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The City Council will consider raising water rates 7.8% and sewer and stormwater rates 3.15%.

COURTESY CITY OF PORTLAND - The Seal of the City of Portland.The City Council is set to raise water, sewer and stormwater rates for Portland customers on Wednesday.

The two ordinances are scheduled to be considered at 2 p.m. on May 19.

If the Portland Water Bureau ordinance is approved, rates will increase 7.8% The typical residential water customer will pay $48.39 a month beginning on July 1. The medium commercial customer will pay $657.61 a month.

According to the accompanying Impact Statement, "The water utility rates are designed to generate revenue to cover the cost of providing water. The costs are determined by the budget which was reviewed by the Portland Utility Board (PUB), an 11-member citizen body created to strengthen oversight functions for the City's water, sewer and stormwater services."

The increase will be paid by residential and business customers in the city and by wholesale customers outside Portland, including other cities and water districts. The most controversial project being undertaken by the water bureau is the planning and construction of a large filtration plant to remove contaminants from water in the Bull Run Watershed, the primary source of its water.

The cost of the plant is currently estimated at between $820 million and $1.2 billion. It is opposed by many residents in and around Boring, which is near where it will be built. The City of Gresham is creating a new groundwater supply so that it can stop buying Bull Run water because of the additional rate increases that will be required to complete it by 2026.

A Pamplin Media Group story on the Gresham project can be found here.

If the Bureau of Environmental Services ordinance is approved, the typical single-family residential monthly sewer and stormwater bill will increase by 3.15%, or $2.45.

According to the accompanying Impact Statement, "The proposed rate ordinance will enable the Bureau to continue collecting and treating wastewater from residences and businesses; managing stormwater to prevent erosion, flooding and water quality problems; operating the combined sewer overflow (CSO) system to prevent sewage overflows into the Willamette River and Columbia Slough; and repairing and replacing inadequate public sewer lines that cause sewage overflows and basement backups."

The ordinances and Impact Statements can be found on the city's website here.


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