Double Pond, the Forest Grove water quality facility that has been doubling as Alec Lecarno’s fishing hole for the past few years, was officially pronounced off-limits at the Forest Grove City Council meeting Monday.

“That’s not the old fishing hole that we came to know and love,” said Mayor Pete Truax after Public Works Director Rob Foster reported on his investigation into the possibility of opening up the pond for fishing.

In testimony before the council last June, 13-year-old Alec Lecarno told councilors about how much he enjoyed fishing there and seeing wildlife, from osprey to otters (“Fish Fight,” News-Times, June 5).

Lecarno then asked the council to figure out an arrangement that would allow him and other kids to fish there legally, without the “No Trespassing” signs that prompted a nearby homeowner to call police whenever he spotted Alec fishing.

But Foster, who visited the ponds after Alec’s request, said they collect chemical-laden stormwater runoff from nearby Willamina Street, as well as phosphates from fertilizer used on nearby fields.

In addition, the banks are hidden by reeds and don’t have a clear trail, leading to the possibility of a child falling in and drowning, Foster said.

The “No Trespassing” signs now posted there are not just to protect people, but also to protect the plants that filter contaminants from the water.

Foster noted Monday that Alec was in the audience with his family and that “city staff was impressed with his interest in outdoor activity and also with his willingness to be involved in the political process.”

He said he felt bad about disappointing Alec but he couldn’t recommend opening the pond to the public.

Councilor Tom Johnston suggested the city pay for a fence to keep out children who might tumble into the pond, especially given that there’s a park nearby.

Foster noted that a fence could cost $15,000 to $20,000.

But Johnston said, “If you’re worried about a child’s safety, what’s $15,000 to $20,000?”

Afterward, Alec’s father, John Lecarno, said, “If anything, it’s a lesson in if you want to get something changed, this is how you do it. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.”

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