What should be done with Mt. Tabor reservoir?

First of two public meetings to be held Tuesday evening

Mt. Tabor Reservoir in Portland, Nov. 18, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Mt. Tabor Reservoir in Portland, Nov. 18, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — The first of two public meetings to help determine what to do with the Mt. Tabor reservoirs will be held Tuesday night.

Some residents claimed city officials were not listening to residents at the meeting, attended by Portland city commissioners Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz.

Tuesday’s meeting described possible future uses for the reservoirs now that the Powell Butte and Kelly Butte reservoirs are built.

The public can propose ideas that will be taken into consideration by the commissioners. At the next meeting, an announcement on which option was chosen will be made.

Fritz and Fish said they are considering three options but they are open to other ideas.

In Option 1, water would be kept in the reservoir at a cost of about $90,000 a year
In Option 2, the water would be drained and the reservoir would be left empty. There is no estimate on the maintenance cost for this option at this time.
In Option 3, water would be kept in the reservoir, improvements would be made to the park and a plan to come up with $40 million to do this would need to be found and agreed upon.

Three concepts for what to do with Mt. Tabor Reservoir, provided by the City of Portland, Nov. 18, 2014
Three concepts for what to do with Mt. Tabor Reservoir, provided by the City of Portland, Nov. 18, 2014

“The federal government has mandated that we disconnect our reservoirs and Portland and every city in the country has had to grapple with this,” Fish told KOIN 6 News on Tuesday. “Tonight begins our process of asking what happens to the reservoirs once they are no longer functioning as reservoirs. This is a very important question and needs to be completely discussed with the community.”

The commissioners said there is no evidence the federal government is backtracking on the mandate to disconnect the reservoirs by the end of 2015.

Eduardo Herrera, who lives in the Mt. Tabor neighborhood, said he goes there about three times a week.

“I love it. It’s just one of the best places in Portland,” he said. “I think it’s really said if they take the water away.”

Residents April and David Truhlar agree.

“I would think leave the water in. I’m sure there are geese and birds that use it,” April Truhlar said, suggestin “ice skating in winter” as a possibility.

Fish said he understands the connection the reservoirs have “to a different time, a different place, a different century.”

If the community decides to keep the reservoirs as historic structures and have the city make the appropriate investments, “that is something Commissioner Fritz and I could support,” Fish said.

City leaders held a public forum Tuesday night to get input on what to do with the reservoirs once they’re off line.

Resident Scott Fernandez complained the city was not listening to residents.

The next meeting on December 10 will also be held at McGuire Auditorium.

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