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Newly elected official can turn over a new leaf

On May 15, Nancy Gibson published an article in the Oregon City News/Clackamas County Review.

It is evident by her remarks she has not been a regular attendee of the Oak Lodge Water District regular board meetings, nor has she reviewed the record of minutes and board packets of past meetings.

Her personal difficulty with two billing problems was explained by staff during a regular meeting of the board. Although she was not satisfied with the answers, explanation and apology, the incident does not deserve the vitriol that she expressed in her Clackamas Review article.

Her discussion regarding the seismic upgrades and emergency water supply contingencies that the Oak Lodge Water District Board has planned for is an unusual expression of ignorance. In addition to providing water at the Valley View reservoir, the emergency plans include portable water purification units that can be deployed to provide water to district customers. Had she been a regular attendee of Oak Lodge Water District meetings, she would have known the additional measures that the board had considered and implemented. I doubt the rate payers in the Oak Lodge Water District would want millions of gallons of water flooding down from Oatfield Ridge should an earthquake occur or the reservoirs fail due to lack of maintenance.

The reservoir projects were primarily initiated to repair the reservoirs that have been in service since the 1960s. Since the district needed to do repairs on the reservoirs, it was prudent to bring the construction of them up to present seismic standards. It would have been irresponsible not to do so.

Her questioning of the engineering of the reservoirs to withstand a 9.0 earthquake event prompts me to ask where she received her degree in structural engineering and how many years she has worked in the reservoir design and reservoir building industry.

Nancy Gibson states that she reviewed the 2013-14 Oak Lodge Water District budget and infers that it contains a 4 percent increase in rates. The budget increase is based on anticipated increased revenues from various sources separate from a rate increase. Any rate increase must be implemented through the open process dictated by Oregon law.

Nancy complains about a lack of transparency in the budget process. The Oak Lodge Water District Board must and has complied with Oregon law. We have a budget committee that includes five citizens from the community. The budget committee meetings and hearings are public according to Oregon Law. As Nancy should know the budget process is open and subject to public input.

As a member of the Oak Lodge Water District Board, I would rather be working with a board member who has 19 years of experience with extensive training and knowledge about the water industry rather than with someone who has a personal axe to grind.

Nancy’s concern about the water rates for seniors and folks with low income is misplaced since the district has a policy that provides assistance to low-income residents.

In addition, her remarks about my income are also based on ignorance. I am on a fixed income. I know what it is like to have taxes and utility rates increase, however I know the increase in rates for both the Oak Lodge Water District and the Oak Lodge Sanitary District are necessary and the districts are taking the responsible actions to comply with the needs of the residents in their respective jurisdictions.

In the future, if Nancy could rely more on facts and less on rhetoric, it may serve to quell her anxiety and concerns. She has succeeded in her effort to be elected. I can only hope that when she takes on the duties of commissioner, she will do so in a more constructive manner than that which she has used to mislead the residents within OLWD.

Myron Martwick is a commissioner on the governing board of the Oak Lodge Water District.



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