Ashland petition against city EPA loan for new water treatment plant

MEDFORD, Ore. – The Ashland City Council has approved up to $75 million in bonds to finance a new water treatment plant but a petition by concerned residents is against the considerably large price tag.

The city’s current water treatment plant was built in 1948, on a steep, narrow canyon. This puts it at risk of landslides, fires, floods and earthquakes as well as contamination due to its age. To address this, the Ashland City Council passed a resolution to take a loan from the ‘environmental protection agency’ to build a new water treatment plant at a safer location. It would be paid back through increases on Ashlander’s water bills.

Dean Silver is a concerned resident, who says that the council shouldn’t obligate taxpayers to a debt that size without their input. Silver is leading a petition that would put the $75 million loan on the November ballot to let voters have a say. Silver said,

“This is a way to make them pause and let the community have a full discussion about what we’re doing. It’s almost like they’re taking the consultant’s word and public works just at face value and not giving it any consideration at all.”

Silver emphasizes that they are not petitioning the idea of water treatment but says that there should at least be a consideration of other options. He said the petition needs about 800 signatures to get on the ballot. NBC5 News reached out to Ashland City Hall for comment Friday (3/22/2024) but haven’t heard back.

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Maximus Osburn is a reporter for NBC5 News. He studied at California State University-Northridge, graduating with a degree in Broadcasting. Maximus is an avid martial arts enthusiast and combat sports fan. He even traveled to Thailand to train with martial arts experts. Maximus loves movies, nature, and doing things outside his comfort zone, like swimming in sub-freezing lakes in the winter.
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