Saturday, April 30, 2011

Shaff is talking out both sides of his mouth...

How do you keep your customers convinced they are getting the purest water in the world all the while convincing them they need to spend billions of dollars to improve it? By pretending your hands are tied. Let me put the finest point on this: PWB has not done everything it can and should do to legally avoid construction of mind-bogglingly expensive projects we don't need.

In March of 2009 I directly asked EPA for the deadline to cover reservoirs. EPA replied quiet clearly: the rule doesn't name a deadline, each city sets their own deadline. Our water bureau negotiated a fast-tracked compliance schedule and handed it to EPA in March 2009 with only 24 hours notice to City Council. PWB does not want to save us money, they want to grow the bureau on our backs.

While PWB was gearing up to party with their consulting buddies, NYC was diligently compiling data and building a case to argue for an extension on the deadlines. To anyone that has read the NYC documents, it is clear that they plan to leverage their research into an alternative to unnecessary projects. They haven't just won a delay, they've won.

PWB hasn't put forth the kind of effort you or I would put into finding a legal alternative. My uncle used to say, when it comes to breakfast the hen, she is involved, but the pig, the pig is committed. PWB's acting like a bunch of chickens at a time when what we need is something more akin to a boar.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Rally for Your Water - Friday

Rally for affordably pure water - Friday, April 22 at 12:00 noon in front of City Hall.  Businesses and citizens alike call for Commissioners to "press pause" on Water Bureau spending for LT2 projects.

City Hall is at 1221 SW 4th Ave; between SW Jefferson and SW Madison on SW 4th

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Portland Water Bureau still spending, now to disconnect Tabor

If you haven’t kept up with the flurry of reporting about our drinking water, the fate of our reservoirs, or questionable Water Bureau spending… visit the “Press Room” page of for a fairly comprehensive list of links to the latest reads across media outlets.

The Community Ask
A broad range of community and business leaders are supporting the letter written by Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility (dated March 10, 2011, read it here) which requests Commissioners immediately intervene to delay LT2 projects. The list of signed supporters grows daily, and at this point includes organizations like the Portland Business Alliance, Widmer, Sierra Club, Oregon Small Business Association, and the Oregon League of Conservation Voters. Watch this list grow by clicking here.

As of yet, Council hasn’t taken any action to slow LT2 spending or to follow New York City’s lead and ask for a delay in deadlines.

Disconnecting Tabor
Despite the recent groundswell of community and business support for a time-out on LT2 projects, Portland Water Bureau is still spending money. Just a few weeks ago Water Bureau selected a contractor to disconnect the Mt. Tabor reservoirs -- a project estimated to cost $500,000 that will likely go before City Council sometime in the next six weeks. You’ll note that this half-a-million dollar project to shut off the Tabor reservoirs comes shortly on the heels of another contract wrapping up millions of dollars in reservoir “upgrades.” If you’d like to see a description of this disconnect project, read the Request For Proposal here (especially page 2 “Part I, Section A, 2. Background”).

A Rally – this coming Friday
The word is several stakeholder groups are calling for a rally in front of City Hall this Friday over lunch. Show up and inspire Commissioners to get moving on the Community Ask. April 22, 12 noon, outside City Hall at 1221 SW 4th Ave.

Water Rate Hearing – May 18, 10:15 am
A tentative date has been set for Council to hear the Water Bureau’s request for rate increases that will drive up your bill 85% over the next 5 years. Attendance is essential if you want Council to insist on something more sensible. Council Chambers in city hall. Check on the agenda as it develops here.