Facts support daylighting of Bernert Creek
There have been several incorrect statements made lately about the possibility of daylighting Bernert Creek in the riparian part of the White Oak
The information needed to correct these statements is listed below.
1. Oregon's Department of State Lands approved the City of West Linn's Wetland, Riparian, and Wildlife Habitat Inventory in January 2005.
This Goal 5 Inventory cost the City approximately $30,000 to complete in 2003. Upper Bernert Creek, which is the designation given to the White Oak Savanna in the Goal 5 Inventory, was given an enhanced score of 58 on the Habitat Assessment Summary, making it a significant natural resource.
Bernert Creek is listed on the National Wetlands Inventory and on Clackamas County's map as well. It should be on West Linn's Wetland Map. The only reason it is not is because of a mapping error. We, as representatives of the Savanna Oaks Neighborhood Association, testified months ago and gave the mayor and City Council copies of this information.
2. The City Council has received three maps that show Bernert Creek in the White Oak Savanna. One is a 2005 aerial map. One is a 2016 aerial map. The third is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife National Wetlands Inventory Map.
3. The City Council also received a copy of an email from Ken Worcester dated Dec. 22, 2012, where he states, "This old map shows the creek starting way over by Salamo Rd. which is interesting."
4. Chapter 32 of West Linn's Community Development Code supports Bernert Creek being daylighted. Under 32.020 (A) Applicability it states "This chapter applies to all development, activity or uses within WRAs identified on the WRA map. It also applies to all verified, unmapped WRAs. The WRA map shall be amended to include the previously unmapped WRAs."
5. And under 32.060 Approval Criteria (H) (1) Daylighting Piped Streams it states, "As part of any application, covered or piped stream sections shown on the WRA Map are encouraged to be 'daylighted' or opened."
This chapter of the CDC was erroneously omitted from the application the staff submitted to the Planning Commission in August 2017 for the White Oak Savanna's Natural Play Area.
6. The feasibility study completed by Herrera was also given to the City Council. The cost for daylighting is estimated to be about $320,000.
Lance Calvert, city engineer, stated on May 10, 2017, that just to fix the pipe would cost $160,000. Daylighting Bernert Creek would provide several benefits including providing shade and increasing hyporheic interaction with the soil to decrease water temperatures. Additional benefits will be highlighted in No. 7 below. It would also be a welcome spot for veterans from the nearby VA clinic.
The residents of the Assisted Living Center, located 5 minutes away, have requested two presentations in the past six months to learn about Bernert Creek. They are excited about the prospect of having a chance to sit by the creek and relax.
7. The City Council requested a hydrology report. The analysis of hydrologist Jon J. Rhodes, who has over 30 years' experience in this field, has been provided to the City Council. The neighbors paid for it.
With all due respect, Rhodes is better qualified to do a hydrology evaluation on the daylighting of Bernert Creek than the mayor. The mayor was quoted in the Nov. 13 online Tidings saying that it in his estimate it would cost at least $500,000 to daylight Bernert Creek. He stated at the Nov. 4 City Council meeting that it might cost at least $1 million. He has not
done a professional analysis of Bernert Creek. Among the many benefits of daylighting Bernert Creek that Rhodes listed are reducing the urban runoff, improving water quality and reducing pollutant loads delivered to downstream branches of Bernert Creek and the Willamette River, benefiting biodiversity, and reducing the long-term cost of maintaining drainage infrastructure.
8. Several prominent conservation organizations have read this hydrology evaluation and have submitted letters of support. These include Willamette Riverkeeper, The Wetlands Conservancy, Sierra Club, the Audubon Society, and Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District.
The facts are all clearly presented. Bernert Creek should be daylighted.
Ed and Roberta Schwarz are president and secretary of Savanna Oaks Neighborhood Association, respectively.
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