By Kate Mitchell
The fate of the three open Mt. Tabor reservoirs continued to be Topic A at our July meeting.
Dawn Smallman spoke about the protests around the reservoirs that occurred at Mt. Tabor Park Friday, July 12 through Monday, July 15. Protesters were largely neighborhood residents, including many families, and other concerned citizens who want to keep the open reservoirs. There were four arrests on Monday of individuals who had not participated in the protest before that point. A lot of media attention was raised around the subject. Dawn felt that a lot of awareness was raised by the drastic effect replacing the reservoirs would have on our water bills.
Dawn said the city has set its own schedule for turning off the reservoirs, without any public involvement. The federal LT2 law ordering the reservoirs be covered or closed is scheduled to be reviewed in 2016. The City could ask the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) that the dates be reordered until after the review. The MTNA will ask the city, in a letter, city to change the schedule set by the OHA
Floy Jones spoke about a discussion involving reservoirs backers and Senator Jeff Merkley’s office about possible solutions. Floy also previewed a press conference scheduled for the next day to drum up support for a Portland Public Utility District. This agency would remove control of managing the water utility from the City Council and elect a board to manage the water utility, including rate setting. More info at www.friendsofreservoirs.org.
Scott Fernandez reported that fines for not following the set schedule for decommissioning the reservoirs would be approximately $37,000 a day. Floy Jones countered the cost for the buried reservoirs and the treatment plant would be approximately $300,million. Scott, who has an MS degree in Microbiology and Drinking Water Chemistry, said he is writing a paper to submit to the federal Environmental Protection Agency about the safety of our open reservoirs.
In another Mt. Tabor Park development, Bing Wong reported that the Visitors Center created by the Friends of Mt. Tabor Park was expected to log its 10,000th visitor in September.
The next meeting will be Wednesday, August 21, 7 pm, at Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church at SE 54th and Belmont, with a social time starting 6:50 pm
For more information go to www.mttaborpdx.org.