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April 30th, 2014 12:01 am WW Editorial Staff | Cover Story

Don’t Piss It Away

Your vote matters. Let us tell you what to do with it.

lede_4026Illlustration by Kenneth Huey. Photograph by Matt Wong.

Amid the noise of an election season, one person’s vote can seem insignificant—like a trickle of skateboarder’s urine in a 38-million-gallon reservoir.

If only each voter had an immediate impact—like the city’s absurd decision two weeks ago to drain Mount Tabor Reservoir No. 5 because some teen might have peed in it.

We vote not because we expect an immediate response, but because we owe it to our community to raise our collective voice.

What follows are our recommendations for how we think you should cast your vote—it’s our 2014 primary endorsement issue.

As we do every election cycle, we invite candidates in competitive races to a joint appearance in our office, where we turn on the video camera and ask them tough (we hope) questions. We also asked one question of all candidates we hope will entertain, if not illuminate: If you could be any other person, living or dead, who would you be? You can see video of these endorsement interviews throughout this issue.

The primary election May 20 allows Democrats and Republicans to choose among their own tribes. In two of the biggest elections, GOP voters will select candidates to take on two of the state’s most prominent Democratic incumbents, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley and Gov. John Kitzhaber.

That may be why turnout for primary elections is usually low—it seems as if nothing really gets decided until November.

Not so this year.

Voters may also choose the executive who will oversee the health-care and public-safety colossus known as Multnomah County, as well as decide whether to send two long-term incumbents back to their seats on the Portland City Council.

Without question, however, the most important question in front of Portland voters is Measure 26-156, which if passed would create an independent public utility to control Portland’s water and sewer services.

For more than a century, the city has relied on the pristine waters of Bull Run Lake on the shoulder of Mount Hood for drinking water. Portland’s water supply is rightfully the envy of the nation.

A handful of corporations put this question on the ballot after years of City Hall mismanagement of water and sewer funds. And now control of the city’s water supply hangs in the balance.

So cast your vote. Let it fly. You might not see the waters rise, nor can we promise complete relief when you’re done.

But your contribution to the tide of democracy in your community will make a difference.

Endorsements, May 2014 Elections:

The Primaries: U.S. Senate | U.S. House | Oregon Governor | Oregon House

The Independent Public Water District: Measure 26-156

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