Wilsonville resolves water intake dispute
The regional water pipe agreement between Wilsonville and adjoining jurisdictions appears to have evaded its last hurdle.
After Tualatin Valley Water District sought a pump slot currently used by Wilsonville at Wilsonville's Willamette River Water Treatment Plant in February as part of the "Big Pipe" project negotiations, Wilsonville rebuffed the request — thus putting the major water project in jeopardy of collapsing in the last leg of the race.
But TVWD seems to have acquiesced — agreeing to allow Wilsonville to keep all four of its current pump slots — and in turn vaulting the agreement across the finish line.
The project is a joint agreement between Wilsonville, TVWD, Sherwood, Hillsboro and Tigard to expand Wilsonville's water intake facility, allow access to its water treatment plant and build a pipeline that would flow from Wilsonville to Hillsboro. Wilsonville will gain 5 million gallons per day in extra capacity while retaining control of the plant and only having to pay $125,000 in construction costs — compared to millions by other jurisdictions — and receive seismic upgrades for free. However, the city will undergo extensive construction for a project that will largely benefit other cities.
According to Wilsonville officials, losing out on one of its four pump slots would hinder the city's water intake flexibility and violate the stipulations of the agreement.
"We said it wasn't in the best interest of our plant and gave them reasons why. The ground lease says nothing can be done at the site that has adverse impact on the site," Wilsonville City Attorney Barbara Jacobson said. "They reviewed our reasons for declining and then said they wouldn't require it (taking an additional pump slot)."
The project has been passed by all relevant governmental bodies and will go into effect April 18 — 30 days after the pump slot issue was resolved. Construction is currently underway in some areas of Wilsonville, will ramp up this summer and is project to be completed in 2026.
"Now that that issue is resolved we can go ahead and sign all the documents. The legal work is completed. What happens next is developing the project through the city," Jacobson said. "That will now be the focus of the engineering department rather than the legal department."