Sources Say: Salem water crisis raises Portland filtration questions
The water quality crisis that hit Salem and surrounding communities last week raises questions about the filtration plant being planned by the Portland Water Bureau.
Both Salem and Portland get their water from a lake behind a reservoir, Detroit Lake for Salem and the Bull Run Lake for Portland, which also has an emergency backup water supply. Down south, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared a health emergency after algae-related toxins were found in the water. The European-style sand and gravel filtration plant that treats Salem's water there can have trouble with such contaminants.
Portland officials now are planning a filtration plant for Bull Run water after the cryptosporidium parasite was repeatedly found in it. Water bureau officials say the final design has not been decided, but one of the performance criteria for any future system is how the filtration technology handles algae.
Funding may never be known
We may never know who contributed the vast majority of the campaign support to Max Wall, the unsuccessful reform-minded candidate for Washington County district attorney.
The most recent campaign filings show Wall received a total of $825,597 in cash and in-kind contributions. Of that, $707,008 came from three out-of-state committees that apparently do not have to file contribution and spending reports.
Two of the committees are based in Washington, D.C. One is the Law & Justice PAC, which routed $674,962 to Wall. The Safety and Justice Action Fund contributed $3,546. The third committee that does not have to report its contributors is the New York-based Drug Policy Action, which gave $15,000.
The Washington, D.C., committees reportedly are supported by liberal billionaire George Soros. Despite being significantly outspent, Chief Deputy District Attorney Kevin Barton won the election by a 2-to-1 margin.
Gang violence up as summer approaches
In a disturbing trend, gang violence is continuing to increase in Portland ahead of the summer months, when it historically spikes.
According to the most recent police statistics, the Gang Enforcement Team investigated 10 incidents in May, the same number as in April. But the total number for the year was 51, compared to 43 at the same time in 2017.
The gang team was criticized by the City Auditor's Office in recent months for stopping a disproportionate percentage of African-Americans for traffic violations. It also was accused of maintaining an unofficial list of known and suspected gang members after promising to delete the official one, a description disputed by a representative of the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office.
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