By Midge Pierce
Stephanie Stewart, Land Use co-chair for the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association, summarized the history and current status of reservoir issues. She began by urging residents to recognize rhetoric coming from city officials is intended to get those opposing decommissioning to give up.
“There are still viable options that the City absolutely will not bother to work on if they think they can get away with just moving forward with destruction,” Stewart said in a recent blog.
She told the meeting that discussing what goes on top of the reservoirs after they are closed would be a strategic mistake, since there may still be opportunity to resubmit effective documentation to keep the reservoirs open. “There are plenty of openings to try again,” she said. She also warned that resubmission should not be delayed since land use paperwork for disconnecting the reservoirs will be filed in the next few weeks. Past ideas have included filling the reservoirs in with costly reflecting pools or marshes if they are closed.
Discussion ensued about breaches of citizen trust by city officials. Security cameras that the neighborhood was instrumental in obtaining are being ignored, resulting in graffiti and a look of abandonment at the lower reservoirs.
Efforts underway by a variety of groups include:
Legal document preparation to vote on whether to put water into public trust.
Injunctions being drawn up to stop any further destruction of existing reservoirs. (The empty concrete basins need water or they will deteriorate.)
Petitions circulating to put Public Utility District on spring ballot. Floy Jones emphasized that a PUD would codify that Bull Run not be privatized.
The MTNA adopted a resolution calling on Portland Public Schools to “bargain in a meaningful way” with the Portland Association of Teachers. PAT representatives told the MTNA that PPS is seeking to shortcut contract negotiations and impose their own bargaining proposal on the teachers.
The next meeting is November 20 at 7 pm in the basement of the Mt/ Tabor Presbyterian Church at SE 54th Ave. and Belmont St.