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Atmospheric river, aging infrastructure lead to sinkhole on Strawbridge Parkway

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF SANDY - A sinkhole appeared on Strawbridge Parkway on June 11. On Saturday, June 11, the atmospheric river experienced by much of Northwest Oregon combined with aging infrastructure led to a large sinkhole on Strawbridge Parkway in Sandy.

A service truck driver found out the hard way about the obstruction and had to be removed as city staff temporarily closed the roadway.

"This is in an area in which rehabilitation work on the stormwater system is already being performed," staff members informed the community via Facebook on June 11.

On Tuesday, June 21, Public Works Director Jenny Coker told Sandy City Council that repairs were ongoing on the sinkhole and involved stormwater pipes and requested an emergency approval of $371,959.60 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to cover the costs of fixes and the already planned relining of the stormwater system.

The council previously approved contracting Oxbow Construction for the city's Collection System Rehabilitation for the Inflow and Infiltration Reduction Project. Basins 2 and 8, which required rehabilitation, include a 150-foot-long, 48-inch-wide corrugated metal storm sewer pipe at Tupper Road.

According to the staff report presented by Coker, "the bottom of the pipe had eroded away, and an emergency fix was required as there were concerns of a failure causing damage to the roadway."COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF SANDY - Public Works Director Jenny Coker requested approval for use of emergency funds to repair a sinkhole and corroded stormwater pipes near Tupper Park.

"As Oxbow Construction was preparing to initiate the relining project, an unusual late season atmospheric weather event occurred," Coker said. "On June 11, 2022, it was reported that a sinkhole formed on Strawbridge Parkway along the same stormwater pipeline at Tupper Park that was previously authorized for an emergency repair. The 48-inch pipe conveys No Name Creek. There was significant washout of roadbed backfill. Public Works responded to the sinkhole and cordoned off the area."

The council approved the funding to come from the city's remaining $2.5 million ARPA funds. Of this, $151,959.60 already had been approved in April for relining the stormwater line, so an additional $220,000 was approved June 21. COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF SANDY - The city already had planned repairs for the stormwater pipes that gave way to a sinkhole on Strawbridge Parkway on June 11.

"There is concern of further erosion and damage as the storm pipeline has collapsed, creating a void, and portions of asphalt around the sinkhole and sidewalk are unsupported," Coker said June 21. "A water line and SandyNet fiber are in the immediate area as well and at risk. Strawbridge Parkway is closed at Tupper Park.

"DSL was notified of the situation and public safety concerns on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, and the city is in the process of submitting a permit for an emergency repair authorization," Coker said.

"The stormwater fund does not have enough funds available to allocate to this project. Using the ARPA funds or general fund contingency would avoid the need to take on additional debt in the fund and reserve rate increases toward other stormwater utility capital and operations."

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