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LOT project is not 'the best that can be done'

I am writing in response to Jan Castle’s March 14 (citizen’s view).

It would appear that Ms. Castle has joined West Linn’s Mayor Kovash to become the latest spokespeople for the LOT project. Unfortunately, both of them accept any and all information received from LOT as gospel. It would appear from Ms. Castle’s comments that the LOT website and phone line are her only sources of information.

In her letter Ms. Castle mentions some things she did not know about the project and praises the LOT staff. Well, here are a few other things she may not have known:

By its own admission, LOT never did any alternative site analysis. Both have reasonable alternatives that were not explored or considered. Tigard can continue to use Bull Run water or get excellent and plentiful water from the state of the art Wilsonville water plant. LO can and should explore the Foothills area for a new plant.

LO and Tigard rate payers will suffer the brunt of this while being told that it is necessary for their water future. I would recommend that Ms. Castle examine the Carollo Report. This was used by LOT as expert analysis to support the need for this project. After its projections of water usage and future needs were found to be grossly inaccurate, LOT staff was quick to refer to it as only a preliminary study.

LOT staff has misrepresented this project to the people in West Linn from its very inception. This project is being built in a seismic red zone. Ms. Castle’s elite staff has repeatedly spoken to the likelihood of a major earthquake and gives this as a reason for this project. It stuns me that reasonable people would not realize that building in a residential neighborhood magnifies this risk. Are Ms. Castle and other proponents so naïve as to believe that making it “seismically sound” is a better option than placing it in a less consequential environment?

In its condemnation of neighborhood CC&Rs and suing of those in the neighborhood, LOT has been both bullying and insulting. It is continuing in this trend by holding off payment of this settlement while moving forward (or backward) by destroying hundreds of trees in the neighborhood even while there are appeals happening that could slow or even stop the project.

It now appears that Tigard will be getting the majority of water from this project. So, Tigard dips its straw into an overly allocated Clackamas River where it holds no actual water rights and builds its water plant in a West Linn residential neighborhood. This may make sense from Ms. Castle’s lofty perch, but from the perspective of those down at ground zero with a bit more sense of reality, it is patently absurd.

Ms. Castle and her touted staff are saying that this project in its current form is the best that can be done. I think not and would suggest that she explore beyond the LOT website for facts and information. This project has far too many negatives for all three cities involved and should have been stopped long ago. If it should happen that the LUBA and/or WaterWatch appeals should prevail, there will be some explaining to be done and hopefully some heads that will roll.

Scott Gerber is a resident of West Linn.




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