Voters in the City of
Victor Chudowsky said in a questionnaire to Cascade Business News: “We should reduce the cost of the SWIP by lobbying for an exemption from filtration rules, switching to a less expensive filtering system, and dropping the hydropower element if it is not of immediate benefit to ratepayers.”
Doug Knight was adamant in his opposition: “I was one of two City of
Sally Russell noted: “Although it appears that the City is moving forward on the $68 million surface water project, this community cannot afford to be spending money on projects that aren’t critically necessary today. The City could have been much smarter with this project.”
In September Central Oregon Landwatch sued over a major portion of the project with hopes of overturning a Forest Service permit allowing the city to replace miles of aging pipeline and build a water intake facility at Bridge Creek, a tributary of Tumalo Creek. Attorney and founder of Landwatch, Paul Dewey said he believes the Forest Service was not correct in letting the city build this project on federal lands and that it violated federal laws.
Landwatch, which plays a vital role in achieving a responsible, balanced approach to planning for and conserving
Central Oregon Landwatch occupies an essential niche in protecting
Landwatch was joined in its opposition to the project by an organization called Stop the Drain believing: “this project is unnecessary, it relies on incomplete studies with misleading information, it is not cost-effective and the decision-making process by which the City of Bend chose it was entirely mishandled. Because the decisions we make today will affect
Since the court blocked the project, city officials attempted to find a resolution to the lawsuit, but after only one meeting with opposing factors mediation sessions were called off.
Bend Mayor Jeff Eager (who will be replaced on the council by Victor Chudowsky in the new year) said that a new proposal will be forwarded to the Forest Service that would maintain the current limit on city water withdrawals from Bridge Creek. Thus if the city wants to take more water from the creek in the future, it would have to offset the additional amount somewhere else.
Landwatch, who is the main player in this dispute, does not feel this is a satisfactory solution.
There is absolutely no doubt that stopping this project as planned has cost the city money in delays. But this isn’t the first time the City of
Despite the current council’s good intentions, they have lost a major legal battle. The voters elected four councilors opposed to the project and the water plan now needs to go to the new council in January.