Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s Joe Glicker was Public Policy Director and then Chief Engineer at the Portland Water Bureau.
At the same time Mr. Glicker’s wife, Lisa Obermeyer, was a principal engineer at MWH Global, an engineering company that specializes in designing and building large public works projects.
During Mr. Glicker’s tenure as a Portland Water Bureau official, his wife’s engineering company was the beneficiary of several large City of Portland contracts, including contracts that proposed to decommission Portland’s open reservoirs and replace them with underground tanks.
During Mr. Glicker’s tenure as a Portland Water Bureau official, he and has colleagues were sued in 1993 for defamation and harassment of water activist Douglas Larson, PhD, costing Portland rate payers $73,000 in damages.
In 1994 Mr. Glicker left the Portland Water Bureau to join his wife at MWH, where he took a senior position.
After Mr. Glicker joined MWH, City of Portland selection panels consisting of his former employees continued to award multi-million-dollar reservoir-related contracts to MWH Global.
These contracts were often awarded without competitive bidding, via “emergency” resolutions passed by Portland City Council with a simple majority vote, causing Portland’s City Auditor to voice concern that procurement rules were not being followed.
Current Mayor Charlie Hales was a City Commissioner throughout much of Mr. Glicker’s tenure at the Portland Water Bureau, including the period encompassing the Larson lawsuit.
Mr. Glicker and Ms. Obermeyer then moved to CH2M Hill, another global engineering company specializing in designing and building large public works projects.
Once Mr. Glicker and Ms. Obermeyer moved to CH2M Hill, that company also benefitted from multi-million-dollar contracts with the City of Portland related to reservoir decommissioning, and has continued to do so under the leadership of now-Mayor Hales.
Portland’s Mayor Hales and Commissioner Saltzman have both received multiple campaign contributions from CH2M Hill, as has Oregon’s Governor John Kitzhaber.