Much money has been spent by the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership (LOT) to prove their essentially new water treatment facility must be built now, must be built in West Linn and cannot possibly be sited anywhere else in the entire Portland area, especially not in Lake Oswego or Tigard.

LOT claims it will save West Linn millions on infrastructure when really only a half a mile of Mapleton water pipe will be replaced, and West Linn will have to pay for half of that.

But then there’s the intertie, which West Linn benefits from so much that we must swallow an entire $250 million water facility just to keep it. And, by the way, in order to connect the intertie to new LOT transmission facilities, West Linn will have to spend millions of dollars in upgrades. So much for saving West Linn money.

So, what about the wonderful intertie? Lake Oswego has used it to buy water from West Linn seven times in the last 10 years, as has West Linn from Lake Oswego. So why must Lake Oswego’s new water plant be in West Linn? With this type of thinking couldn’t an equally valid case be made for locating West Linn’s water plant in Lake Oswego?

Why stop at examining the benefits of emergency water?

How many times have Lake Oswego’s police assisted West Linn? Maybe we should be the site for their next new facility. Did police from other jurisdictions ever help us out? If so, shall we site them here too?

What about other emergencies? How many times in the last 10 years did another city’s fire vehicles assist West Linn? Let’s start buying up West Linn homes and condemning CCRs now so these cities can get a nice spot in another neighborhood for their next fire and EMT.

Finally, West Linn’s library administration emergency requires sharing a library director with Wilsonville for a few months. Better get ready for Wilsonville to come along and expect us to pony up land for some library functions.

Does this seem extreme or ridiculous? What if the number of times these public agencies helped West Linn was more than seven times in 10 years? Do we really expect to give up taxable West Linn property so these functions for other cities can locate here too?

If not, then why so many special exceptions for LOT’s water plant?

Let’s just focus on water for a minute. Suppose the new intertie benefits West Linn in the future by sending water through Lake Oswego from Tigard, which got the water from Portland. West Linn better be ready to site the next Portland water plant here because we benefitted from water a few times in a certain number years.

If this sounds absurd, realize that it is exactly what LOT is expecting.

The community which is supposed to benefit from conditional use permits is West Linn. Isn’t it reasonable to deny a project designed for the everyday normal use of other cities?

The comprehensive plan and the CDC have tried to protect our neighborhoods from inappropriate development. Why are all these carefully constructed documents being ignored just because Lake Oswego and Tigard don’t want to waste their own land on a nontaxable, industrial structure?

Gwen Sieben is a West Linn resident.

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