Dear Editor,

 

It’s Cascadia’s Fault!

There are a multitude of reasons to maintain the open storage reservoirs of the Portland Water System many, of which, have already been raised in this publication and others.

There is a very critical issue that hasn’t been given much consideration. In the event of any emergency that would interrupt electrical service, any city water services dependent upon water pumps would cease. Portland is one of the few cities that is blessed with a Gravity Fed Reservoir System. This is not a trivial issue!

The Cascadia Fault is primed to deliver a major earthquake to this city in the foreseeable future. Local governments have been tasked with the daunting necessity of designing an adequate Emergency Preparedness Plan which includes Multnomah County, Metro, and the City of Portland.

It was my understanding the critical role that Portland’s Gravity Fed Reservoirs would play in a major emergency would have been a part of the discussions during inter-agency meetings on emergency preparedness over the years. Yet, there hasn’t been a murmur from any of our local or regional governments nor the City Fire Department.

The removal of a major Gravity Fed Water System already in place and paid for, when our present understanding of its importance to the safety and welfare of our citizens, is extremely shortsighted if not negligent. The reservoir system could be maintained for many years to come, at a fraction of the cost to destroying it.

The silence of our local government is difficult to fathom. We are faced with a rather unpleasant conclusion: they have either discussed this critical issue and chosen to be silent about it or they have failed to realize its importance to the city.

Time is quickly running out. Isn’t there anyone involved in emergency preparedness, in this city, willing to defend this very valuable community resource?

 

Glenn Stockton is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Science Engineering and Public Policy.