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Mayor Kovash's letter contains a lot of make-believe

A column by West Linn Mayor John Kovash in the June 6 Tidings is a cross between fact and make-believe.

The approximate first half of his column is factual in accord with a report from the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission describing the devastating consequences to our water and wastewater systems from a magnitude 9 earthquake. This is essentially what I said would be the dire consequences of a magnitude 9 earthquake in my column in the Aril 25 Tidings. One can Google search “Richter magnitude scale” to see what a magnitude 9 earthquake can do in near or total destruction of buildings and large loss of life.

In the approximate last half of his column, Kovash lapses back into magical thinking land. He says that fortunately a significant change in our water system is underway as the Lake Oswego-Tigard (LOT) Water Treatment Plant and its ancillary water pipes are being constructed in West Linn to survive a catastrophic earthquake. That is make-believe nonsense for a magnitude 9 earthquake.

He further says there will be a connection from the plant to the West Linn water system so West Linn citizens will be able to count on water from the LOT partnership even if our system fails during a catastrophic event. What a crazy, ridiculous statement for Kovash to make. If our water system fails as a result of a magnitude 9 earthquake, which it surely will, all of our waterlines will be ruptured. No water can then be delivered to anyone, and furthermore, the LOT Water Treatment Plant will be severely damaged and its ancillary water pipes will be ruptured.

On a couple of other points, Kovash says our main reservoir (the Bolton Reservoir) sits on a side hill and is in poor condition.

That’s true, but even when it’s replaced at a nearby location it can be rendered useless by a magnitude 9 earthquake, as can all of our other reservoirs. Kovash also says that our 24-inch water supply line that is suspended from the I-205 bridge was not built to withstand an earthquake. That’s not exactly true. The I-205 bridge and our water line were seismically upgraded in 2001, but undoubtedly not enough to withstand a magnitude 9 earthquake.

Kovash rambles on to repeat what he claimed previously, namely that the LOT “seismically hardened system” (which is make-believe terminology because it can’t be seismically hardened to withstand a magnitude 9 earthquake as explained above) will come at no cost to West Linn rate payers and that LOT will provide a $5 million payment to West Linn that will go a long way toward replacing our 100-year-old Bolton Reservoir.

As I said in my April 25 Tidings column, Kovash and the rest of our council are irresponsibly wedded to the oversized and excessively expensive 2008 adopted water master plan, so they will pursue building its oversized 4 million gallon Bolton Reservoir at a cost of $8 million in 2008 dollars instead of responsibly building the ample 2.4 million gallon Bolton Reservoir for $3,515,000 in 2008 dollars outlined in the 2004 adopted plan. Assuming LOT provides a $5 million payment to West Linn, that would far more than cover the cost of building the ample 2.4 million gallon Bolton Reservoir outlined in the 2004 adopted plan.

Bob Thomas is a resident of West Linn.




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