s annual Hydro Hogs issue, where we spotlight the biggest residential water users in and around Portland, typically leaves us with few friends.
The water-wasters we name end up hating us. Our online readers accuse us of being socialists for writing the cover story. About the only buddies we have left are the folks at the Portland Water Bureau, who provide the data behind the story.
But the Rogue Desk has no friends. And we hereby serve notice to the Portland Water Bureau that we're roguing them for wasting water—the very resource they urge customers to conserve.
After Hydro Hogs came out last week, the Rogue Desk got a call from Teresa Newton, a day-care provider and mother of three who lives at 7115 SE 36th Ave. After watching the Hydro Hogs story get picked up on KATU news, Newton says she was flabbergasted because a leak under the street in front of her home that she'd been reporting to the city since May still hadn't been fixed more than three months later.
Newton says she and her neighbors have called the city at least 10 times since Memorial Day. "It has literally been running down the street," Newton says. "They have completely, straight-up ignored it."
We drove to Newton's house, and sure enough, a steady seep was forming a stream. We estimated 16 ounces was being lost every minute, or 180 gallons a day—more than the average non-Hydro Hogs Portland household uses each day. Reached by the Rogue Desk on Sept. 17, Water Bureau spokeswoman Tricia Knoll said the city had a record of one complaint on June 12, but it somehow got lost. She sent a crew immediately to fix the leak.
"We apologize to the neighbors out there," Knoll said. "Normally we're fast."
City crews arrived that day but didn't finish the repairs. The next morning, Newton said 11 city employees in six city trucks had returned and finally fixed the leak. "I couldn't run my business this way and make money," Newton said.