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Residents appeal new water pump station in Savanna Oaks

Project tied in with needs of new primary school
by: Vern Uyetake, The proposed pump station on Bland Circle will match the forest green color of the current reservoir.

The city of West Linn is running into some speed bumps with its most recent water system improvement project, as an appeal has been filed by the Savanna Oaks Neighborhood Association.

The city plans to build a new pump station and install a new water line at its Bland Circle reservoir in the Savanna Oaks neighborhood. The project, included in the city's six-year capital improvement plan, is budgeted at $1.25 million.

The plan calls for housing the pump station equipment inside a 15.5-foot-tall, 16-foot-by-22-foot concrete block building located near the southeast corner of the site. New water lines would connect the pump to the reservoir and distribute water to the Rosemont water pressure zone.

The city's water system is broken zone into four zones. Each zone has a pump station and a reservoir to help manage water pressure. The new Bland Circle pump station will service the Rosemont neighborhood.

The site, which was annexed to West Linn in 2006, has contained the city's Bland reservoir facility since 1980. The current reservoir is a cylindrical, above-ground tank approximately three stories tall and 42 feet in diameter, according to city records.

The plan calls for constructing a new pump station to address increased need with the construction of the new Trillium Creek Primary School. A large portion of funding for the project is being paid for through system development charges paid by the school district.

According to city staff, the Rosemont reservoir storage is significantly undersized and redundant water pipeline interconnections are required to overcome this deficiency. Completion of this project is tied to the occupancy of the new Trillium Creek Primary School.

The city is not adding more storage to the facility, but improving water pressure, Public Works Director Ken Worcester said. Along with the new pump station, a larger 12'-line is proposed along Weatherhill Road, which will tie into the Rosemont pressure zone, which feeds water to the Tanner Basin and the Savanna Oaks neighborhood. The city is currently working with neighbors to gain easements to run the new line.

An underground pipe would connect the pump station to the reservoir on the north side of the site, and a new water line would connect the pipe to existing waterlines in the Rosemont zone.

'We are meeting with adjacent property owners to work out agreements,' Worcester said, adding that planners are trying to avoid removing some of the large trees nearby.

The planning commission approved a conditional use permit for the project during its April 25 meeting. Some members raised concerns about the lack of a backup generator, but Worcester said the city owns several portability generators that could be brought to the site if the pump and other built-in redundancies failed.

'It's really more about having these extra redundancies,' Worcester said.

Although the planning commission approved the project, the Savanna Oaks Neighborhood Association filed an appeal against it on May 17, citing a laundry list of reasons.

One of the reasons listed is that the new pump station would service the Stafford area, but Worcester said that is not true and that the pump will service those already in the urban growth boundary.

"Everything is designed to serve everyone in the urban growth boundary,' Worcester said.

Those appealing the site also listed seismic hazards, safety hazards, environmental impact, lack of proper screening and engineering concerns.

The project and the appeal will be heard by the West Linn City Council during its June 25 meeting. If the council denies the appeal and approves the project, residents could then appeal with the Land Use Board of Appeals.