As mayor of the fastest growing city in our region, I've seen good decisions made and I've seen bad decisions made in local government. I am happy to say the decision by the Clackamas County Commission to pursue the purchase of the Blue Heron Company assets in West Linn is an example of good decision-making on behalf of the citizens in the county.
The purchase of Blue Heron's West Linn assets by Clackamas County Service District No. 1 and Tri-City Service District reduces the risk that future water quality regulations will push our sewer rates through the roof.
In less than a decade, both districts will run into the limit of how much heat they can discharge into the Willamette (River) during the summer months. Once reached, we'd have a big problem - and even bigger expenses.
Imagine how much it will cost to cool millions of gallons per day or to pump them through miles of pipes to natural or artificial wetlands (in the) Clackamas basin, miles from the treatment plant in Oregon City.
Instead, the purchase of the Blue Heron land and its outfall allows us to send the cleaned water a mere three miles from the Tri-City plant for environmentally sound discharge into the Willamette.
The bottom line is: We won't spend millions of dollars of your hard earned money.
But saving money is only part of the story. Our sewer rates, already the lowest in the region, will over time become even cheaper compared to the rest of the region as others have to wrestle with the problem we dodged. This means our ratepayers will have more money in their pockets at the end of the month to spend with local merchants.
And it means that north Clackamas County businesses will have lower costs than Multnomah and Washington County businesses.
We'll have an edge in attracting new businesses and retaining the ones we already have.
Buying Blue Heron's land in West Linn is an example of local government doing what its intended to do.
The County Commission's decision was thoughtful, consultative, and decisive in the public interest.
Lori DeRemer is the mayor of Happy Valley.