Fluoride Action Network

Clean Water Portland might not attempt second fluoride vote

Source: The Oregonian | August 15th, 2013 | By Brad Schmidt
Location: United States, Oregon

The group that derailed Portland’s effort to fluoridate drinking water still hasn’t decided what to do in 2014 — and apparently may choose to drop its plan to ban fluoride in the future.

Clean Water Portland collected enough signatures to block the Portland City Council’s approval of fluoride and force the issue onto the ballot in May, when voters handily shot it down.

At the time, Kimberly Kaminski, the group’s chairwoman, frequently used a “Genie in a Bottle” analogy: collecting signatures to block the City Council’s approval — known as a referendum — was like forcing the genie back into the bottle, while a separate signature-gathering effort asking voters to prevent fluoride in the future — known as an initiative — was like putting a cork in the bottle.

Clean Water Portland filed paperwork for the latter effort one year ago but still hasn’t started collecting signatures. And now, it seems, the group might not even bother.

“The effort was so successful we don’t think it’s necessary,” Kaminski said Thursday, while still cautioning, “we haven’t made a final decision.”

“Essentially, we buried it and killed it,” she added. “I think that the message speaks for itself.”

Clean Water Portland has become a coveted political force as the May 2014 election inches nearer. A group led by business lobbyist/ratepayer advocate Kent Craford wants to strip utility oversight from the City Council and create an independent board to oversee Portland’s Water and Environmental Services bureaus.

Clean Water Portland has been wooed by Craford and opponents of his plan, including the Audubon Society of Portland.

As with the fluoride effort, Clean Water Portland is still evaluating what, if anything, it’ll do.

“We’re going to do a wait and see,” she said.