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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

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Portland Observer: How Self Enhancement, Inc. and the Portland Water Bureau Assist Low Income Customers

This story was reported by The Portland Observer. The full article can be read here.


Representatives from Portland Water Bureau and Self Enhancement, Inc. are on a mission to let economically struggling families know about the financial assistance options the city utility offers, which have been increased this past year.

The Water Bureau has expanded discounts for qualifying low income households and those in temporary financial crisis, opened a relocated and more transportation-friendly office, and established community partnerships with culturally specific groups, like Self Enhancement Inc., the non-profit serving the African American community of Portland.

All those actions spelled good news for Iva, a senior citizen who was living off of a fixed social security income when health issues brought her in and out of the hospital for a six week stretch. Her water bills fell behind and she accrued late fees, unable to do much else other than focus on her health.

Thanks to Water Bureau’s utility crisis voucher—which recently increased from $150 to $500—Iva was able to get back on top of her payments after she got well.