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PORTLAND -- An attempt to spin off water and sewer services into an independent public water district was soundly defeated by voters Tuesday.

A yes vote for Measure 26-156 would have created an elected board to oversee water and sewer work currently run by city bureaus.

More: Signatures gathered for public water district vote

In the face again of Portland s voters dissatisfaction with government generally this was a very surprising vote to me, said KGWpolitical analyst Len Bergstein.

Water reformers have complained for years about high water rates, mismanagement and bloated spending. But city officials said putting a separate group in charge of a large bureaucracy could cause even more problems.

Eugene is currently the largest city in the state with a public water district similar to the one proposed.

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