I appreciate the recent decision by the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners to pursue the purchase of the Blue Heron property in West Linn. I want to thank the Water Environment Services (WES) planners for explaining the county's goals with this purchase.

Furthermore, I want the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners to know that many of us in West Linn are listening and appreciate their effort to come up with a creative, cost-effective solution to our future water treatment needs while helping West Linn preserve the wet lands of the Blue Heron property.

WES planners explained that they started looking at the property in West Linn because of its close proximity to the water treatment facility across the river. They informed me that their comparative research confirmed that other options for increasing the area's future water treatment capability were prohibitive compared to the purchase of the Blue Heron Property in West Linn.

They determined that the water treated - which heats up during the cleaning process - at the Clackamas plant can run in pipes under the river to the lagoons and, over that distance, will be cooled enough to allow outflow into the river. The infrastructure for this will all be underground - (the) county will need about five acres of the 49 for the underground system, access to the outflow to the river and the existing pump station on the property - while the majority of the lagoons can be mitigated for wetland preserve, trails, parks, sports field and/or possibly more.

Future discussion about what would go there will be important for West Linn and Willamette residents to be a part of. This is a long term plan; there will be many layers to this process. The bottom line is that the county is very willing to help make the surface of the lagoon area into something we can all enjoy.

Elizabeth Smolens is a West Linn resident.

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