I feel compelled to respond to Mayor Hammerstad's letter to the editor from the Aug. 14 edition of the Lake Oswego Review commenting on my July 31 opinion piece regarding Luscher Farm. Like the mayor, I would also like to contribute a few facts to clear up any misunderstanding.
Here are the facts I used in substantiating what I wrote.
Cory Saxton of Oregon DEQ confirmed that the city had been given an Automatic DEQ certification (404-section 10 permit) through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with no testing of the spoils required. I spoke with James Holmes of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding testing of the spoils to be removed from Lake Oswego.
He told me that: 1) There is no testing required if the spoils are moved out of area, 2) no testing is required if the spoils are not to be redeposited back into the lake, and 3) the uplands disposal of the spoils then becomes the problem of Oregon DEQ. Thus as long as conditions No. 1 and 2 are met of course it would cause 'Corps reviewers little concern' as the mayor states.
A SWLA (Solid Waste Letter of Authorization) would need to be obtained from Oregon DEQ prior to dumping the spoils on Luscher Farm and that requires testing. Tim Spencer from Oregon DEQ told my wife that no spoils would be placed on Luscher Farm due to levels of contamination.
As an interesting aside let's assume for a moment the spoils are 85 percent solid and 15 percent liquid. With spoils of 19,000 cubic yards (city estimate of spoils to be deposited on three acres of Luscher Farm) that equates to 513,000 cubic feet. Contained in the 513,000 cubic feet of spoils there is 76,950 cubic feet of water (575,586 gallons). Then if we divide 76,950 cubic feet of water by 130,680 square feet (3 acres) we will have 0.59 feet of water or 7.07 inches.
Lake Oswego has on average a yearly rainfall of 39.95 inches. This represents, as it were, a 17.7 percent increased rainfall on these three acres. For 10 percent water it is 4.71 inches, 20 percent it is 9.42 inches, and for 25 percent it is 11.78 inches.
Hopefully the mayor can explain what exactly is the 'beneficial use for the excavated material' (spoils) when dumped on Luscher Farm. Other than maybe to kill the pasture grass and allow the spoils to drain and dry enough for removal to a permanent disposal site.
The property at Luscher Farm designated to accept the spoils could drain onto Mr. Ted Halston's property. Was Mr. Halston consulted and did he acquiesce in allowing the discharged effluent from the spoils to potentially drain onto his property? Is he privy to the potential number of gallons this represents?
Lastly, the city of Lake Oswego has far more open space property than it can afford to maintain. I believe when responsible citizens have an interest in and/or are willing to undertake responsible habitat restoration of these properties it should be encouraged and not discouraged. It is in the best interest of Lake Oswego if both the citizens and their city government are able to work together for the common good.
Russell Jones is treasurer of the Friends of Luscher Farm and a candidate for the Lake Oswego City Council.