During the past several years many citizens in West Linn have been waging an uphill battle with LOT (Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnerhsip) and our own city over the new water treatment plant being constructed in our city. This is not an “expansion of the existing plant” but a brand new plant with the old plant being removed in its entirety.

We are not a “small, angry group of neighbors” but representative of every active neighborhood association in the city and the West Linn Chamber of Commerce.

During the planning commission hearings, we presented a petition with more than 1,100 signatures of West Linn citizens supporting our opposition to LOT’s project. 

There are two major reasons we have opposed this plant, the first is that it is located in a seismically unstable location and, the second, is that it provides no benefits to West Linn.

On Monday night of this week, our city council considered our city manager’s concept of “overwhelming community benefit.” The new intertie agreement he is proposing states that LOT should “endeavor to supply the water” requested by West Linn so long as this doesn’t have any detrimental impact on LOT’s water needs. It further stipulates that it is contingent on LOT expanding its treatment capacity to 38 million gallons and limits West Linn to 4 million gallons per day to 2041. This replaces the existing intertie agreement that both West Linn and Lake Oswego have used for years that limits water to 6 million gallons per day and no termination date.

West Linn will now pay LOT water rates and not our own in the current agreement. How does less water, limited access and more expensive water equal an “overwhelming benefit to the community” as required in our city code? Our city has no guarantee of emergency water under this agreement and now is in line behind Tigard for any available water.

The $5 million payment for a major right of way down Highway 43 “in perpetuity,” long after LOT has committed to providing us water if it suits them, is a joke. This should have been a yearly payment and obviously tied to the duration of the project to be meaningful. They will likely be able to recoup this payment in commercial water sales in a relatively short time, while we live with the plant for much longer. 

LOT has aggressively pursued this plant and bullied any who dare oppose them. They sued the neighbors on Mapleton to surrender their property covenants, they managed to block our opposition from any contact or support from our own city during much of the fight and now they are threatening the heirs of Mary S. Young State Park with their legal team if they should contest LOT’s interpretation of the agreement they signed giving the park to the state. LOT has a $250 million-plus hammer to use to accomplish their goals and they have used it to the detriment of our citizens!

Lamont King is a West Linn resident.

Contract Publishing

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