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Sources Say: Petition drive rankles Hales

Mayor Charlie Hales called representatives of the Portland Water Users Coalition into his office last Tuesday after the Tribune reported their director, Kent Craford, was working on an initiative petition to take away control of the Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services from the City Council. Hales criticized the idea at the meeting, which also was attended by Commissioner Nick Fish, who now is in charge of both bureaus. Several of the coalition’s representatives said they were unaware of the proposal.

That’s not surprising, however, since Craford was speaking on behalf of another group, Citizens for Water Accountability, Trust and Reform. It only includes a couple members of the PWUC, most notably Portland Bottling and Siltronic, which supports the idea of the petition. WATR also includes Floy Jones, co-founder of Friends of the Reservoirs.

More information on the proposal and its supporters should be released within a few weeks. It’s likely that a new organization will be formed to conduct the petition drive that could put the measure on the May 2014 ballot.

Money can’t buy everything

The most recent campaign filings show that pro-fluoride forces outraised their opponents by a margin of nearly $960,000 to $294,000 — and still lost the Ballot Measure 26-151 fight by a ratio of 3 to 2.

Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland now reports raising nearly $780,000 in cash and just over $160,000 in in-kind contributions to support the measure to fluoridate Portland’s water. Late filings show the committee received a little more than $101,000 in campaign services from Upstream Public Health, the advocacy organization that lobbied the City Council in support of the measure. It also spent $15,000 on Tallfir LLC, the consulting firm owned by Hillsboro state Rep. Ben Unger. The committee reports still having just over $72,000 in the bank.

Clean Water Portland, which opposed the measure, reports raising almost $229,000 in cash and around $65,000 in in-kind contributions. Late filings show the committee paid just over $5,600 to an Oklahoma company for polling. It has nearly $12,000 in the bank.

What, me worry?

The FBI has established a public corruption hot line with a Portland area code, a Portland-related email address, and a convicted former Portland official as an example of a corrupt official.

The number is 503-460-8585, the email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and former Portland parking manager Ellis McCoy is cited as a corrupt official on an FBI website included in the announcement.

But FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele says that doesn’t mean the FBI is targeting Portland officials for investigation. According to Steele, the Portland Division of the FBI is responsible for all of Oregon, so that is why the phone number is local and the website includes the name Portland. And the website lists a corrupt former Salem official, too.

On the other hand, asked if the FBI is investigating any Portland officials for corruption, Steele replied, “I couldn’t tell you if we were.”