Think you pay too much for water? Kent Craford sure does
By Ben Jacklet
Business Journal staff writer
Kent Craford is pushing for the creation of a People's Utility District to oversee Portland water rates.
Longtime water and sewer rate critic Kent Craford is plotting to wrestle Portland's "out of control" water and sewer rates away from City Hall by establishing an independent, third-party People's Utility District.
Craford, the former CEO of Seaport Airlines and current president of Alaska Seaplane Service, has served as director of the Portland Water Users Coalition since 2002. The coalition represents Portland businesses that use large volumes of water, such as Siltronic, Precision Castparts and Hilton Hotels.
Craford says that Portland's combined water and sewer rates are among the highest in the nation. "By any national benchmark our rates are out of control."
Coalition member Dan Bourbonais, Portland general manager for the global laundry business ALSCO, says water and sewer rates are higher in Portland than in any of his company's 71 other facilities in North America. "That includes Phoenix and LA," he says. "We used to have cheap water when I first came to Portland in 1982... It's just gotten out of hand."
Portland residents and businesses pay quarterly combined water and sewer bills. Two separate city agencies, the Portland Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services, are funded by the proceeds, as are various city projects that may or may not have anything to do with water and sewer.
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