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Council delays Mt. Tabor reservoir vote


PORTLAND TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO  - Activists want the City Council to reopen the debate on the future of the reservoirs in Mt. Tabor (above) and Washington Park.The City Council has delayed a final decision on disconnecting the open reservoirs in Mt. Tabor until July 15.

The council was scheduled to vote on a land use permit application by the Water Bureau to disconnect the reservoirs on Thursday. But the council postponed the hearing after a joint request from the bureau and the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association, which have been meeting to discuss the future of the reservoirs.

The two parties have been meeting to discuss conditions on the permit recommended by the city's Historic Landmarks Commission.

“We are pleased that the Water Bureau and Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association are close to an agreement to resolve our mutual appeals of the Historic Landmark Commission decision. We look forward to returning to Council on July 15 for a decision,” says Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff.

The council did unanimously vote to demolish the open reservoirs and a support building at Washington Park, however.

The Water Bureau is responsible for providing Portlanders with safe, reliable drinking water and stewardship of natural resources. We appreciate the Portland City Council’s thoughtful consideration of our application. Council’s decision to approve is a step in the process that will give us the legal authority we need to decommission the open reservoirs at Washington Park, which is a step toward complying with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The new reservoirs will make our system more reliable, resilient and secure. Following a robust public involvement process, the design presented to Council is supported by the neighbors of Washington Park," says Shaff.

The council says both decisions are driven by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules. Community activists, including many Mt. Tabor area residents, oppose the decisions, however, and are urging the council to find alternatives.

A previous Portland Tribune story can be found at portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/264507-137035-council-to-decide-fate-of-mount-tabor-reservoirs-on-thursday.