The board of the Citizens' Utility Board has voted to remain neutral in the fight over the measure to create a Portland Public Water District on the May 20 Primary Election ballot.

Instead, the ratepayer advocacy organization will post answers to questions about how the measure might affect ratepayers on its website at

"CUB's best role is to help ratepayers separate fact from fiction," says Janice Thompson, who was hired to represent Portland water and sewer ratepayers after the City Council voted to contract with CUB for additional oversight of the two utility bureaus.

Questions being researched and answered by CUB include how creating a new, independently-elected water and sewer district might affect rates and the city's bond ratings.

CUB official Jeff Bissonnette says there is currently a high level of concerns over Portland's water and sewer rates, but that voter need to figure out how to assess Measure 26-156 and the other reform proposals Mayor Charles Hales has promised the council will consider if it is defeated.

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