PORTLAND – The Portland City Council meeting taking public comment heated up Thursday afternoon on a proposal to fluoridate the city’s water supply.
Councilors requested four hours on the hot-button issue after the latest anti-fluoridation rally Wednesday night, but some said the session could go longer.
In early testimony, Commissioner Randy Leonard urged approval of fluoridation, saying: "It is time for Portland to join every other major city in America and fluoridate our water."
Kimberly Kaminski spoke out against the plan, saying: "There are much better ways to address the issue of children's health than fluoridating one hundred percent of Portland's water."
Watch live: Portland City Council livestream
One woman carrying a baby-tried to shout down Leonard. She was quickly removed, at the firm request of the mayor.
Multnomah County commissioners, Mayor Sam Adams and a majority of the council support the effort, citing a dental “crisis” among Oregon children, compared to neighboring states and cities that use fluoride in their water. More: Adams explains support for fluoride
The city has voted against fluoridation three times in the past, activists say.
Anti-fluoridation groups, like Clean Water Portland, claim the chemical is an industrial byproduct unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration and can lead to neurological and other health problems.
Clean Water Portland hopes to get the issue on a ballot measure before voters for the spring primary of 2014.
Commissioner Randy Leonard has said he wants to get the program in place through the water bureau by March 2014.
KGW Tim Gordon contributed to this report