Leonard defends Loos, PWB spending

Former Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard in an undated photo (Courtesy to KOIN 6 News)
Former Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard in an undated photo (Courtesy to KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Former Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard, who oversaw the Portland Water and Sewer Bureaus for years, told KOIN 6 News Wednesday everything done during his tenure was assumed to be legal.

This comes one day after a judge ruled the city owes $1 million after a lawsuit called into question 32 expenditures by the water and sewer bureau on political campaigns.

The ruling ordered the city to repay the money spent on the public bathrooms and political campaigns

Leonard, who was in Ashland, spoke with KOIN 6 News by email about how the bureaus worked during the time frame of the lawsuit.

“I may not have been alone making the decision on the Loos, for an example, but it is something I did and do believe in strongly,” Leonard wrote. “People downtown need a place to relieve themselves and I am happy they can now do so in dignity.”

The report by the Office of the City Attorney said money was also spent on the Bull Run bus tour ($120,000 each year); domestic and international trips for commissioners, water bureau staff and consultants ($430,000 total between 2008-11); $20,000 to the Wolf Creek Science Camp; and $12,000 to park concerts during that time.

Portlanders who spoke with KOIN 6 News want money spent on fixing aging infrastructure.

“I remember when the winter storm hit we had water main breaks all over the place,” said ratepayer Tony Atkins. “To see that on the news and then to learn money could have been going to replace that infrastructure but going to something else it’s a little frustrating.”

Another ratepayer, Robert Kerseg, said, “I think it’s a little ridiculous. Our rates are really high for water and sewer and it’s obvious mismanagement of funds.”

Leonard wrote he didn’t fund all these things by himself.

“Everything we did,” Leonard wrote, “was of course assumed to be legal.”

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