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Clean Water Emergency in Salem Provokes Price Gouging Fears

Consumers have been reporting skyrocketing prices on water in Marion and Polk counties since authorities warned against using municipal water, according to the State Attorney General.

Posted: May 31, 2018 1:40 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency for Marion and Polk counties on Thursday, following an alert from officials in Salem that the municipal water was unsafe to drink.

Right on the heels of the governor's announcement, state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum issued a warning regarding price gouging in the wake of the emergency.

“We have already received consumer complaints from Oregonians who believe they have been the victim of price gouging in the last 48 hours," said Rosenblum.

According to Rosenblum's office, price gouging refers to a dramatic price increase following an 'abnormal disruption of the market'—such as the Governor's declaration of a state of emergency. Under state law, merchants and wholesalers are barred from increasing their prices 15 percent or more above the amount charged immediately prior to a state of emergency.

“Our state’s price gouging law protects people impacted by an emergency from illegal price gouging on food, shelter, bottled water, fuel and other items necessary for the health, safety and welfare of Oregonians,” said Rosenblum.

Included with Governor Brown's emergency declaration was an order for the Oregon Military Department (OMD) to deploy free, clean water stations within Marion County. Currently the number of planned stations stands at 10, spread throughout Salem and Stayton.

"I want to ensure safe drinking water is available to all residents of Salem and Marion County," said Governor Brown.

The unsafe water alert stems from 'low levels of toxins' caused by algae blooms discovered in Detroit Lake, which serves as the source for Salem's water supply, according to Attorney General Rosenblum's office.

Young children and people with 'compromised health and immune systems' could be harmed by the toxins. Officials have said that boiling tap water or using a camping or faucet filter would not be adequate to eliminate the presence of those toxins. 

CLICK HERE to find out why the unsafe water alert in Salem had residents concerned for something much worse.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 154554

Reported Deaths: 2204
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31785528
Washington21060212
Marion18335285
Clackamas13310175
Lane10172126
Jackson8299111
Umatilla763181
Deschutes591859
Yamhill375964
Linn356556
Malheur334358
Polk302942
Klamath277455
Douglas242853
Benton231816
Josephine231649
Jefferson195028
Coos142519
Union127519
Columbia124321
Wasco122026
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Hood River106329
Morrow104414
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6487
Curry4166
Tillamook4122
Lake3746
Harney2726
Grant2221
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
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Cases: 3554629

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Los Angeles118754221106
Riverside2891853749
San Bernardino2853342673
Orange2603483889
San Diego2589823260
Santa Clara1098411765
Kern102627811
Fresno947941412
Sacramento929441464
Alameda800881224
Ventura77238834
San Joaquin665691082
Contra Costa62164674
Stanislaus55775944
Tulare47784746
Monterey42138327
San Mateo38763515
San Francisco34061398
Santa Barbara31763407
Solano29968164
Merced28915395
Sonoma27954298
Imperial26843589
Kings21951218
Placer19713231
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15390209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12760185
Shasta10944174
Butte10915160
El Dorado9095100
Napa897668
Sutter884597
San Benito574359
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Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Tuolumne394659
Nevada393274
Mendocino379643
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Humboldt316033
Lake313440
Glenn221023
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128736
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
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Modoc4524
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