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WL resident files legal complaint in response to LOT delay

Asks for City Council to 'enforce terms of conditional use permits'


A West Linn resident has filed a formal legal complaint to the city of West Linn regarding the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership (LOT) project delay.

The resident, Shanon Vroman, filed the complaint through attorney Neil Olsen of the Zupancic Rathbone Law Group, stating that, “The City Council’s approval of (the project) was clearly conditioned upon LOT completing construction of its water treatment plant and related facilities within 28 months” and that the council “has the authority to hold LOT to account and should exercise that authority for the benefit of the residents of West Linn.”

“The only hope my neighbors and I have held onto was that the construction would end as and when promised,” Vroman said in a press release. “I could not sit idly by and watch as LOT told the City that the 28-month construction schedule was not a condition of approval and act in a totally unaccountable fashion.”

The Slayden Construction Group (SCG) announced in December that a project to expand and replace the LOT water treatment plant in West Linn would be delayed by approximately 11 months. Though the majority of the $250 million project — which is designed to upgrade and increase system capacity to deliver drinking water from the Clackamas River to Lake Oswego and Tigard — will be completed by summer of 2016, final completion of the water plant is not expected until early 2017, according to LOT.

The delay comes amid concerns that the project won't be able to draw as much water from the river as initially expected, due to a recent court decision.

Since that original announcement, LOT Project Manager Joel Komarek said that mitigation efforts — including six day, 56 hour work weeks — have cut the delay down to nine months.

At a Feb. 9 West Linn City Council meeting, City Attorney Chris Crean was asked to brief the city on possible legal measures to enforce the project's original timeline. However, Crean said that there was “nothing in the permits or development code that requires a specific construction schedule,” and that the city had no grounds for legal action against LOT.

In subsequent interviews, city officials have said it would be unusual for the city to set specific construction timelines as a condition of approval.

Vroman’s attorney disagreed. In a March 12 letter to the City Council, Olsen wrote, “These significant delays not only violate the (conditional use permits), but will subject the people of West Linn and impacted neighborhoods to more than a year of additional industrial-scale construction, disruptive road work and heavy truck traffic.”

Olsen argued that the council has the right to either revoke or modify the construction permits by means of a revocation hearing.

More to come.

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