Day after fluoride defeat, future of battle unclear

Day after fluoride defeat, future of battle unclear »Play Video
Photo courtesy Flickr user gabriel_rocha (Creative Commons).

PORTLAND, Ore. – There are signs the group that successfully fought adding fluoride to the city's water could take its cause on the road.

"We know there's a number of communities that have expressed an interest in getting (fluoride) out of their water," Kim Kaminski of Clean Water Portland told KATU News on Wednesday.

At the same time fluoride supporters say they're not giving up.

But both sides were short on specifics Wednesday, the day after Portlanders decisively defeated a proposal to add fluoride to the water. But the logical step is for each side to cast a wider net.

There's talk of fluoride supporters looking to the Legislature for help and opponents may be thinking statewide as well.

It all comes as emotions are still raw.

"I feel good, really good," said K.C. Hanson, a field organizer for Clean Water Portland.

But it's a much different feeling among fluoride supporters.

"Most of us in the coalition are disappointed at the outcome," said Philip Wu of Northwest Health Foundation.

For as different as each side feels the day after the election, they're also remarkably similar in their determination.

"Water fluoridation is something that we know works," Wu said.

"Portland has consistently turned away fluoride," Hanson said. "We did so again. I don't think you'll ever see Portland fluoridated."

Fluoride supporters say they'll continue the fight for dental health but they didn't want to talk details Wednesday.

"I haven't anticipated any particular specific step other than to say we're all dedicated to moving forward, but we don't have a specific course of action laid out," Wu said.

And even though they admit other communities have reached out for help, Clean Water Portland says it's not their immediate focus.

"Right now, my major goal is to take a break and take a little vacation," Kaminski said. "We're going to regroup. We're not going to go out and actively recruit another campaign."

She also called fluoride "the issue that never dies."

Although both sides seemed determine to fight on, there was no evidence of a specific effort on either side in the near future.