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PORTLAND A coalition of citizens hoping to take control of Portland's water away from the city announced Thursday that it s launching a ballot initiative.

The group Portlanders for Water Reform wants put a People's Utility District in place, saying the city s water and sewer bureaus are wasting millions of taxpayer dollars.

City leaders call the plan a hostile takeover of the city's water.

Commissioner Nick Fish, who s in charge of the water bureau, said Thursday turning control over to an independent board would put the quality of Portland's water supply at risk. City Council vowed to fight the move this fall.

Portlanders for Water Reform said water customers have seen a 160-percent increase in their bills since 2000, and they blame the increase on waste, fraud, and abuse.

Background: Coalition wants to set water rates in Portland

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