Initial construction of water treatment plant will begin in August

Though a review process at the Land Use Board of Appeals is ongoing, preparations for construction of the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership facility in West Linn are set to begin in August.

According to LOT Communications Director Jane Heisler, members of STOP LLC filed two petitions for review with LUBA. William J. More — the managing member of the Robinwood Shopping Center — and four others also filed a separate petition. by: TIDINGS FILE PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The Land Use Board of Appeals ruling on three appeals related to Lake Oswego's planned water treatment plant expansion in West Linn likely won't come until September, and in the meantime construction will move forward.

The petitions, which were submitted July 16, allege ex parte contacts on the part of West Linn city councilors during deliberations, as well as procedural issues and potential community development code violations associated with the treatment plant’s expansion, approved by the West Linn City Council earlier this year.

The cities of West Linn, Lake Oswego and Tigard have until Aug. 6 to file a response, and oral arguments would be scheduled a few weeks after that, according to Heisler.

All told, Heisler expects a final decision to be made by mid to late September. LUBA may choose to uphold the city council’s decision, overrule the decision, remand the decision back to the city council for further action, dismiss the case or transfer the appeal to circuit court.

In the meantime, LOT received its permit from the Army Corps of Engineers on Friday, and a series of “coffee with the construction manager” meetings will be scheduled in the near future in hopes to engage the public.

According to Heisler, the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife also granted LOT an extension of the summer’s “in-water work period” through Sept. 30, in large part to accommodate the construction of a river intake in Gladstone.

By August, the project contractor — Slayden Construction Group Inc. — will begin setting up office trailers and transporting larger construction equipment to the site.

“There will be some maneuvering of these large items at construction entrances,” West Linn City Manager Chris Jordan said. “And the contractor will use traffic control flag-persons to maintain public safety when deliveries are made.”

A bit further down the road, Slayden will begin demolition work at the construction site, removing the “lime” building and two of the four concrete lagoons. From there, some preliminary construction work will include excavation for the clearwell and the ballasted flocculation tanks as well as cast-in-place concrete work for new structures.

In summary, Heisler said, “Over the next six months, you’ll see equipment being mobilized to the site, construction trailers moving in and there will be some things demolished.”

This construction work will take place Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Work will not take place on Sundays or holidays in the absence of special approval.

Traffic moving back and forth from the site will occupy two separate routes, one on Mapleton Drive and the other on Kenthorpe Way in West Linn.

Lake Oswego has operated a water treatment plant at 4260 Kenthorpe Way in West Linn’s Robinwood neighborhood since 1968. In cooperation with the city of Tigard, Lake Oswego wants to expand the plant and run a new pipeline to address the future water needs of both cities.

The plant, which will hold up to 2 million stored gallons of water underground and handle up to 38 million gallons each day, also serves as an emergency backup water supply for West Linn.

Along with a new plant, the project involves the installation of a 4-foot-diameter pipeline from the Clackamas River under the Willamette River through West Linn and into Lake Oswego. The pipeline, which will be broken into four construction phases, will extend 1.9 miles in West Linn, crossing though both residential and commercial areas.

In February, the West Linn City Council approved two conditional-use permits that would allow LOT to go through with those plans.

West Linn residents have been actively fighting these permits for several years, with the LUBA appeals serving as their latest approach.

According to LUBA, an appeal does not automatically stop development that has already been approved by a city. A “motion for stay” must be filed and approved before the brakes could be put on a project.

Related coverage:
Lake Oswego launches work on river pump station

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