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Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership honored for protecting cultural resources

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Members of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde brought 'The Man from Kosh-huk-shix' to George Rogers Park by canoe in July 2015, part of the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership's effort to protect and preserve cultural resources along the project's 10-mile route.The Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership has been honored by the American Cultural Resources Association (ACRA) for its commitment to protecting cultural resources during construction of the $254 million project.

“It’s an honor to be acknowledged for our stewardship and proactive approach to minimizing impacts to cultural resources,” says Project Director Joel Komarek, who was in Palm Springs on Sept. 19 to receive the 2016 Industry Award -Public Sector. “We collaborated with many stakeholders to install vital water infrastructure for our two communities in a sensitive manner, while also protecting and commemorating Lake Oswego’s cultural and tribal history through a unique exhibit.”

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership representatives Joel Komarek (right) and Terry Buchholtz accept the American Cultural Resources Association's 2016 Industry Award from ACRA President Duane Peter.The water project involved laying 10 miles of new pipe to bring water from a Clackamas River intake station near Gladstone to the Waluga Reservoirs in Lake Oswego and on to the City of Tigard. The construction crossed through several culturally sensitive areas, so project planners worked with archeologists, the state Historic Preservation Office and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde to develop a mitigation plan.

The team collected historical artifacts from the path of the project, which enabled them to reconstruct the history of when and how the area was used by Native Americans for an historical exhibit now on display at George Rogers Park.

The installation also includes "The Man from Kosh-huk-shix,” a sculpture created by tribal artist Travis Stewart, which was inspired by the story of a man who harvested eels from Willamette Falls and taught his village how to cook them to fend off starvation during a particularly brutal winter.

The water project is currently in its final stages. All work on the main pipeline through Lake Oswego has been completed and water is already flowing to the City of Tigard. The only remaining construction involves of an expansion to the intermediary water treatment plant in West Linn.

The project is scheduled to completely wrap up in Spring 2017.

— Anthony Macuk