Central Oregon Landwatch Hires Coordinator for Campaign Against City Water Project

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Moey Newbold has been hired to coordinate the campaign against the City of Bend’s decision to spend $68 million on its Tumalo Creek water project.

Newbold, a 22 year-old native of Bend and a recent graduate of Vassar College, will assist the broad coalition of business leaders, conservationists and citizens who opposed the City’s plan to further withdraw Tumalo and Bridge Creek water.

“When I tell people the City Council has voted to increase their water rates by 40 percent or more over the next five years, they are absolutely shocked,”  Newbold said. “People are already struggling to make ends meet. They can’t manage a huge new financial burden from the City.”

Newbold said that the City failed to give serious consideration to more affordable options. “Bend could save tens of millions of dollars by relying more on well water rather than looking to creek water.”

Bill Buchanan, an attorney and one of the project’s leading opponents, is a member of the broad coalition opposing the Creek Water Project. “The City hasn’t considered cheaper and more reliable alternatives that also happen to be better for the environment,” says Buchanan. “It has ignored the reasoned views of well respected experts in the basin.”

“This project has a huge price tag and the benefits are really very small,” Buchanan continued. “For instance, Bend’s water project will cost fifteen times as much per gallon of peak day capacity as Portland’s similar project.”

Paul Dewey, executive director of Central Oregon Landwatch, has concerns for how the City’s project will affect Tumalo Creek and the Middle Deschutes, “We oppose this plan because it will harm our streams and natural environment.  We need to leave as much water in our streams as we can, rather than draining them.”

Another member of the coalition is Bill Smith of William Smith Properties, Inc. He is concerned by the expected sharp increase in water rates. “I don’t want to see our town needlessly turn brown… at least not any more than it already has. It is a quality of life issue.”

Coalition member Bruce Aylward is an economist working on water rights and water management across the western U.S. According to Aylward, “The bottom line is that the analyses the City used to make its decision were flawed. We need to put the brakes on this project and revisit the alternatives. Even with the money already spent, the economics favor stopping now.”

Newbold said she is getting a tremendous response from people she speaks with on this issue. She stated, “The so-called Surface Water Improvement Project is a drain on rate-payers’ dollars, a drain on Tumalo Creek, and a drain on Bend’s economy.  I expect that once the City Council understands the opposition’s concerns the City will reconsider its decisions.”

Newbold has worked on a variety of environmental and political campaigns throughout her college career including several nation-wide campaigns. Newbold specializes in recruiting supporters and developing successful campaign plans.

For more information and to sign the petition to Stop the Drain, go to www.bendwater.info

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