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Joe Meyer • 5 years ago

When I interviewed Portland Mayor Hales earlier this month, he demonstrated how
willfully ignorant he intends to remain of the corporate takeover of
Portland's pristine drinking water. He made substantial mistakes
regarding Portland's efforts in the past and was completely wrong about
the Oregon Health Authority's (OHA) decision making role regarding LT2 moving forward.
This is especially troublesome since Hales' Chief of Staff Gail Shibley
came from that exact decision making role at the OHA. Here are audio
clips from my interview with Hales and an earlier clip of Shibley https://soundcloud.com/joe-...

Wateryougonnado • 5 years ago

Action indeed. It's time to get involved. Here's the latest: http://southeastexaminer.co...

And then help us get the word out nationally about yet another Nestle debacle in Oregon:
http://www.bark-out.org/con...

InIntegrity • 5 years ago

Want to take action? Here is what you can do:

1) EDUCATE – It only takes a few minutes to learn about our local water system and how private corporations are exerting undue influence on politicians to
privatize/monopolize this system for enormous corporate gain.

A) READ THIS ARTICLE AND SHARE IT WITH EVERYONE YOU
KNOW:
http://truth-out.org/news/i...

B) WATCH THESE SHORT VIDEOS:
https://www.youtube.com/wat...
https://www.youtube.com/wat...
https://www.youtube.com/wat...

C) DEVELOP DEEPER RESOURCES ON THIS ISSUE:

• Concise coverage of the threats to open reservoirs:

http://www.mtna-landuse.blo...

• Critical examinations of the pseudoscientific claims advanced by City contractors to justify lobbying US EPA at rate payer expense for pro-industry modifications to drinking water regulations:
http://bullrunwaiver.org/wp...

• Detailed public records compendium on the contractual irregularities surrounding Portland's no-bid insider dealings:

http://www.friendsofreservo...

2) NETWORK – Share this info with your friends/family in ways that they will actually pay attention to.

A) DIRECT CONTACT – The absolute best way to support this movement is to tell your friends directly. Let them hear the concern in your voice. Let them see your eyes. Implore them to join you in this campaign.

B) E-MAIL – This is still the most effect electronic method of networking this info. People read e-mail from friends more than all their FB posts.

C) SOCIAL MEDIA – IMPORTANT: “LIKE” AND ‘SHARE” OUR POSTS! Make sure all your friends join the FB “Save Portland Drinking Water NOW” group.

D) GET ON OUR E-MAIL LIST – Join our Facebook page, and invite others to do the same! www.facebook.com/saveportla...

3) SPEAK OUT -Contact your public officials (and
their chief of staff, also listed below) demanding that the Mt Tabor Reservoirs
be kept functioning and that our water infrastructure should never be
privatized! Sample letters are at http://www.friendsofreservo...

MayorCharlie Hales
mayorcharliehales@portlandoregon.gov
Noah Siegel, noah.siegel@portlandoregon.gov

Commissioner Nick Fish
nick@portlandoregon.gov
Sonia Schamanski, sonia.schmanski@portlandoregon.gov
503-823-3589

Commissioner Amanda Fritz
amanda@portlandoregon.gov
Patti Howard, Patti.Howard@portlandoregon.gov
503-823-3008

Commissioner Steve Novick
novick@portlandoregon.gov
Chris Warner chris.warner@portlandoregon.gov

Commissioner Dan Saltzman
dan@portlandoregon.gov
Matt.Grumm@portlandoregon.gov
503-823-4151

InIntegrity • 5 years ago

A short video on what happens after privatization:

https://www.youtube.com/wat...

Brian_pdx • 5 years ago

As a person who has managed two water systems I can tell you the law cited is the Clean Water Act passed in about 1973. The law came to pass because of a bloom in LAKE MICHIGAN, a highly polluted body of water, that sadly killed people. It was poorly written and applies equally to pristine mountain lakes and reservoirs just the same as to highly polluted water sources like the aforementioned Lake Michigan. Basically the only way around it is to source ground water or institute grossly expensive treatment options or both. The truth of the matter is serious public managers can tell the feds to fuck off and simply closely monitor their systems. Done that more than once.

Carson Horton • 5 years ago

Cronyism and Portland city politics are like snot and buggers. One is almost never found without the other and as a result they are impossible to separate!

The good-old-boy network that winds its way from City Hall to the state capital in Salem and back through the board rooms of every private club in the city, is a combination of cast-offs from the state's elitist political power structure and career bureaucrats, many of whom have never worked outside the confines of Oregon's highly lucrative, over-bearing government institutions!

Anyone who knows anything about Oregon politics knows that the Mayor of Portland is the most powerful political office in the state. Not the Governor. Not the Attorney General but the Mayor of the state's largest city! Just ask Neil Goldschmidt or Vera Katz or Frank Ivancie or Terry Schrunk, to name a few of the more recent in a long line of self-serving political figures who have graced our fair city with their special form of "public service!"

And the reason it is the most powerful political office in the state is because all of the major political influence-peddlers in the state are from Portland and they all flex their muscle through the office of the Mayor!

Anyone who would like to get up to speed on Portland and its long, corrupt political history should read Phil Stanford's excellent book Portland Confidential. It's a quick read that can easily be digested in an evening or two, at which point it will all make perfect sense!

Katherin Kirkpatrick • 5 years ago

I would strongly anyone interested in learning
about the public record in this case to attend the hearing this Monday,
1/12, at 1:15 before the Historic Landmarks Commission, 1900 S.W. 4th
Avenue, Suite 2500A, reviewing the City of Portland's application to
decommission the Mt. Tabor reservoirs, and the documentary and oral
evidence submitted in opposition to the decommissioning.

AL M • 5 years ago

Being from Portland I am very interested in getting all the facts on this issue.
I've read through all the comments but keep coming back to the facts in the article.
Nothing in the comments dissuades me from thinking this essay is accurate and honest.

JustSayin • 5 years ago

The 'safety' issue came to a head under Mayor Potter, who along with the Mult. Co. Health Officer, Dr. Oxman, proposed a low cost alternative but the PWB & the consultants chose the expensive option which along with the unnecessary burial & UV plant, will have us $1B in debt with less and less to spend on repairing pipes etc. In his comments in the 3/2010 PURB meeting, Dr. Oxman said that they weren't dangerous & EPA had shown more problems with the buried ones, plus the science wasn't very strong. The PWB helped develop the UV technology along with the corp. partners and always planned on using it. Actually 'needing it' doesn't seem to be a consideration. The first PPP of the water system was under Mayor Katz in 2002 when they partnered with Carollo to create the first large scale UV Validation facility in the US on city property. Carollo became the #2 largest user and got a great price break. The public part of PPP's doesn't seem to get any press as it was never discussed or written about until a blogger exposed it years later. So, privatization has been on the PWB/City agenda for a long time and only recently started saying they weren't planning on it. With this agreement, in fact, they already have done it with part of the water system. While stating they wouldn't privatize, in a PWB report, Randy Leonard said he wanted a filtration plant, not UV, and they should consider 'DBO' (design/build/operate) which is a privatization term. So, they seem to say what people want to hear but do another.

htttp://www.friendsofreserv...

The Resolution No. 36297 As
Amended that I quoted from doesn't seem to be attached to it. It has a
longer URL but is easy to find.

Katherin Kirkpatrick • 5 years ago

Thanks for bringing up Carollo too. It's astounding, and hard to keep up with, how many facets there are to the corruption feeding on Portland's water.

Portland's leadership allowed Carollo to set up a national UV validation facility on public property, with a free NPDES discharge permit also supplied at public expense, allowing Carollo to discharge coliform bacteriophages into the Columbia River near Portland's (already radon-contaminated) backup drinking water supply.

http://bojack.org/2011/09/p...

http://www.carollo.com/site...
http://www.carollo.com/site...

drift2boat • 5 years ago

The facts are good except for the bit about where the kid peed. That error gives the looters entry.

Katherin Kirkpatrick • 5 years ago

Agreed. As the Portland Water Bureau vehemently asserts in its testimony before the Historic Landmarks Commission on the reservoirs' decommissioning, the reservoirs are never "full" but only filled to "maintenance levels." Meaning that even if the kid had managed to pee through the iron bars, a bladderful of wouldn't have been enough to cover the several dozen feet down the concrete slope that leads to the water's edge.

Not to mention that a bladderful of pee would be diluted to insignificance had it even managed to reach the enormous quantity of water that was in the reservoir.

The only real contamination in Portland's water system is in the biofilm-clogged underground delivery pipes and raw sewage spills near cracked drinking water conduits, because sewer repairs and routine conduit flushing have been neglected while funding and efforts are diverted to the open-reservoir (non)issue. And since these contamination sources don't support the City's story that the reservoirs should be covered, the public rarely hears about them.

http://portlandtribune.com/...
http://southeastexaminer.co...

chapdrum • 5 years ago

If something happens in one place, it will happen everywhere.
And: Follow the money; savvy investors know that water is going to become more valuable than oil (if it already isn't) .

Guest • 5 years ago

This article is pure fantasy. As a Portland journalist and activist heavily involved in water quality issues who has covered this topic for decades, I can tell you it is devoid of scientific fact or meaningful research and provides a distorted and false picture. The writer took the word of one special interst group without seeking corroboration or vetting them for prejudice. Far from being a reliable voice for the people, the loudest opponents of covering the resevoirs are wealthy, elite whites who want to preserve their views of the open resevoirs.

Fairly recently our evening TV news was filled with security camera footage of a drunk climbing over a small 'security' fence and urinating in one of the open resevoirs. The resevoir was shut down and the water dumped - wasted. It had to be refilled.

The resevoirs are considered a severe "single point of vulnerability and failure" in our water delivery system. Covering these resevoirs is essential to protect public safety.

Far from being a "pristine resource" the Bull Run Watershed is heavily polluted with toxic chemicals that get into the atmosphere from Portland vehicle and industrial emissions and then settle into the watershed. In addition, animals poop there, and die and decay. We have no water treatment facility, so the water is heavily chlorinated. We have old pipes (some pushing 100 years) which are filled with contaminants and crud. This system is huge, and as the chorinated water passes through the system it bonds with contaminants. Thius is what we treat.

Portland has a far more advanced and modern system for treating our sewage than we do our drinking water.

As an added factor, while not directly relevant to this story, we live below Mt. Hood, an active volcano (sister to Mt. St. Helens, which reupted in 1980, the ash plume visible from our home). I interviewed for a magazine article a volcanologist who specializes in Mt. Hood, visiting it weekly. He predicted a major eruption within 20 years, and said it could completely wipe out our water delivery system.

The only part this writer got right was the corruption and cronyism in Portland. This is one of the most corrupt cities in the US. I say this from personal observation and involvement spanning many decades. Unfortunate this writer did not stick to facts instead of fantasizing about fictions.

Save Our Water • 5 years ago

You miss the point: the EPA itself has acknowledged the faultiness of the science upon which it based the LT2 rule. Covered reservoirs are not definitively better in all cases. The EPA is expected to review and revise the LT2 rule by 2016. In the meantime, corporate cronyism has Portland's city hall racing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars before the rule is revised. Even more alarming is the way in which this plays along with the plan to privatize all public infrastructure, beginning with our water systems. Inform yourself: http://westcoastx.com/

xanthoptica • 5 years ago

Because you're tossing this link everywhere, I'll copy the quote from the report summary as well, in the interest of everyone being informed:

From the CH2M Hill report summary on that website: "A multi-state
effort like the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange adds value to the
national infrastructure debate as an important voice for
performance-based infrastructure. For the right projects, this approach
stretches taxpayer investments, keeps infrastructure in the public’s
hands, and engages private sector expertise and capital."

Of course this is a massaged message, but "keeps infrastructure in the
public's hands" is pretty unequivocal. In other words, CH2M Hill, in its
report to the WCX, does not foresee actually owning public
infrastructure under its preferred finance method. That doesn't mean
that we shouldn't scrutinize public-private partnerships carefully. It
does mean, however, that fears of actual privatization from the WCX are
nothing more than speculation at this point.

Save Our Water • 5 years ago

@xanthoptica:
1) $75,000 of Rockefeller Foundation funding was given to CH2M Hill to write that report, but only after the four CH2M Hill employees who served on the initial WCX advisory committee recused themselves from said committee. In other words, they were part and parcel of dreaming up the idea, then shifted from holding a political role to holding a capitalistic role once the project gained traction. This is a perfect example of cronyism, which is by definition the legal plunder of the public trust. If you read the full report, you will see that they have even implicitly proposed to change some laws to further legitimate their plunder.
2) They can say whatever they want about keeping infrastructure in the public hands; their "unequivocal" statement of such intentions is refuted by other rhetoric within that very same report. However, most damning is their promise of a 10-12% return on investment. These are not municipal bond rates. Their long-term plan is ownership, plain and simple.
3) There are ALREADY EXAMPLES of CH2M Hill taking over private ownership of the delivery of municipal services. We're not basing our conclusions on speculation, but on precedence! Sandy Springs, Georgia, Central, Louisiana... this is just the beginning. Wake up and smell the privatization!

InIntegrity • 5 years ago

On page 109 of the WCX report, CH2M Hill identifies the need to get laws changed to allow the financial investment aspect of this plan to move forward:

"The Exchange likely cannot engage in project delivery or I-banking practices on a multi-jurisdictional/ regional basis without legislative changes."

On page 70 in this paper they identify progress on this challenge: "In discussion with Sate Reps, preliminary thoughts on opportunities, for early-wins and long-term opportunities were identified"

Go to the website of this project and looked at it's founding
Board of Directors (http://westcoastx.com/about.... They work directly with the Governors of California, Oregon, Washington (and BC).

Note this interesting tidbit from page 13 in the WCX report: "Question: What is really meant by the term “exchange?” Response: It was purposely chosen because it is ambiguous."

Keep in mind, this intention to keep XCW "ambiguous" was issued by CH2M Hill, a company that just admitted to the Dept. of Justice that it committed ongoing and widespread criminal conduct at the Hanford Project (http://www.justice.gov/opa/....

Contracts for projects that threaten to reshape the foundation of our way of life should NOT be decided by lowest bid.

Contracts for projects that threaten to reshape the foundation of our way of life should NOT be designed in advance by the corporations that then get the contracts.

Projects of these sorts SHOULD be awarded to the companies that are most safe, trustworthy, in integrity and that bid realistically.

Projects of these sorts SHOULD be given careful consideration, with meaningful participation on the part of the public.

The WCX report is a glimpse behind the scenes of a well-funded, well-connected, very serious effort to manipulate the public trust for enormous private corporate gain at the expense of The People.

Guest • 5 years ago
Guest • 5 years ago

I don't respond to insults from anonymous trolls.

Guest • 5 years ago
Katherin Kirkpatrick • 5 years ago

I respectfully second the reader's concern. I've been attending public processes and collecting public documents on the Mt. Tabor reservoirs for over a decade, and I must say that my documentation validates the facts as presented by the author of this article.

In my years of document collection, I've seen the City come up with many dubious reasons for dumping reservoir water and/or issuing boil-water notices--from rumors of someone having heard someone say they saw a dog turd, to false-positive coliform tests collected using non-sterile techniques, etc. Meanwhile, the City has hidden very real problems with other parts of its municipal water system, such as biofilms that have accumulated in the underground pipe lines during years of neglect while effort has been diverted to pushing a reservoir-burial agenda. There have been so many truly positive coliform results at the City's SW Nevada court pump station--nowhere near an open reservoir--that the City has a variance from environmental regulators that essentially allows it to ignore them.

There has never been any scientific testimony to justify the EPA's cover-or-treat ("LT2") rule. On the contrary, the scientific testimony submitted to the EPA under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that open aeration is of vital importance to mitigating the threat of carcinogenic radon in drinking water, which would otherwise outgas into people's homes through such things as showers and dishwashers. It is only through corporate cronyism--e.g., a principal of global public-works engineering firm Montgomery Watson Harza simultaneously advising the EPA on radon protections AND on
whether to adopt industry-friendly reservoir rules--that EPA's action plan on radon protections was dropped in favor of letting industry have its way with massive country-wide reservoir burial projects.

Portland's water controversy is a complex subject, but the more you look at public records, the more you begin to understand that there is something very wrong going on here.

http://www.portlandwater.in...

Guest • 5 years ago
Guest • 5 years ago

Very first result that came up in search. http://www.oregonlive.com/p...

Enrique Woll Battistini • 5 years ago

Perhaps Public-Private Partnerships, particularly those that would substitute current public entities, should be revamped as entities subject to the same rules as public entities, but with regulations that enable profits subject to full compliance with service delivery at the contracted levels, stiff fines for non-compliance, and dissolution without penalties for the State when they prove to be unfeasible over a predetermined period of time. In the case of water works, for instance, close attention should be paid to the impending effects of climate change, whether anthropogenic or not.

WeAreMany • 5 years ago

Why do we need to generate profits with public resources like water systems? Do you even understand what profits are? They go to already wealthy investors. They provide a way for people who already have money to make more money while doing absolutely nothing but writing some checks. Profits are just additional money that is siphoned off to private investors. Profits are revenues ABOVE AND BEYOND OPERATIONS COSTS. In other words, instead of just paying for the cost to maintain the system (and obviously pay the people who do the actual work), we would be paying ADDITIONAL money so the investors can take their profit. This is why public systems tend to cost less. Those profits don't just magically appear. They come from a combination of higher prices and cutting back on safety and other costly, but important, measures.

Enrique Woll Battistini • 5 years ago

And who is "WeAreMany"? Your attitude is quite aggressive and your ideas about profits are, well, primitive. Sorry.

WeAreMany • 5 years ago

What exactly did I say that is incorrect? Or is your only argument here to attack the name that I comment under?

Guest • 5 years ago
Enrique Woll Battistini • 5 years ago

Then perhaps the situation would improve: Only the best companies would be interested...

Non-dualist • 5 years ago

Typical Neo-liberal economics, infiltrate the gov't with cronies, make the system disfunctional then give the job/utility/property/fill-in-the-blank to a private firm then get hired by said firms.

xanthoptica • 5 years ago

I had trouble not falling out of my chair at this quote: "In fact, Portland's unique reservoirs exemplify a wise-use resource plan, blending utility with natural preservation and public recreation." So a concrete-lined open pond is natural preservation? 'Cause it isn't habitat for anything. And public recreation? The public is absolutely banned from the reservoirs, with video surveillance and security to back it up. Perhaps the author is trying to talk about Mt. Tabor Park overall? News flash - it will still be there (and still a lovely park) whatever is done with the reservoirs, which will be bypassed as water storage (i.e. will have no function) in 2016.

Guest • 5 years ago

You nailed it, Xanthoptica. This article is nonsense, promoting the agenda of a small group of wealthy white elites who do not want their private views of the resevoirs spoiled 'just' to protect public safety. Remember the drunk who was videotaped peeing in the resevoir a while back? They had to shut it off and drain it. Very safe water source, that.

Guest • 5 years ago
xanthoptica • 5 years ago

But the issue at hand is specific to the reservoirs (nobody is talking about doing anything to the rest of the park, and, let's be frank, this whole story is fueled by a lot of folks who just plain like the reservoirs). If the park is the natural preservation and recreation, that would not be affected by converting the reservoirs to another use. Or, to put it another way, if natural preservation and recreation applies to the park overall, that is not threatened by converting the reservoirs to another use. Of course, that was in my original comment, but you seem to have conveniently ignored it. Perhaps you could read a bit more carefully.

Katherin Kirkpatrick • 5 years ago

"Nobody is talking about doing anything to the rest of the park."

Actually, if you attend the public meetings on this, people are indeed talking about the rest of the park.

First, the scope of the work that the City was proposing would have destroyed much of the urban forest in the Southwest corner of the park, with small-caliber replacement trees being placed anywhere in the City and not specifically dedicated to the park that had been damaged.

Secondly, and more importantly, the City has a long history of working behind the scenes to sell off parts of this public-owned property to private developers. The neighborhood association's land-use watchdogs stopped a back-room sale of a section of the park to Warner Pacific. And they have been testifying, rightly, that if the reservoirs are allowed to be taken off line and no longer serve a utility purpose, the City has reserved its right to unilaterally back out of agreements to maintain them, and can then demolish them as a public health hazard via a Type IV hearing, which under Portland's municipal code is not appealable. The City is then reserving its right to open up the land for whatever use it subsequently proposes, which I have personally heard City representatives describe as such things as skateboarding facilities and multi-use building development.

I would strongly encourage you to attend the public hearing before the Land Use Commission tomorrow, 1/12 at 1:15 pm, 1900 SW 4th, Suite 2500A.

Guest • 5 years ago

My sense is that this comment by xantho is deliberately focused on debunking the article by focusing on twisting of four words "blending utility with natural preservation", and then debunking the word "preservation" by creating a "straw man" arguement that the reservoir is preservation and the park is utility- clearly not the intent of the author. Comment rates four pinnochios, and a TOLL ALERT!
I would assume that this is a paid for political ad by CH2M Hill.

SO my dear TROLL, for the record, the PARK is "preservation" and the reservoir is "utility". I believe your comment is not only disingenuous, it typical troll argument meant to obfuscate the real issues. You are studiously avoiding and never addressing the revolving door corruption issues surrounding Glicker, and a billion dollar project that the taxpayers don't need, nor do you deal with the public federal record that CH2M Hill is a dangerously corrupt company and that someone who works for them actually invented the need for these covered reservoirs while working at the EPA.
This troll is slick, very slick. Change your false identity Troll, and tell us who you work for, mr slick, because foe me you are coming off like a highly paid shyster lobbyist for CH2M Hill.

xanthoptica • 5 years ago

In thinking about your post, it occurred to me that you and I would probably agree on a lot, Suki. Simple stuff, like what BS "corporate personhood" is, or the need to preserve net neutrality. More specifically, I agree with most folks here that Crypto is probably not a big concern for Portland's water supply. I also have no problem with the reservoirs on Tabor or in Washington Park if they are actually working as water storage.

However, we have to face reality. EPA simply won't let us continue with open reservoirs. The City joined NYC to appeal the LT2 rules all the way to the DC District Court, but lost. I don't know the details of the legal case, but in general I really wish the City had won. But we didn't, and so the City has contracted to build covered storage. Sucks, but there you go.

So now we have reservoirs that will be redundant in a year or so, and have to decide what to do with them. Where I disagree is that working people up about a "corporate takeover" is a helpful way to do that. I'd prefer to stick to reality, and when I see a "journalist" successfully use subtle association to convince people that a corporation is going to take over the City's water bureau (and she did - just look at the comments) I'm going to speak up and call BS. We should work together to solve the real problems rather than debate made-up ones.

Katherin Kirkpatrick • 5 years ago

I sympathize with those who grow weary of the way the word "corporation" is abused for political ends. However, as someone who's collected public documents and attended hearings on Portland's water controversy for over a decade, I can attest that in this case the words "corporate takeover" are probably justified.

The principals of Montgomery Watson and CH2M Hill have a well-documented history of insinuating themselves into the utility departments of major cities and thence abusing their positions to funnel revolving-door, over-budget, unnecessary, and sometimes outright harmful contract work to these crony interests. Google the stories about these entities' actions in Morro Bay, Los Osos, New Orleans, and East Cleveland to see what I mean.

I'm with you in wishing that the City had won in its past confrontation with the EPA over LT2, but as someone who has the documents from that case in my possession, I can tell you that the City of Portland did not try very hard. Also, a lot has changed since that case went down.

While the original EPA rule was based on flimsy, if any, scientific testimony, a great deal of scientific scrutiny has been applied to open reservoirs in the intervening years, leading the EPA to change its position on open reservoirs. (See Lisa Jackson's letter to Sen. Charles Schumer linked below.) The bulk of that data came from monitoring Portland's open-air water supply, which proved so safe that Portland received the only pre-treatment variance from LT2 of any municipality in the country. So it's rather ironic (some would say suspicious) that Portland is the only major open-reservoir city to still be plunging ahead with a rush deadline to decommission its open reservoirs while the other remaining open-reservoir cities in New York and New Jersey are being allowed to retain theirs based on Portland's good record.

http://www.opb.org/news/med...

xanthoptica • 5 years ago

Oh, good, the "corporate shill" argument. I guess somebody would be bone-headed enough to make it here...

FWIW, I'm a Portland resident who loves Mt. Tabor Park. Far from "obfuscating" I'm pointing out how utterly slanted this article is, that such an indefensible claim would show up. The park, of course, will still be there whatever happens with the reservoirs. Same for Washington Park.

When it comes to obfuscating the issue, I'll hand the prize to Victoria Collier (or more likely her editor) who put the words "Portland's Corporate Water Takeover" over an article with *literally* no evidence of anything beyond (possibly) lousy private contracting on a water storage project.

That you would call me a troll for pointing this out is pretty damn sad. Sorry if I don't just jump in step with the "everything is an evil corporate conspiracy" anthem.

Katherin Kirkpatrick • 5 years ago

I generally disagree with Victoria Collier on many issues, but as for this article I can personally attest that her claims of corporate cronyism contaminating Portland's water are backed up by public documents. I've spent years reviewing what's available to the general public, and I'm also working with other community advocates to put them all into a single easily navigable location.

Meanwhile, here's a good starter reading list:

US Department of Justice release on CH2M Hill's criminal conduct in Hanford cleanup. http://www.justice.gov/opa/...

CH2M Hill lets reservoir subcontractor dump chlorine into Johnson Creek; donates to anti-reform effort. http://mtna-landuse.blogspo...

No-bid CH2M Hill dealings land East Cleveland Mayor in prison. https://www.courtlistener.c...

New Orleans Inspector General action against MWH for Katrina-related corruption. http://www.nolaoig.org/uplo...

CH2M Hill implicated in same Katrina controversy. http://www.corpwatch.org/ar...

MWH insider no-bid dealings in Los Osos, California. http://www.newtimesslo.com/...

MWH insider no-bid dealings in Morro Bay, California. http://www.slocoastjournal....

MWH reservoir controversy in Seattle. http://seattletimes.com/htm...

Joe Glicker, a key player in Portland's water controversy. http://whoisjoeglicker.word...

Joe Glicker's harassment of Bull Run activist costs City of Portland $73,000. http://portlandtribune.com/...

City of Portland officials hide Carollo development from public. http://bojack.org/2011/09/p...

City of Portland gives Carollo free (publicly funded) permit to discharge toxins and biological waste into Columbia River. http://bojack.org/2011/09/g...

City of Portland officials harass KOIN-6 for exposing CH2M Hill's Powell Butte leaks. http://koin.com/2014/03/06/...

xanthoptica • 5 years ago

Corporate "cronyism," perhaps. I certainly wouldn't rule that out. But if you look at the vast majority of comments, the consensus is that Collier's "Corporate Takeover" = privatization of the water bureau (in fairness, probably because many didn't read the article in much detail). That is how everybody else is reading it, how Collier was trying to go with the story (given all the examples of privatization thrown in but not connected with Portland) and therefore it's de facto meaning, so I'll stick with my criticism, thanks.

Katherin Kirkpatrick • 5 years ago

If only the general public applied as much scrutiny to the BS that's happening with Portland's municipal water as commenters do to the word choices of those of us who write about the problem....

xanthoptica • 5 years ago

Wow, did any of you read beyond the headline? Where is the evidence that *anyone* is trying to privatize Portland's water system? Yes, a big engineering firm is being engaged to do a big project (building covered reservoirs on Powell Butte, and perhaps draining and converting the Mt. Tabor reservoirs to some other use) that the city is pursuing after years of "last chance" waivers from EPA on the surface water rules. That's just public contracting. It's not like the City has the staff or resources to actually complete that scale of project itself. What will happen on Mt. Tabor is not decided yet (http://www.oregonlive.com/p..., but water storage will not be part of the picture starting in 2016.

A lot of neighbors in the area just don't like the idea of draining the reservoirs - perhaps because they would likely become sports fields and more people would come to use the *public* Mt. Tabor Park. But don't be fooled - these reservoirs aren't in any way natural, or habitat (in fact, they are concrete-lined, with purposefully animal-unfriendly banks). They are historic in the same sense that a big water tower might be - a very functional piece of infrastructure, but nothing more. But privatizing a system that draws from the publicly-owned Bull Run Watershed and is prized by residents for its superb water quality? It would take a responsible journalist more than just "there's this consortium talking in general about public-private infrastructure partnerships in the West" to make that kind of claim. But hey, fear of corporations gets pageviews, I guess.

And yes, I live in SE Portland and use the park all the time. Draining the reservoirs? Well, we're already using Powell Butte for storage. What, we should leave this valuable public real estate as three big concrete ponds for looks?

Save Our Water • 5 years ago

Inform yourself: http://westcoastx.com/

xanthoptica • 5 years ago

From the CH2M Hill report summary on that website: "A multi-state effort like the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange adds value to the national infrastructure debate as an important voice for performance-based infrastructure. For the right projects, this approach stretches taxpayer investments, keeps infrastructure in the public’s hands, and engages private sector expertise and capital."

Of course this is a massaged message, but "keeps infrastructure in the public's hands" is pretty unequivocal. In other words, CH2M Hill, in its report to the WCX, does not foresee actually owning public infrastructure under its preferred finance method. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't scrutinize public-private partnerships carefully. It does mean, however, that fears of actual privatization from the WCX are nothing more than speculation at this point.

Katherin Kirkpatrick • 5 years ago

It's also fair to point out that just because the WCX website says its plan will keep infrastructure in the public's hands doesn't unequivocally mean that's what's going to happen.

Whether you call it "privatization," or "cronyism," or "monopoly," or
just plain "bad ideas," there's virtually nothing that the public should
be comfortable about here.

Once again, I would encourage anyone focusing on dislike of this particular article or its author to look beyond it to what's going on in Portland, and attend public meetings on the future of Portland's water.

Next one is tomorrow, 1/12, 1:15 pm, Historic Landmarks Commission, 1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 2500A.

Guest • 5 years ago

Spot on. This is the worst, most disingenuous and misleading article I have ever seen from truthout.

marysaunders • 5 years ago

Cost over-runs? Cracks in the new tank over by Powell with mobile-home parks and modest housing nearby? This spanking new tank had over a thousand leaks as soon as it was done. It is a straight-wall behemoth with posts everywhere to support the cover that keeps out full-spectrum sunlight. Cracks and crannies in dark storage. Can you show a credible source who thinks this is a good idea on top of a cinder cone in a seismically active place? Existing reservoirs have been through earth movement. I know. I've been here for over 30 years. Chlorine spills in Johnson Creek, not an upscale neighborhood? Water on the west side from covered storage turned away by suburban customers for not passing quality tests? Huge no-bid contracts passed by "emergency" right before holidays? Harassing a TV reporter for disclosing information she got from a request for public records, the city's own records? If you two do not know about these issues, your insistence that you are informed does not ring true. Water activists have recorded public testimony for years, documenting issues such as these. If you are informed about these issues, please commence with excuses and compare costs for projects in other places. I would also like to hear your comments about the 40% or so of our bills that are debt costs. Who holds the paper on the debt? Might they be interested in asset-stripping, by any chance? Has this every happened in the history of debt? Please, tell me more of your side of these stories.

Save Our Water • 5 years ago