POL Government Elected Officials Commissioner Nick Fish Blue Ribbon Commission

Utility Oversight Blue Ribbon Commission


The 12-member Utility Oversight Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) will analyze potential reforms of the oversight and accountability of the Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services. The Commission will focus on streamlining communications and transparency in the rate-making process. The BRC will report to the City Council in November 2014. 



All BRC meetings are open to the public.


Next Meeting


July 15, 2014

Meeting Agenda

4 - 6 pm

Portland Building

Room C, 2nd floor

Meeting location is ADA accessible. For general questions about the forums or accommodations, please contact Asena Lawrence at asena.lawrence@portlandoregon.gov or (503) 823-3597.



BRC News Roundup

June 30, 2014

Portland Announces Utility Oversight Blue Ribbon Commission

Today Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Nick Fish announced the formation of a twelve member Utility Oversight Blue Ribbon Commission. 


The creation of the Commission keeps a pledge they made to review the oversight of the Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services.


Commission members represent a variety of technical and management disciplines including public and private utilities, engineering, communications, environmental science, and organizational development. The panel includes a current wholesale water customer, and a representative of the independent Citizens’ Utility Board. 


The Commission will convene in July and will present recommendations to the Portland City Council in a Work Session to be held in November.  All meetings will be open to the public.  The public will be invited to testify at two Commission meetings. The City has contracted with community engagement and planning firm, Cogan Owens Cogan, to facilitate the meetings and assist the Commission in writing its final report.


“Mayor Hales and I pledged to appoint a Blue Ribbon Commission to consider a number of reforms to the oversight of our public utilities, provided voters rejected the proposed Water District,” said Commissioner Fish.  “I am gratified that such a distinguished panel of experts has volunteered to dig deep into how the City does oversight and rate-making.”


“Reaching out to this committee and seeking their advice makes sense. We don’t want to pretend that we have all the answers. Often, third-parties see these issues better than we do. We look forward to their recommendations,” said Mayor Hales.


Updates on the Commission’s activities and schedule will be available on this website. (www.portlandoregon.gov/fish/brc)


Commission Charge


The Portland City Council directs that an independent Commission convene from July to November 2014, to

analyze potential reforms of the oversight and accountability of the Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services, and then report to the City Council.  The Commission will focus on streamlining communications and transparency in the rate-making process.


Utility Oversight Blue Ribbon Commission Members


Chair – Dwight Holton 

Dwight Holton is the CEO of Lines for Life, the state’s leading nonprofit working to prevent substance abuse and suicide.  He previously served as United States Attorney for Oregon in 2010-2012, where he launched a civil rights initiative and led community initiatives to combat mortgage fraud, domestic violence, human trafficking and prescription drug overdose deaths.  Dwight lives with his wife Mary Ellen Glynn and two children in Southeast Portland.


Vice-Chair – Isaac Dixon

Isaac Dixon is the Associate Vice President for Human Resources at Lewis & Clark College. Prior to moving into the world of higher education Isaac worked for companies such as Providence Health and Services, GE Capital, Pitney Bowes Financial Services and NIKE. He also served in human resources roles in federal, state and local government agencies.  He is a long time resident of Portland and has served on numerous committees, boards and commissions.

Barbara Byrd

Barbara Byrd is the Secretary-Treasurer of the Oregon AFL-CIO.  She oversees economic development, workforce training and climate policy issues for the state federation.  On behalf of the federation, she sits on the Oregon Workforce Investment Board and on the Advisory Council of the Oregon Employment Department.  She also coordinates the Oregon BlueGreen Apollo Alliance, a labor-business-environmental coalition that promotes clean energy and good jobs.  Since 1995, she is has been on the faculty at the University of Oregon's Labor Education and Research Center (LERC). 


Christine Chin Ryan 

Christine Chin Ryan is the Founder and President of Synergy Consulting, Inc., which provides comprehensive IT software solutions to Federal, commercial, and not for profit enterprises with emphasis on Customized Software Development and Staff Augmentation.  Christine is a passionate advocate for small businesses. She serves as Chair of the Oregon Small Business for Responsible Leadership, and as a member of the Small Business Majority Network Council.  She previously served as Chair of the Governor’s Small Business Council and as a member of the Oregon Business Plan Steering Committee and Congressman Kurt Schrader’s Small Business Advisory Board, and served as Chair of the Oregon Small Business Healthcare Initiative.


Rob Doneker 

Robert Doneker is a registered Professional Engineer (PE) in the State of Oregon and has a Ph.D. degree in Environmental Engineering from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University. He consults on water management issues for USEPA, US ARMY COE, ODEQ, and other governments, universities, and businesses worldwide.


Bill Gaffi  

Bill Gaffi is the General Manager of Clean Water Services, the wastewater and surface water management utility which serves over 550,000 customers in Washington and parts of Clackamas and Multnomah counties. Clean Water Services is a leader in watershed management and has also been recognized as one of America’s most effective and innovative small businesses.


Marion Haynes

Marion Haynes is the Vice President of Government Relations and Economic Development for the Portland Business Alliance. The Alliance represents over 1,700 small, medium and large employers.  Marion served on the Portland Charter Review Commission, which investigated changes to the structure of the City’s water and sewer bureaus.  Prior to joining the Alliance, Marion worked at Portland General Electric in state government affairs. 


Chris Liddle 

Chris Liddle is a Manager in Regulatory Affairs for Portland General Electric.   He recently chaired the City Club of Portland's research committee on Water and Sewer Rates and Governance. Chris has a BA in Finance from the University of Oregon, and an MBA from Portland State University.


Kendra Smith  

Kendra Smith is a restoration ecologist with 21 years of experience working in streams, rivers, and storm water management throughout the Willamette Basin.  She currently serves on Metro's Natural Areas Oversight Committee, and Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board's regional grant review team.  She has been a consultant, public employee for Clean Water Services a sanitary and storm/surface water utility, and currently works for the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.


Brian Stahl 

Brian R. Stahl is the Water Division Manager for the City of Gresham. He has more than 30 years of experience in municipal enterprise fund budgeting, serving on numerous regional and state committees addressing water management issues. He is the current Chair of the Oregon Health Authority Drinking Water Advisory Committee.


Janice Thompson

Janice Thompson is a Consumer Advocate with the Citizens’ Utility Board (CUB) focused on Water and Sewer issues.  She comes to the CUB Board after over 15 years working on democracy reform issues where she fought special interests, demanding government and corporate accountability. Janice began her career at the Minnesota Energy Agency with a focus on community based energy programs. A stint teaching middle school science with an emphasis on stream and watershed studies provided many opportunities to communicate complex topics in readily understandable ways. Janice has degrees in Biology and Education from Carleton College and the University of Minnesota.


Lawrence Wallack  

Lawrence Wallack has more than 40 years of experience in various aspects of public health. He previously served for nine years as Dean of the College of Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State University.  He has substantial background in social advocacy, communication, and translation of research.


A utility panel that can change things for the better
The Oregonian Editorial Board


Water and sewer oversight commission named
Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune

Dwight Holton will chair utility reform commission
Aaron Mesh in the Willamette Week

Mayor Charlie Hales, Commissioner Nick Fish name 'Blue Ribbon Commission' members, tab Dwight Holton chair
Andrew Theen in The Oregonian

You were promised a Blue Ribbon Commission on Water/Sewer rates. Here you go.
Dirk Vanderhart in the Portland Mercury


June 25, 2014

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