There has been a lot of news recently about water problems across our nation and we have a few problems of our own.

As most of you know, a massive earthquake is in our future and we may be isolated for some time. KOVASHYou may also know that our water comes over the Willamette River in one 24-inch pipe that is not seismically secure.

You don’t have to think about that very long to understand that our city needs a reliable emergency supply of clean water.

We have had a fresh water intertie from Lake Oswego for a long time and because the Lake Oswego plant, which is in West Linn, is aged and needs to be replaced or relocated, Lake Oswego partnered with Tigard to form LOT.

More than a year ago the council approved the reconstruction of the plant and the installation of the 4-foot pipes needed for intake and the transmission of fresh water.

The plant and the pipes will be seismically secure and the intertie with West Linn will then not only connect to the LOT plant, but because of LOT’s connectivity to Tigard we will have emergency water available from a large network of storage facilities and transmission lines. And LOT is paying the bill.

This has a huge advantage for West Linn. If we had to build our own secure source of water it would cost about $12 milion and increase your water bills by more than 25 percent.

But that is not all.

Because of LOT, a new reservoir for West Linn becomes possible. Not only are we getting a seismically secure supply of emergence water backed up by a large distribution system, but LOT will pay West Linn $5 million, which will cover more than half the cost of that new reservoir we need.

Our main water reservoir is the Bolton Reservoir and it is 100 years old and was made for a city of 3,000 people. This reservoir is deteriorating and it needs to be replaced. And now, thanks to LOT, we can do that.

There are a few in West Linn who would have you believe that this agreement with LOT is just a win for Lake Oswego. But it is really a big win for West Linn.

It keeps our water rates low, saves millions of dollars, provides two components of vital infrastructure and ensures a backup supply of clean water — which in an emergency may be priceless.

This city council and manager have led West Linn for almost four years and by any measure — financial, infrastructure or services — we have positioned West Linn to continue to be one of the best places to live in the nation.

Members of the council are your neighbors who volunteer their time to formulate policy and to make positive decisions for the services and infrastructure that are essential for the long-term livability of our city.

Check out the city website at, we have a lot to be proud of.

John Kovash is mayor of West Linn.

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