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Submitted by info on Mon, 05/05/2014 - 10:08
by Dan Meek
This is also posted at http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/05/portland_public_water_district_8.html.
I just received a very misleading big postcard from the "yes" campaign on this measure. Nearly every statement in the postcard has already been refuted in my op-ed at http://tinyurl.com/meek-oped-water or is otherwise untrue or misleading.
The postcard shows a desert and says "Phoenix has lower water rates than Portland." First, a comparison of "water rates" alone leaves out the elements that comprise most of the "water" bills, which are charges for sewer and stormwater disposal. Second, there are many cities with lower water rates than Portland and many cities with higher water + disposal rates, including just on the west coast (for typical residential usage levels): Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, and Oakland. See Black & Veatch, 50 Largest Cities Water/Wastewater Rate Survey (2012/2013).
But if you want to look at just water rates, the same survey shows that Portland has lower commercial water rates than even Phoenix, whether the customer is using 100,000 gallons or 10 million gallons per month.
The postcard claims that Portland "water rates have risen 161% since 2000." There is no source cited for this, and I can locate nothing that supports it apart from a USA Today article in September 2012, which also states that water rates during that period have risen in San Francisco by 211% and San Diego by 141%. The article itself states: "Local water costs vary widely because of geography, climate, population, a water company's borrowing costs and other factors. That makes it virtually impossible to compare one city's water costs to another's."
Submitted by info on Wed, 03/26/2014 - 01:39
NOTE: Thanks to the determined opposition of the Oregon Progressive Party, this measure was defeated on May 20, 2014, by a vote of 71-29%.