Blue yard signs bearing the words “Yes on 14-55: Our Water, Our Future” dotted lawns throughout Hood River County, Oregon, in the run-up to the primary election held on May 17. Just as many of these signs appeared to share a lawn with a Cruz or Trump yard sign as with a Clinton or Sanders sign.
The issue that brought conservatives and progressives together in this way was clear-cut: keeping Nestlé Waters North America from building a water bottling plant and extracting over 118 million gallons annually from a spring in a small, rural community 45 miles east of Portland.
When Primary Day came, Oregon voters in Hood River County passed a first-of-its-kind ballot measure that bans the production and transportation of large-scale commercial bottled water within the county. The measure succeeded by an overwhelming majority of voters — 68.8 percent voted in favor — and effectively ended Nestlé’s attempts to operate within the community.