Almost a year ago, city council voted to place caps on top of water reservoirs around the city. At the time, city council members reasoned the water tanks were susceptible to terrorist attacks. But in their haste to protect the city's water supply, the council failed to consult the neighbors who look at the water reservoirs daily. In particular, the large water tank at Mt. Tabor is the centerpiece for the popular park in Southeast Portland. To them, covering the water tanks was akin to painting over Mona Lisa's smile.

Yet, in spite of loud complaints, city hall has steamed ahead with their plans. That, however, may be about to change.

Last week residents began to call for other governmental agencies to shut down city hall's plans. A group calling itself the Friends of Reservoirs (FOR) has filed a legal complaint with the state's Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). The group says that city council not only failed to solicit public input for their decision to cap the reservoir, but failed to properly secure a conditional use permit.

In addition, FOR are lobbying the National Trust to declare the sandstone reservoirs as part of the National Register. But, in spite of the late rally for an injunction, city hall has continued to cold-shoulder their demands.

"The message has been, 'The decision is made, and we should get used to it,'" says Kevin Bond, a member with FOR. "In other words, they're not listening."

Marshall Runkel with Erik Sten's office confirmed that "the reservoir work is going full steam ahead."

"Terrorists or no terrorists, a bunch of gross stuff ends up in those reservoirs," he added. "[It] gets hit with a little chlorine and that's it until you drink it."

Runkel recounted a story about a homeless man that committed suicide a few months ago by jumping into the water tanks. "Soon after he died, he defecated," explained Runkel. "I'm not sure how Hep C proliferates, but yuck. My point is that uncovered reservoirs are nasty."