Water Bureau encourages public input with advisory groups
With its proposed filtration plant still in the preliminary planning phases, Portland Water Bureau is coordinating site advisory groups to help provide public input on the project.
The plant is tentatively set to be on Carpenter Lane in eastern Multnomah County, and cost around $850 million. The project is said to be a high priority for the Portland Water Bureau after a mandate from Oregon Health Authority and multiple incidents of detection of cryptosporidium, a potentially deadly organism that was first found in the Bull Run watershed in 2016.
Within the last year, Boring residents have voiced several concerns surrounding the plant and its location in their backyard. Concerns include effects on neighboring property values, possible hazardous situations caused by the transport of chemicals in the area, effects on quality of life ("peaceful rural living") and others.
The Bureau's new advisory groups are an attempt to keep citizens affected by the project not only in the loop but a part of the process.
"We realize this is a commitment," Senior Communications Specialist Bonita Oswald said of the advisory groups. "We want to keep people involved."
So far, the group consists of 12 neighbors of the site and four organizations/stakeholders.
There was an orientation for the group on Thursday, Oct. 10, at Sandy High School.
"People are definitely bringing up some of the same issues," Oswald said. "Their input is really important to how we go about designing this project. If we can build this facility with the least amount of impact to the community around (it), we want to do that."
Meetings are from 6-8 p.m., the second Thursday of each month (excluding November and December 2019 and June 2020), and scheduled to take place through October 2020.
Applicants will be reviewed by the existing group. "We really want the advisory to have ownership over who's in that group," Oswald said. "I think the group has had some really good questions. That's why we feel it's important to get neighbors involved now. We want their input to have influence on the design."
"I know we're in a difficult phase right now, but we're trying to keep our eye on the goal that we're working to provide safe drinking water to the next generation," added Public Information Officer Jaymee Cuti.
For more information about the site advisory groups or upcoming meetings and events related to the plant, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/water/article/743680#Oct10 or www.portlandoregon.gov/water/39678.
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