Negotiator hired to work out agreement for pipeline right of way

The city of West Linn is moving forward with attempting to negotiate a franchise agreement with the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership in conjunction with the planned installation of a new water pipeline through the city.

The city is seeking to bring in more income by charging a fee to use the right of way for a utility, such as the waterline for Lake Oswego. Franchise agreements are commonly made between cities and utility companies that require an annual fee for use of the right of way.

According to Assistant City Manager Kirsten Wyatt, West Linn has not typically made use of franchise agreements. However, officials are considering it with the proposed pipeline.

The impetus of the franchise agreement is LOT’s plans to expand its existing water plant that lays in the West Linn Robinwood neighborhood and the installation of larger water pipes from Gladstone, through West Linn and Lake Oswego and into Tigard.

Since the 1970s, Lake Oswego has piped water from the Clackamas River through a 24-inch-wide pipe. With the new partnership with Tigard, the pipe must be upsized to accommodate the extra water being run to Tigard. LOT will be using its existing right of way where the current pipeline sits and, for the most part, run the new pipe adjacent to the existing pipe.

The city sees this as a chance to help mitigate the affects of construction on Robinwood residents by directing some of the money to the neighborhood for improvements.

It is expected the city council will move to allocate a percent of the franchise funds to the Robinwood neighborhood for a set number of years. Those franchise funds could then be used to address all the planned projects for the neighborhood, bumping the neighborhood to the head of the line for projects in the city’s capital improvement plan.

Several weeks ago, City Manager Chris Jordan approached the city council with the idea of hiring an outside negotiator to work out an agreement between LOT and the city. The city could charge LOT per linear foot of new pipe, which is about 2 miles, as well as for the existing pipeline. The agreement may not necessarily be a franchise agreement, but could also be a license or a permit, Jordan said.

According to Jordan, the agreement would have two pieces. The first piece would be an agreement on the existing line and the second would be a condition if the new land use application is approved, then a second set of fees would go into place.

The city received proposals from three potential negotiators with a variety of experience. The proposed estimated costs ranged from $2,375 to $12,060.

“I think all three would be good,” Jordan told the council during its July 16 work session.

The council agreed to allow Jordan enter into a contract with Larry Patterson, who had the lowest bid. Patterson is the former city manager for several cities, including Ashland, Oregon City and Bend.

Councilor Mike Jones said although the prime purpose of hiring a negotiator was a franchise agreement, he said he hoped it would be broadened more to help represent the residents and businesses affected by the plant and pipeline projects.

“I personally think it’s really important ... that the negotiator would look at everything that is going on from 5,000 feet and be able to say there is some mitigation that should be available,” he said.

Jones also expressed concern that an agreement may cause the appearance of council bias if either of the land use cases come before the council. However, both Jordan and Damien Hall, a city attorney, assured Jones the agreement would not be cause for bias.

The negotiator adds on to the list of players in the LOT plant and pipeline proposal. The city of West Linn is already dealing with a mediator to work with neighbors, a contract planner to work with the neighbors along with all the team members from LOT. Because of the growing laundry list, Councilor Jody Carson requested an outline of who all is involved in the projects and their roles.

The council reached a consensus on who to hire as a negotiator and have scheduled a special meeting for Aug. 6 to vote on the matter. By that time, the city hopes to have a plan on how to proceed with negotiation.

Contract Publishing

Go to top
Template by JoomlaShine