City plan calls for $44M overhaul of stormwater, sewer, water and roads

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Inadequate stormwater drainage has caused flooding on Charbonneau streets in recent years, one of many motivators behind a proposed $44 million infrastructure overhaul in the planned community. A proposed $44 million plan to revamp public utilities in Charbonneau will go before the public Wednesday, July 30, at a public house in the Charbonneau Country Club dining room.

The 6:30 p.m. gathering will provide a more detailed look at the city’s plan to overhaul stormwater, sewer, water and street systems that all are original to the construction of one of Oregon’s first comprehensive planned developments.

“This definitely has everyone’s attention,” said Wilsonville City Councilor Julie Fitzgerald.

As envisioned, the plan would take place over 20 years. It aims to repair and upgrade key utilities, most notably a stormwater system that already is inadequate to prevent street flooding in certain parts of Charbonneau during periods of heavy rain.

Dubbed the Charbonneau Consolidated Improvement Plan, the needed work is divided up into 15 spot utility repairs and 38 large infrastructure repair projects. These have been prioritized based on the length and severity of utility deficiencies within each of the 38 project areas. As a result, the city says the highest priority repairs are to be completed first. The plan also includes short- and long-term proposals to revamp the French Prairie Drive pathway that loops through the entire development.

Presently, the project list in the draft plan will be considered for adoption at the Aug. 4 Wilsonville City Council meeting. Public testimony will be taken both Wednesday and Aug. 4.

“What we have right now is an assessment of all the needs that have been identified,” Fitzgerald said. “I wouldn’t say it’s an actual plan yet; I think we now have a lot of information in front of us, and now the details have to be worked out as to when the city should undertake the aspects of the identified needs and how to do it in the most cost effective manner.”

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Charbonneau's roads, including the main loop, French Prairie Drive, are probably in the best sharp of any of the district's public utilities, according to recent city inspection of the area. She added that she appreciates the grouping of proposed repairs into 38 project areas. This will allow work to be done on all aspects of infrastructure — roads, sewer, water and stormwater - at one time within a single, contained area.

“I’m glad to hear the city is working from that perspective,” she said.

The Charbonneau District was constructed starting in 1972 and was finished in the early 1980s as one of Oregon’s first master-planned communities. A significant portion of the Charbonneau infrastructure has been in service for 30 to 40 years now, which approaches or exceeds the service life of many of the materials and methods used for construction at that time. Much of the infrastructure also was not built to current standards, adding to the need for repair and upgrades.

The proposed Charbonneau Consolidated Improvement Plan was first brought before the City Council July 7 and again on July 21. The July 30 meeting marks the third public meeting where the topic will have been addressed; it is, however, the first at which public testimony and input will be sought.

Of the $44 million-plus estimated cost to complete work in all 38 zones, some $19.6 million of that is identified for stormwater work.

The proposed Charbonneau plan is primarily a technical document identifying infrastructure improvement needs. It is not intended to identify funding sources or future budget impacts.

“We’ve been aware of the need to study (Charbonneau) for quite some time,” Wilsonville Community Development Director Nancy Kraushaar told the city council July 7. “Public Works has been videoing a number of the pipelines out there for a number of years, and we finally have that information all together now.”

That ability to look closely inside sewer, water and other pipelines, Fitzgerald pointed out, also did not exist even in the recent past.

“I imagine people aren’t thinking ‘no one is doing anything,’” she said. “But now we’re looking at the comprehensive scene out and there, and we now know there is a lot to be done; we can’t ignore it and I’m glad we have this comprehensive view of the place that we didn’t have before we had this technology.

“So we’ll get the public input and I think this... will be the first feedback when we have that meeting; sometimes it takes a long time to get information out to people.”

By Josh Kulla
Assistant Editor / Photographer
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