the LT2 rule, the rule that requires us to treat or cover our open finished drinking water reservoirs, so approval of a deferral would come from them. Rochester, mentioned in the O article, and politically savvy New York City have already obtained deferrals. Furthermore the Environmental Protection Agency is currently reviewing the LT2 rule. New York City has been actively engaged in the review process after having played a role, with some help from Charles Schumer, in persuading the Environmental Protection Agency to do the review. In addition to a schedule deferral granted by the Oregon Health Authority, and an administrative change to the LT2 rule made by the Environmental Protection Agency, my understanding is there could be a different type of administrative relief from the Environmental Protection Agency, perhaps a waiver, although I conjecture the Oregon Health Authority would need to sign off on it, or legislative relief, again perhaps a waiver, which would require an act of congress.

I agree with you 100%, clinaman. Arundati Roy has spoken eloquently on this topic. Look at the subject of India and water rights if you want to see a real nightmare. Water should NEVER be privitized. But then I don't think that any necessity like electricity or any sort of power should be privitized either and yet we've got for-profit, monopoly electric companies paying out six-figure salaries to executives, sponsoring events, retaining an advertising agency and generally investing and buying into many things that have nothing to do with the simple management or delivery of electricity. It still gives me nightmares to think about a) all the money PGE spent scaring people away from a PUD whenever it comes up and b) what Peggy was making while working for PGE and what she got when she left. By the way, did you know that retired PGE employees get discounted electric rates?


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