Fight over plan to bottle water in Oregon town is on ballot

CASCADE LOCKS, Ore. – A proposal for Nestle to build a water bottling plant in Cascade Locks, Oregon, is set to be one of the most heated battles in the state’s May 17 primary.

Measure 14-55 asks the voters of surrounding Hood River County to ban the commercial production and transport of bottled water.

Nestle says the operation would generate 50 jobs and annual revenues of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Town leaders and some residents want it, but others are fiercely opposed.

The plan has divided the town in the Columbia River Gorge, which has a 19-per cent unemployment rate.

It means Cascade Locks must face the bigger dilemma of generating income without spoiling the jaw-dropping Columbia River Gorge scenery that makes it special.