Human right to water! Eco-system right to water!
Just the beginning for Jonah Majure, chief petitioner for an initiative campaign in Portland Oregon to create a unique water trust to govern and prevent the privatization of the city's water and water resources. As Jonah explains, the sole purpose of the trust would be creation of benefit for the beneficiaries, the cities residents. The trust would establish operating goals for the trust, including the use of the precautionary principle, transparency, no conflicts of interest and protection for whistle blowers. And the residents would not be dependent on someone else to enforce the trust; rather the residents would have the power themselves. (www.peopleswatertrust.org)
First broadcast on Sunday, April 20, 2014
Two efforts to protect the public's right to clean, safe, affordable water in Portland
After years of controversy regarding the management and future direction of the City of Portland's Bull Run water system, two efforts at reform have surfaced.
One of those efforts would, via the city initiative process, create a Portland Public Water District with an elected 7 member Water Board to govern both the city's water bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services. This effort (Portland Water Users Coalition) is sponsored by Floy Jones, founder of Friends of the Reservoirs, and other long time opponents of covering the reservoirs and installing filtration systems, and Kent Craford, former director of the Portland Water Users Coalition which includes many of the largest corporate water users, including Siltronics, Precision Castparts and Hilton Hotels. Read the Portland Public Water District initiative here.
The second effort started at an Occupy Mt Tabor event. Mt Tabor is the site of two of the Portland open air water reservoirs and activists were trying to call media attention to the ineffective city efforts to resist EPA mandates requiring the very expensive covering of our open water reservoirs. However, activists were suspicious of the Portland Water Users Coalition because of the presence of the big corporate water users coalition members and, with continued discussions, have proposed a Water Trust Initiative. This initiative would require that the water resources be operated in the interest of all water users, and provide citizens the right to sue to enforce those rights and fair treatment. Read the Water Trust initiative language here.
Information on both efforts is below including links to the text of both measures. Note that as of January 1, 2014, the initiative for forming a water board is gathering signatures while the Water Trust initiative has only been filed with the city auditor and awaits approval for signature gathering to begin.
Alliance for Democracy Endorses the Water Trust Initiative
At our March 10, 2014, The Alliance for Democracy voted to support the Water Trust Initiative. Please visit their website for more information. And support by signing their petition and contributing to their campaign.
Citizen's Water Board to manage Portland Water
Portland citizens have been engaged in a campaign opposing US EPA LT2 requirements designed, the EPA says, to prevent various water borne diseases. Opponents note that no one has ever been sickened from drinking Portland's pristine Bull Run system water and that EPA requirements were put in place to address a very different set of circumstances. The city efforts to avoid meeting the requirements have been less than required and, in October 2013, city officials said that they could do nothing more and would move forward with meeting the requirements.
Neighborhood, good government advocates and big water users have teamed up to propose an initiative which would remove control of the city water bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services from the city council and put those departments in the hands of an elected 7 member volunteer board; each member would be elected by districts rather than at-large.
Signatures are being gathered as of January 1, 2014 and sponsors expect more than enough to qualify for the May 2014 ballot.
From the campaign website:
Water rates have risen 160.8% since 2000. Help us curb City Hall abuses and reform Portland’s out-of-control water and sewer utilities!
More information is available on the initiative organizers website WaterReform.org, the Friends of the Reservoirs website or the Portlanders for Water Reform facebook page.
Two Views on a PUD for Portland
*Time for a Portland Public Water District, Op-ed by Floy Jones and Kent Craford
*Why We Oppose the Portland Water District Initiative
Op-Ed By Bob Sallinge
Published in SE Examiner, December 1, 2013
Portland Audubon Opposes Water District Initiative This article expresses reason to oppose this effort and includes a list of organizations opposing as well as a list of news and opinion articles regarding the issue.
Oregon Wild Opposes Misguided Portland Water Initiative Initiative will weaken accountability, transparency, and ability of Portland citizens to participate in critical decisions affecting Bull Run watershed.
Portland water, sewer spending would have new oversight model under 2014 ballot initiative Fresh off Portland's fluoride flop, activists and business leaders on Thursday announced a May 2014 ballot initiative to wrest oversight of water and sewer utilities from the Portland City Council and give it to an independently elected board.
Water Trust Initiative