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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

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Portland Announces Utility Oversight Blue Ribbon Commission

June 26, 2014

Today Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Nick Fish announced the formation of a twelve member Utility Oversight Blue Ribbon Commission

The creation of the Commission keeps a pledge they made to review the oversight of the Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services.

Commission members represent a variety of technical and management disciplines including public and private utilities, engineering, communications, environmental science, and organizational development. The panel includes a current wholesale water customer, and a representative of the independent Citizens’ Utility Board.

The Commission will convene in July and will present recommendations to the Portland City Council in a Work Session to be held in November.  All meetings will be open to the public.  The public will be invited to testify at two Commission meetings. The City has contracted with community engagement and planning firm, Cogan Owens Cogan, to facilitate the meetings and assist the Commission in writing its final report.

“Mayor Hales and I pledged to appoint a Blue Ribbon Commission to consider a number of reforms to the oversight of our public utilities, provided voters rejected the proposed Water District,” said Commissioner Fish.  “I am gratified that such a distinguished panel of experts has volunteered to dig deep into how the City does oversight and rate-making.”

“Reaching out to this committee and seeking their advice makes sense. We don’t want to pretend that we have all the answers. Often, third-parties see these issues better than we do. We look forward to their recommendations,” said Mayor Hales.

Commission Charge

The Portland City Council directs that an independent Commission convene from July to November 2014, to analyze potential reforms of the oversight and accountability of the Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services, and then report to the City Council.  The Commission will focus on streamlining communications and transparency in the rate-making process.

Follow the BRC process and view the Commission Roster online:

A utility panel that can change things for the better
The Oregonian Editorial Board


Water and sewer oversight commission named
Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune


Dwight Holton will chair utility reform commission
Aaron Mesh in the Willamette Week


Mayor Charlie Hales, Commissioner Nick Fish name 'Blue Ribbon Commission' members, tab Dwight Holton chair
Andrew Theen in The Oregonian


You were promised a Blue Ribbon Commission on Water/Sewer rates. Here you go.
Dirk Vanderhart in the Portland Mercury