PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Portland City Council passed a unanimous vote Wednesday to decommission the three open reservoirs at Mount Tabor.
This decision clears the way for efforts to restore and preserve the reservoirs after they're disconnected from the system. Officials said that will involve lots of digging to get to pipes, tree removal and constructing new, above-ground utility buildings.
"It's great to see that people can compromise in a measure of goodwill, then make sure those compromises actually happen," said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. "I like living in a city where those things are possible."
"We are bringing closure on a longstanding dispute that started with a set of federal regulations and culminated for us, what I think is almost a historic agreement between the Water Bureau and the neighborhood and the community," added Commissioner Nick Fish.
The entire restoration project is expected to cost more than $7 million and should be completed by the end of the year.
In a previous vote, the council opted to keep the reservoirs at Mt. Tabor full of water, even after they are disconnected from the city water system.
Commissioners voted to put aside at least $4 million over the next four years to maintain and preserve the reservoirs, and will consider spending $1.5 million in the future to add lighting. They said the reservoirs will be maintained purely for beautification purposes.
This comes after the Environmental Protection Agency released new rules saying Portland must either cover the open-air reservoirs or treat them, to avoid contamination. That's when the city decided it needed to take them offline, by the end of this year.
The city will decide where the $4 million will come from at a later date.
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