FIGHT OVER WATER

OREGON CITY, OR, March 3 (Special)

Declaring that the filtered water used in Oregon City is absolutely pure, J. E. Hedges, secretary of the Board of Water Commissioners, clashed today with Dr. L. A. Morris, chairman of the Pure Water League, who is promoting a campaign for a bond issue of $325,000 for a new supply of water from the South Fork of the Clackamas River.

Mr. Hedges read at length from bacteriological authorities. He said that not many people know what bacteria and colon bacilli are and he insisted that many false and slanderous statements had been made against the water supply of Oregon City. He asserted that Oregon City has the purest water at the faucet in the entire state.

Dr. Morris and L. Stipp controverted the statements of Mr. Hedges. They said the danger in the present supply of water was in the fact that the source was contaminated by human sewage. He admitted that the presence of some bacteria in water did not conclusively prove its impurity, but declared water was in serious danger from pollution when the source was considered.

H. L. Moody, who is marketing property in West Linn, said his community is anxious to obtain pure water from Oregon City. He confirmed a statement of Mr. Hedges that he had applied to the Board of Water Commissioners for permission to use a part of the present supply that came from the filters, but permission was refused on the ground of scarcity of water.

George Randall defended the present supply and insisted that the filtered water is pure.

Morning Oregonian, March 4, 1914

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Afterword: From the History of the South Fork Water Board –

Prior to 1915 both Oregon City and West Linn got their drinking water from the Willamette River.  As a consequence of a serious outbreak of typhoid in 1913, the Oregon City Commission formed the “Pure Mountain Water League” and directed it to find a new source of drinking water. The League identified the South Fork of the Clackamas River. In March of that year the Oregon City Commission accepted West Linn’s request for one-third share in the project.  As a result representatives from both Cities were selected and the South Fork Water Board was created.

In late 1915 twenty-six miles of 18” pipe of was constructed to a site near Memaloose Creek, about 3,000 feet from the confluence of the South Fork and the main stem of the Clackamas River.  This pipeline became known as the “Mountain Line”. The first water began to flow by gravity through the system on October 7, 1915, supplying three million gallons per day. The only treatment at this time was chlorination.

(http://www.sfwb.org/)

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