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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Portland Business Alliance Plans to Critique Water Measure

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Water_commission_presser.jpg

The Portland Business Alliance has so far been mum on a proposal to snatch water, sewer and stormwater utilities away from City Council.

That's about to change. A PBA spokesperson confirms the body voted this morning to critique the effort, and will offer its own ideas for reforms.

City utilities have been a hot-button issue of late, as rising water and sewer rates commingle with concerns about past projects of the Portland Water Bureau and Bureau Environmental Services (though it's important to note that foolhardy expenditures like the much-maligned Portland Water House don't much contribute to your rate increases).

Riding that wave, the so-called Portland Public Water District campaign seeks to establish a seven-member elected board who would control the bureaus. The measure formally made the ballot last week, when city and county election officials determined the campaign had collected the nearly-30,000 signatures to land it on the May ballot.

It's still unclear how strong the PBA's opposition will be. Spokeswoman Laura Shepard says the group is still "putting a couple pieces in place" before releasing its stance. A staunch critique would place the PBA in the ranks of local labor unions and environmental organizations, who've been outspoken in their opposition.

More when details become available.

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