Deep Questions Arise Over Portland’s Corporate Water Takeover
By Victoria Collier
Posted January 9, 2015
A simmering water war is about to come to a boil over the fate of historic, well-loved public reservoirs in Portland, Oregon. At the heart of the controversy is a breakdown in public trust that reflects the dangers of corporate-led water privatization schemes in the United States and around the world.
In an emotionally charged public meeting on November 18, 2014, Portland residents bombarded two of their city commissioners with questions about what they believe is a cronyism-driven plan to kill the elegant, gravity-fed, open water reservoir system that has reliably served their city safe, clean drinking water for more than 100 years.
Most troubling are charges of decades of revolving-door cronyism surrounding Joe Glicker, a vice president of CH2M Hill, the company awarded the contracts to build the new covered reservoirs for Portland. Not only was Glicker a former chief engineer of the Portland Water Bureau (PWB), he also worked as a core consultant with the EPA to write the very LT2 rules that now require these massive “emergency” water infrastructure projects. It’s a conflict of interest that has local water rights advocates’ heads spinning and steaming all at once. More…