Decaying stormwater system most pressing need

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Built over a 10-year period starting in 1972, Charbonneau was one of the first planned developments of its kind in Oregon. Today, however, streets, stormwater lines and other infrastructure typically are built to higher standards. As a result, the areas stormwater system, including outfalls like this one, are past their expected service life. One of Oregon’s first planned communities, Charbonneau in Wilsonville, needs a $46 million infrastructure overhaul, city staff says.

The Charbonneau Consolidated Improvement Plan, presented to the City Council July 7, outlines 20 years worth of upgrades and repairs for the neighborhood, which was built in the early 1970s and into the ‘80s.

“The infrastructure is aging,” Community Development Director Nancy Kraushaar told the council during a work session, noting that construction methods and materials have improved over the past four decades.

Among the most pressing — and expensive — needs identified by staff is the replacement of Charbonneau’s stormwater infrastructure, which would cost an estimated $19.6 million.

Problems with that system are outlined in the city’s 2013 Stormwater Master Plan:

The majority of the storm system was constructed of corrugated metal pipe that is decayed and at the end of its design life. There have been few replacements since the original installations.

Further flaws in the system have resulted in more flooding during rainstorms, according to the Stormwater Master Plan.

Surveys of Charbonneau’s infrastructure needs began in 2009. Information collected ultimately became the Charbonneau Consolidated Improvement Plan.

“It’s a larger dollar plan than we hoped, and would ever want to bring to the City Council,” Kraushaar said. “But it is based on some really good information.”

Other Charbonneau infrastructure needs highlighted in the plan:

* Road repairs at an estimated $10 million

* Water main repairs at an estimated $8 million

* sewer mains repairs at an estimated $6.8 million

* Pedestrian-bicycle path on SW French Prairie Road at an estimated $1.8 million

Under the Charbonneau Consolidated Improvement Plan, work would be divided into 38 zones across community and ranked according to urgency of need.

Zachary Weigel, a civil engineer for the city, told the council that about 15 projects identified as among the most critical will be expedited as standalone projects.

“We estimated that to do all those projects would take about 15 years,” Weigel said. “So we looked at ways to speed up the time it takes to get those projects completed and they came up with spot repair idea that will break out a few urgent projects on their own to do first. That sped up the repair of those high priority sewer and stormwater projects by probably 6 or 7 years.”

Other, less crucial, repairs will be undertaken concurrently to save money.

A draft resolution of the improvement plan will go before the council July 21. Barring anything unexpected, a series of final resolutions adopting repairs for each utility into its respective city master plan could be adopted as early as Aug. 4.

“We’ll have additional recommendations for you,” said City Manager Bryan Cosgrove, “maybe with differing service levels, but there are other options we’ll bring to you. This is a big number — when I saw it I just about fainted. I know it’s a lot to swallow, so we’ll bring additional recommendations for you to discuss.”

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