GRESHAM, Ore. – As the Portland fluoride vote approaches, campaigns on both sides are working hard.
If voters approve it, about 900,000 people would get fluoride in their drinking water. But nearly a third of those people don’t get to vote.
19 cities buy water from the Bull Run Reservoir and the Portland Water Bureau. That means people who live in cities like Gresham, Tigard and Tualatin are at the mercy of Portland voters. Those cities signed a contract that says the bureau can change the water they buy without asking them.
Elaine Rodgers, who cannot speak, moved to Gresham 30 years ago.
“I don’t have a voice. I don’t have the power to control that situation,” said Rodgers in sign language. “It’s not fair for one town to decide for another town. It should be fair. It should be legal.”
Ironically, if the measure passes, the Portland Water Bureau would mix the fluoride into the water at its treatment plant in Gresham.
“We don’t count,” said Gresham resident Cathy Butts. “So, it’s like, shut up and we’ll make the decisions and you don’t.”