Protect Portland’s Clean Water

Depave urges you to VOTE NO on the Portland Public Water District Initiative on the May 2014 ballot.


A diverse coalition of community groups is coming together to encourage Portlanders to vote NO on a May 2014 initiative to strip control of the water and environmental services from Portland City Council and give them to a new special district.

To learn more about this coalition and join the campaign, see the campaign website here.

stop the Bull Run takeover

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Please consider supporting the Stop the Bull Run Takeover Political Action Committee by donating!Your financial support of $5, $10, or more will make a huge impact on the campaign’s ability to combat this corporate-funded initiative. Donate here.

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Why vote NO?

We don’t need another layer of government. Accountability and transparency will decrease, not increase. The new 7-member board will be elected on 3-year terms, some during off-year elections. How many people know their library, utility, and conservation district commissioners?

It is risky and there is too much uncertainty. Some $15 billion in public assets – including control of the precious Bull Run watershed – will be transferred to the new special district. Are we ready to give away control of our public water to a faceless commission with no track record? The cost burden for Superfund cleanup of Portland Harbor could shift to the City’s general fund and some fear this will jeopardize the City’s municipal bond rating.

Your water and sewer rates may go up even more. Initiative backers want to reduce the water and sewer rates for large industrial customers and shift the cost burden onto small businesses and residential customers. Initiative backers have raised at least $155,000 in cash from big water users and polluters like Siltronic, Portland Bottling Company, and rental property managers.

The proposal is flawed and confusing. The initiative proposes new water district board member zones that exclude east Portland, disenfranchising about 20% of water-sewer customers. East Portlanders would not be able to vote on their new water district commissioners but would be subject to water and sewer rates set by the new board. Many individuals would be banned from election to the new board, including: anyone who has ever worked or volunteered with the City on water or environmental issue, individuals previously elected to the board, or anyone with a paid job!

Portlanders are proud of our clean water. These same initiative backers are suing the City and have attacked the City’s innovative clean water programs. They refuse to acknowledge that these programs are cost effective and sometimes cheaper than traditional water and sewer pipe systems. They continue to falsely allege that the City wants to give away its water system to private corporations. Portlander’s are proud of the City’s history of innovative watershed management and we can demand greater fiscal responsibility without this faulty proposed fix.

Groups Opposing the Water District Initiative

Audubon Society of Portland
Oregon Wild
East Portland Action Plan
League of Women Voters of Portland
Sierra Club
Oregon State Council for Retired Citizens
Willamette Riverkeeper
WaterWatch of Oregon
Lents Neighborhood Association
Climate Solutions
Portland Firefighters Association
Friends of Trees
Trust for Public Land
Northwest Environmental Advocates
Coalition for a Livable Future
Urban Greenspaces Institute
Oregon Environmental Council
Oregon League of Conservation Voters
Food and Water Watch
Friends of Gateway Green
Northwest Environmental Advocates
Zenger Farm
Oregon AFL-CIO
LIUNA (Laborers) Local 483
Northwest Oregon Labor Council
AFSCME Local 328
AFSCME Local 3336
AFSCME Local 88-Multnomah County
Onward Oregon
Professional & Technical Employees, Local 17, City of Portland Professional Employees Association
Oregon Consumer League
Hayden Island Livability Project
District Council of Trade Unions- City of Portland
AFSCME Local 3135
Sandy River Basin Watershed Council
AFSCME Local 189


Want to get involved? Email Ted

To learn more, see:

Portland Water/Sewer District Overview from the Audubon Society of Portland

The Intertwine Alliance Blog – Outside Voice – Don’t sign that petition!

Portland water, sewer spending would have new oversight model under 2014 ballot initiative

City water rate fight turns green

Who will represent east Portland in proposed utility district? Judge doesn’t know

KBOO Interview with Bob Salinger and Mike Houck