WaterWatch of Oregon’s Statement Opposing Measure 26-156

For Immediate Release
April 1, 2014

WaterWatch of Oregon’s Statement Opposing Measure 26-156

As an organization that has worked since 1985 to protect and restore flows in Oregon’s rivers to sustain the native fish, wildlife, and people who depend on healthy rivers, WaterWatch of Oregon strongly opposes Measure 26-156.

Measure 26-156 would result in the elimination of valuable City of Portland programs that protect our local waters and benefit local fish and wildlife. Protecting and restoring our local waterways benefits all Portland residents, and we shouldn’t be gutting these important programs.

The initiative is an effort by large corporations – including large industrial water users – to dictate the management of Portland’s public water system. We shouldn’t allow this. Many of the corporations backing Measure 26-156 have liability for polluting Portland Harbor. These corporations could use the new water Commission created by this initiative to unfairly push the costs for harbor cleanup onto Portland taxpayers.

Measure 26-156 bans individuals with experience in local water management issues from serving on the new water Commission. Language in the initiative expressly disqualifies people from serving on the Commission who have worked for, or are under contract with, Portland’s Water Bureau. Preventing people with knowledge of our water system from serving on the Commission is counterproductive and makes no sense.

WaterWatch urges Portland voters to consider these points when making their decision for the May 20, 2014 ballot, and to vote “no” on Measure 26-156.