GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404
1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204
City bureaus encourage demonstrators to be good stewards
of one of Portland’s historic parks and the City’s drinking water.
Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) and the Portland Water Bureau expect a peaceful, unpermitted demonstration today, July 12, at the city’s historic Mt. Tabor Park, located at SE 60th Avenue and SE Salmon Street. The bureaus are aware that demonstrators plan to gather at 5:00 p.m.
Demonstrators are concerned about a federal mandate from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that requires the City of Portland to cover its drinking water reservoirs to protect against any contamination.
Since 2006, the City has repeatedly sought to delay or avoid the EPA’s Long-Term Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2) mandate, but a federal court and the Oregon Health Authority have consistently rejected these appeals. Faced with a lack of further legal options and with deadlines looming, the City is moving forward with compliance, which includes disconnecting the Mt. Tabor open-air reservoirs once new enclosed reservoirs at Powell Butte and Kelly Butte are completed. The deadline to disconnect the Mt. Tabor reservoirs is December 31, 2015. A June 2013 statement with more information on the City’s fight against LT2 can be found here.
“We welcome people who wish to assemble peacefully and exercise their first amendment rights,” stated Mayor Charlie Hales. “We ask that demonstrators who come to Mt. Tabor to express their views also respect the park and follow park rules, so that everyone can enjoy it safely.
“I want to be clear that the City’s primary responsibility must be to protect the safety of our drinking water. The water in Mt. Tabor’s open reservoirs goes directly to half of Portland’s households, and we will take all necessary steps to keep it safe.”
Portland Parks & Recreation is responsible for the protection and public enjoyment of our parks. The Parks Bureau and Portland police have reached out to organizers of the planned demonstration. While organizers have refused to secure a permit for the event, the demonstration is expected to be peaceful. Portland Parks & Recreation will be educating demonstrators on park rules and good stewardship of our public land and its vegetation. Mt. Tabor Park opens at 5:00 a.m. and closes at 12:00 a.m.
“Portland Parks & Recreation and the members of the City Council support free speech activities,” says Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “Those activities must be balanced with every Portlander’s right to access clean and safe parks in every neighborhood including Mt. Tabor.
“PP&R is the steward of these public lands and it is our responsibility to protect the park and its natural areas. I am hoping for a peaceful event where people exercise their right to free expression mindful of the need to maintain our parks and water resources for the benefit of all Portlanders. I ask that demonstrators respect the special day for the couples holding weddings in the park this weekend. I hope Mt. Tabor Park, with its historic reservoirs and magnificent views, will continue to be a great location for weddings and other events for many generations to come.”
PP&R asks all visitors to help us to be good stewards of the park by adhering to applicable rules including but not limited to:
Please adhere to park hours. No one shall be allowed in Mt. Tabor Park during the hours of park closure; the park will be closed from 12:01 a.m.(midnight) to 5:00 a.m. (City Code 20.12.210)
Please direct any questions about the reservoirs to Tim Hall, Public Information Manager, at email@example.com, or call 503-823-6926.
Please direct any park related questions to Mark Ross, Public Information Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.