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Reservoir plans churn with discord

Portland's water bureau plans to spend $75 million covering the city's five open reservoirs at Mount Tabor and Washington parks.

The reason: Portland is one of the few cities in the nation with drinking water sources that are exposed to both incidental and deliberate contamination.

But not all of Portland thinks burying the reservoirs is a good idea. A new neighborhood group, Friends of the Reservoirs, is fighting the plan, saying the decision was made last spring behind closed doors without input from citizens who treasure the historic reservoirs and the parks they embellish.

Should the city protect its drinking water by replacing these historic structures with underground water storage tanks? Or should it explore other options?

Is it too late to resolve the differences between the neighbors and City Hall?

And is it possible to hold a worthwhile 'public process' after the major decision to bury the reservoirs has been made?

City Commissioner Dan Saltzman and Mount Tabor resident Tim Raphael offer their views in the following essays.