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2008 water plan is over-sized, over-priced


The present malfunctioning West Linn council headed by egotistical and wrong-headed Mayor John Kovash and previous malfunctioning councils going back to the misguided Mayor Norm King council that took office in January 2005 and the longstanding utility advisory board have all foolishly fell for and pursued the oversized and excessively expensive 2008 adopted water master plan instead of staying with the much less expensive (about $6,914,000 less) 2004 adopted water master plan.

The 2004 plan is perfectly adequate through build-out of West Linn within its present boundaries. It was deliberately designed by the Mayor Dodds administration not to have the capability to supply water outside of West Linn’s present boundaries into the Stafford Triangle, as does the 2008 plan.

All of the continuous and widespread pursuit of the 2008 master plan has a very noncommendable and tangled history.

Scott Burgess, being city manager during Mayor Thorn’s administrations, later became a city councilor at beginning of Mayor King’s administration and immediately contended there was a dire need to supersede the August 2004 updated water master plan produced during the former Dodds administration.

Burgess falsely claimed it wasn’t adequate and therefore had no continuing relevance.

Burgess gained support from a council majority of four during the first King administration in pursuing a new water master plan. That council ultimately signed a contract with the engineering consulting firm of Murray, Smith and Associates (MSA) to produce a new water master plan. The last King council unanimously adopted, in November 2008, the new plan produced by MSA.

The difference in major water facilities between the 2008 plan and the 2004 plan is the size and costs of their respective reservoirs and pumping facilities.

The 2008 plan incorporates a new Bolton Reservoir of 4 million gallons costing $8 million in 2008 dollars, for which the city is now embarked on letting a construction contract toward which it intends to initially make a partial payment by contributing the $5 million it anticipates getting from Lake Oswego for our council’s foolish approval of an enlarged Lake Oswego water treatment plant in West Linn.

That $5 million would instead far more than cover the cost of building the ample 2.4 million gallon Bolton Reservoir for $3,515,000 in 2008 dollars outlined in the 2004 plan.

The 2008 plan also proposes an excessively large new Bland Circle Reservoir of 300,000 gallons costing an estimated $525,000 compared to a proposed new Bland Circle Reservoir in the 2004 plan of only 100,000 gallons estimated to cost $221,900 in 2008 dollars. In contrast to the 2004 plan, the 2008 plan also includes a contribution of $2.2 million toward an entirely unnecessary Tigard-Lake Oswego intertie and $1.25 million toward an entirely unnecessary hilltop booster pump station that provides the capability to pump water to serve expansion of West Linn into the Stafford triangle.

Officialdom claims it’s needed to supply a water shortage in the Rosemont zone. That’s not the case. It has no shortage since developers were required to expand the Horton Pump Station and rebuild the View Drive Pump Station, both for purpose of feeding adequate water into the Rosemont zone.

The full story about the 2008 plan versus the 2004 plan must be continued in a subsequent column since a column cannot exceed 550 words.

Bob Thomas is a West Linn resident.