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December 8, 2003

Clackamas County PUD Qualifies for the Ballot

The Clackamas County Elections Office reported today that supporters of the campaign to create a People’s Utility District (PUD) covering nearly all of Clackamas County have succeeded in submitting far more than the 3827 signatures needed to qualify the measure for the ballot in the May 2004 primary election.

The only part of Clackamas County excluded from the new PUD would be the area served with electricity by the Canby Utility Board.

Today, a Clackamas County PUD moved one step closer to delivering power to area homes and businesses.

Volunteers collected almost 5000 signatures. Elections officials determined that there were over 500 more valid signatures than the 3827 necessary to qualify for the ballot. The statutory timeline indicates that the measure will be on the May 2004 primary ballot.

" We need to get the facts to Clackamas County voters" said Tom Civiletti, campaign coordinator for Clackamas Public Power. "If they hear both sides of the issue and not just the blizzard of slick ads from PGE/Enron/Texas Pacific, the voters will recognize that forming a PUD is in their interest."

Barbara Kemper, one of the Clackamas PUD chief petitioners remarked "PGE is charging us way too much for electric power. A PUD in Clackamas County would give residents and businesses the opportunity to enjoy the lower rates of publicly owned power, like those in Canby and Clatsop and Columbia counties."

Representatives of Texas Pacific, which has offered to buy PGE from bankrupt Enron, have stated that they do not expect to reduce PGE’s rates. Texas Pacific specializes in buying troubled businesses, improving their profitability, and quickly reselling them. PUD supporters believe this is unlikely to lead to the kind of long-term stability that attracts new employers.

PGE continues to collect from Oregon ratepayers almost $2 million per week for “federal and state income taxes,” none of which will ever make it to government treasuries.

“The utilities spent over $3 million against the Multnomah County PUD,” noted Dan Meek. “This broke all records for campaign spending in Oregon, amounting to over $35 per NO vote. Even so, during the last 5 days of the voting period (25% of the total votes cast), the PUD received a 48% YES vote.”

The goal of creating PUDs is to establish a legal means for the abused ratepayers of Portland General Electric Co. (PGE) to acquire the assets of PGE, by negotiation or by use of eminent domain.

The Oregonian: PUD gains ample signatures