Oregon | Fluoride

Portland Council Puts Fluoride Vote On Fast Track

OPB | Dec. 20, 2012 6:09 p.m. | Updated: April 25, 2013 12:29 p.m. | Portland, OR

Contributed By:

April Baer

Part of Series:

Portland City Council has voted to move up a citywide vote on fluoridating water to May of next year.

Water faucet (file).

Water faucet (file).

Rebecca Roberts Galloway / OPB


As with all fluoride hearings to this point, dozens of people lined up to testify. Mel Rader is a policy analyst with Upstream Public Health. He hoisted weighty scientific studies onto the table beside him, saying there’s plenty of evidence to advise voters.

“The National Academy of Sciences has done reviews starting in 1951, then in 1977, 1993, 2006, and 2007,” Rader said, a loud thump accompanying each of his cites reports. “All these reviews found that water fluoridation at the right level is safe and effective.”

But the chief strategist for anti-fluoride activists, Kim Kaminski, said the expedited timeline would stymie the opposition’s campaign.

“For the referendum we have to gather 20,000 signatures in 30 days. For the initiative we have to gather 30,000 signatures, which really means we have to gather 55,000 signatures. So we need time to do that. If you moved it up, it wouldn’t give us enough time to gather signatures and it wouldn’t be fair.”

But council voted 4 to 1 in favor. Commissioner Dan Saltzman was absent.

This was the final vote for Mayor Sam Adams and Commissioner Randy Leonard. Both favored moving the vote up.

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