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Proposed water pipeline to run through West Linn

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Line will run from Gladstone to Tigard


The cities of Lake Oswego and Tigard are moving forward with their plans to expand a water treatment facility and install new a pipeline spanning from Gladstone, through West Linn and into Tigard.

As part of the project, Lake Oswego and Tigard have submitted an application to run more than 10,000 feet of pipe through West Linn.by: SUBMITTED - This map outlines the route a proposed water pipeline will run from Gladstone, through West Linn and Lake Oswego and into Tigard.

The pipeline application, which was submitted July 2, goes hand-in-hand with the Lake Oswego-Tigard Partnership’s plan to expand its water treatment plant, which sits in West Linn’s Robinwood neighborhood.

The more than nine miles of pipes will run from an intake pump in Gladstone that collects water from the Clackamas River, through a portion of Gladstone and under the Willamette River, coming out near Mary S. Young Park, along Mapleton Drive to the water plant, then down Highway 43 into Lake Oswego, through Lake Oswego and then on to Tigard’s Bonita Pump Station.

The proposed pipeline project will take up to eight months to complete just in West Linn, where it involves about two miles of pipe. The section of pipe near Mary S. Young is slated to go through state-owned property but is not part of the park.

Since the 1970s, Lake Oswego has piped water from the Clackamas River through a 24-inch-wide pipe. With the new partnership, the pipe must be upsized to accommodate the extra water being run to Tigard. LOT will be using its existing right of way where the current pipeline sits and, for the most part, run the new pipe adjacent to the existing pipe.

Despite much opposition from the water plant neighbors, LOT wants to increase the capacity of the treatment plant from 16 million gallons of water a day to 38 million gallons a day. The increased capacity will allow Lake Oswego to supply water to Tigard.

Starting in Gladstone, the raw water line will run 70 feet below the Willamette River’s bed using a technique called horizontal directional drilling. The rest of the pipeline will be installed using standard open trenching. The trenching will be done in segments of up to 100 feet a day.

Equipment will be used to break up the concrete and asphalt surfaces. Then trenches will be dug using backhoes and dump trucks to remove the excavated dirt. After the trench is dug, new pipes will be laid and the trenches will be filled. After each segment is completed it will get temporary paving. Permanent paving and restoration will be done after the pipeline is tested and complete.

Construction sites will include heavy equipment like backhoes, cranes, concrete trucks and generators. “Trucks may come and go delivering specialized equipment to the site, like tunneling and drilling machines; or supplies like pipe materials and grave,” stated a brochure from LOT. Other disruptions may include dust, mud, road closures, detours and obstructed traffic.

“Construction of the RWP/FWP (raw water pipe/finished water pipe) will be lengthy, occasionally noisy and inconvenient for residents and drivers,” according to the application.

Back in January, representatives from LOT visited 72 businesses along the Highway 43 corridor to discuss possible disruptions and mitigation during construction. A letter was also mailed to Mapleton Drive residents. Construction is expected to last about five months along Highway 43 and three months on Mapleton Drive.

“Although construction is a long way off and many details remain undetermined, our partnership staff is committed to maintaining open communications with you before, during and after construction,” stated the letter to area businesses.

The estimated construction time for the pipeline is in 2014 and lasting up to a year. It could involve lane closures. Highway 43 construction will be conducted during the evening and early morning, from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., as per the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Jane Heisler, LOT communication director, said LOT will work with affected businesses, especially those that are open in the evenings.

“We’ll make sure they have access and good signage,” Heisler said.

This application is currently under review by city staff and, if deemed technically complete, will be considered at the same time as the water treatment plant application this fall.

On May 16, the West Linn Planning Commission granted LOT’s request to suspend the proceedings on the water treatment plant application so the commission could combine the review of both projects.

In its application, LOT lists some benefits the projects will give West Linn if they are approved. Among the benefits are the existing agreement with Lake Oswego that supplies West Linn with emergency water, replacing the asbestos cement water pipe on Mapleton Drive, repaving Mapleton Drive and $90,000 of enhancement projects at Mary S. Young Park.

In September, the Planning Commission will combine the applications into one hearing process and will decide the outcome of each application by a separate vote.

Coinciding with the application of the pipeline, the West Linn staff is recommending the creation of a franchise agreement with LOT for use of the right of way. Franchise agreements are commonly made between cities and utility companies that require an annual fee for use of the right of way. West Linn could charge LOT per linear foot of pipe.

According to Assistant City Manager Kirsten Wyatt, West Linn has not typically made use of franchise agreements. However, officials are considering it with the proposed pipeline.

The council is expected to appoint someone to help the city negotiate an agreement with LOT. In a separate resolution, it is expected the city council will move to allocate a percent of the franchise funds to the Robinwood neighborhood for a set number of years. Those franchise funds could then be used to address all the planned projects for the neighborhood, bumping the neighborhood to the head of the line for projects in the city’s capital improvement plan.

Although Lake Oswego is currently using right of way for existing pipes, the franchise agreement could be conditional to the approval of the project.