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WL fights new fees from Oregon City

OC ordinance added $110,000 in right of way fees

Facing $110,000 in fees after Oregon City adopted a shared utility ordinance, West Linn will fight back in the form of waiver requests.

The ordinance, which was passed by Oregon City last November, requires West Linn to pay $5,000 annually for the use of a water transmission line located on Oregon City public right of way. The pipeline was first installed in 1972, according to City Manager Chris Jordan.

As a result of the new ordinance, West Linn is also on the hook for 40 percent of the $85,000 fee owed by the South Fork Water Board — which is partly owned by the city — and a share of the $191,000 Tri-City Service District fee.

The South Fork Water Board serves as a wholesale water provider for West Linn and Oregon City, while the Oregon City-based Tri-City Service District treats wastewater for West Linn, Oregon City and Gladstone.

The fees add up to an estimated $110,000, and at a March 31 work session the West Linn City Council voted to request multiple waivers from Oregon City.

“This motion would do two things,” city attorney Tim Ramis said. “One, it would authorize the city to send a letter to Oregon City requesting a waiver of the proposed street fees. Second, it would authorize the city’s representatives on the South Fork Water Board to make a similar request on behalf of South Fork rate payers.”

Mayor John Kovash and City Councilors Mike Jones and Jody Carson each serve as members of the South Fork Water Board.

Before the March 31 vote in West Linn, the Board of Clackamas County Commissioners sent a waiver request to Oregon City on behalf of the Tri-City Service District. The Oregon City Commission denied that request at its April 2 meeting.

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