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Water plant is no benefit to West Linn

Regarding the water treatment plant ... there are so many reasons why this proposal is a bad idea that it’s hard to know where to begin.

There’s the fact that this project is not so much an expansion as a complete replacement.  Almost nothing of the existing plant would remain after the construction. As such, it defies logic that LOT has not even considered another site.

Then there’s LOT’s constant harping on the expanded intertie as a new benefit to West Linn. Why does it need to be expanded? West Linn’s need in an emergency has not changed. Lake Oswego, on the other hand, has added 40,000 Tigard customers to its service area. So who does the expanded intertie really benefit?

There is, of course, the well-documented fact that the existing plant was built in a geotechnical red zone, which means that the soil is subject to liquefaction in the event of a large earthquake. When the soil around the 2 million gallon clear well liquefies, then all that water will go rushing down the hill into the Willamette along with everything else in its path.

There’s the threat of development of the Stafford triangle that is made possible by the additional water this new plant could produce. LOT says they won’t try to develop Stafford, but they’ve said a lot of things during this process that haven’t turned out to be true. So I, for one, don’t believe that they will stick to that promise. And if we let them build this plant in our city, then we will be complicit should they decide they do want to develop Stafford after all.

And how about the latest attempt by LOT to tip the scales in their favor with the $5 million right of way fee? LOT has obviously recognized the validity of the arguments made by the planning commission when they unanimously voted to deny the permits. Instead of addressing the core issues, they simply opened up the purse a little bit wider and tried to grease the skids. Then the lawyers got creative and drew up a document to legitimize it.

But maybe the best reason is the most obvious of all. The community development code of West Linn contains a requirement that in order for a proposal to be granted a conditional use permit, it has to result in a facility that is consistent with the overall needs of the community. We have listened for two years to LOT argue that this new plant is a good idea and that we should accept it in our neighborhood. 

We are the community and we are not convinced. We, the community, do not see this proposal as on overall benefit to us. Over a thousand of us signed a petition telling LOT to go back to the drawing board. It couldn’t be more clear.

It’s time to stop this madness!

Sam Stephens is a West Linn resident.



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