PORTLAND - A group of Portlanders is suing the city over the Water Bureau's misuse of money for services other than water or sewer treatment.

The group called Citizens for Water Accountability held a news conference with their attorneys Tuesday to announce their decision.

Last spring, the city auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade found that in at least two cases -- money not requested or approved by the city council was spent on projects unrelated to customers' water or sewer services.

Those projects included construction of the so-called Water house in east Portland, purchase and repairs of the Rose Festival building, Portland loo projectsand maintenance of hydro parks.

The suit demands that money be returned to customers.

We are very disappointed that the City has been tone deaf to the widespread criticism by ratepayers, the press and even its own city auditor and attorney, WATR president Kent Craford said. The failure of the City to even respond to our letter sends a clear message that citizens have few options left for ratepayers to achieve enforcement of the City Charter, he added.

The suit also asks for a new audit of the bureau going back 11 years.

David Shaff, Administrator for the Portland Water Bureau issued a statement Tuesday that said, We haven t seen the lawsuit so we cannot comment on it. And since it s litigation, we re deferring requests for comment to the city attorney.

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