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OverHeard

Excerpts from a March 12 presentation at the City Club of Portland about the future of Portland General Electric:

'The Oregon Electric story is really pretty simple: Three old guys with deep Oregon roots are invited by a pre-eminent national investment firm to bring PGE home. Home out of the Enron bankruptcy. Out of the Houston razzle-dazzle. Out of the tax diversion. Out of the criminal price-rigging that has wreaked havoc of the Northwest power markets and many, many, many Northwest industries. But to bring PGE back to its roots.'

'I want the 'old' PGE back. The one before Trojan. The one before Enron. The one before they were on the for-sale block four times in eight years Ñ energy spent wooing suitors rather than focusing on customers. PGE is not a trinket to be offered at auction on the Internet. It's a treasured community asset critical to our well-being in our homes, our jobs and our schools.'

Ñ Tom Walsh, who would be a general partner in the Oregon Electric Utility Company if a proposed purchase of Portland General Electric by the Texas Pacific Group investment firm is approved

'Texas Pacific's business strategy is to purchase the stock through its intermediary, Oregon Electric, cut costs, improve its image and market value and sell PGE in five to seven years. They have no incentive to lower rates or make major investments in the utility. This is how turnaround companies make money for their investors. They cut costs and raise rates.'

'Look at this from another angle: Can you imagine what the response would be if the City of Portland announced tomorrow that we were selling the Bull Run Water System to Texas Pacific?'

Ñ Commissioner Erik Sten