Attorneys: City cannot enforce 28-month LOT timeline
After receiving second opinion, WL responds to complaint filed by resident
Nearly five months after a West Linn resident filed a legal complaint to the city of West Linn regarding the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership (LOT) project delay, the city announced it will not take any further action against LOT after seeking a second legal opinion.
The complaint, filed March 12 by resident Shanon Vroman, formally requested that the city take action to either modify or revoke LOTs conditional use permits for construction in West Linn. Such actions were necessary, Vroman and her attorney Neil Olsen argued, after LOT announced a nine-month delay on the completion of its water plant project in the Robinwood neighborhood of West Linn.
The Slayden Construction Group (SCG) announced in December 2014 that its project to expand and replace the LOT water treatment plant would be delayed. While the majority of the $250 million project 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.
At the time the complaint was filed, the West Linn City Council had already been advised by attorney Chris Crean that the city did not have the authority to enforce the projects original 28-month schedule. After receiving the complaint, the Council opted to hire an outside attorney for a second opinion before issuing a formal response.
That attorney, Ross Williamson from the Eugene-based Local Government Law Group (LGLG), was hired in June on a contract that was not to exceed $3,000. Ultimately, Williamson came to the same conclusion as Crean: The city had no legal authority to take further action against LOT.
We conducted an extensive analysis of the two land use permits that authorize construction of the treatment plant and pipeline, the record upon which the permits are based, the applicable provision of the West Linn Municipal Code and the applicable case law, Crean wrote in the formal response to the complaint. We also asked outside counsel to review our analysis and conclusions. Based on this review, we conclude there is not sufficient legal or factual basis for the City Council to initiate proceedings ... to modify or revoke the permits.
Crean further explained that a 28-month schedule was not a condition of approval for the project, and that even if it was, those 28 months have yet to pass. Construction at the water plant in West Linn began in 2013.
Vroman could not be reached for comment.
Mapleton Pipeline work
beginning next week
In the face of rumors about a delay on the LOT Mapleton Drive pipeline through West Linn, spokesperson Jordan Imlah said this was a misunderstanding and construction will begin next week.
(Construction) isnt really delayed, Imlah said. (The contractor) has to be done no later than Nov. 30, so theyre just not starting as soon as they thought.
So far everything is on plan to finish when they thought they would.