Work on Tualatin-Sherwood Road is sure to be a nuisance. But the payoff will last longer.
And as work continues to build a massive new pipeline system from the Willamette River in Wilsonville up to the communities of Hillsboro, Aloha, Beaverton and Tigard, sections of roadway are being dug up so pipe can be laid in the ground. (On the plus side, that water supply work is providing some of the impetus for the county to finally get to rebuilding Tualatin-Sherwood and Roy Rogers roads through Sherwood.)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is awarding two sizable loans that will be used to help pay for $1.3 billion in Willamette Water Supply System improvements.
One loan for $388 million is being awarded to the Tualatin Valley Water District, and the other for $251 million is going to the city of Hillsboro. The money will go toward construction of intake facilities, over 30 miles of pipeline, a water treatment plant and two storage reservoirs.
The program calls for the expansion of the existing municipal raw water intake facility on the Willamette River in Wilsonville, along with construction of a new water treatment plant in Sherwood. The former will be built between 2020 and 2024, while the latter is scheduled to be built between 2022 and 2025.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Oregon Department of State Lands also have approved the project’s environmental permits, while land use permitting is in progress for various elements.
“The benefits significantly reduce the rate impacts to our customers,” Tualatin Valley Water District CEO Tom Hickmann stated in a press release, “while simultaneously helping provide an additional water supply that results in protecting public health with a reliable drinking water source and fueling the economy with jobs now and in the future.”
The EPA has estimated the two WIFIA loans will save the water district an estimated $138.4 million and the city of Hillsboro an estimated $125.2 million when compared with typical bond financing terms.
Southeast Cornelius Pass Road in Hillsboro is set to be widened in the early to mid-2020s.
While the construction project won’t break ground for about three more years, the Washington County Department of Land Use & Transportation is getting a head start on its public outreach. It has scheduled an open house for the widening project on Tuesday, Sept. 10.
Members of the public are invited to drop by to ask questions of the project team and provide input from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 10 at R.A. Brown Middle School, located at 1505 S.E. Cornelius Pass Road.
Construction is expected to take place from 2022 to 2024. Concurrently, a 48-inch pipeline for drinking water will be laid down beneath the roadway as part of the Willamette Water Supply Program, which is building a network of water pipelines and other infrastructure to channel drinking water from the Willamette to water customers in Hillsboro and the Tualatin Valley Water District, which covers most of Aloha and Beaverton and part of Tigard.
The Environmental Protection Agency has approved two new loans, totaling $640 million, for a major water-supply infrastructure program in western Oregon.
The loan approvals, announced on Aug. 19, are part of EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, or WIFIA, program and will help finance the $1.3-billion, multi-year Willamette Water Supply System program.
A $388-million loan is going to the Tualatin Valley Water District and a $251-million loan to the city of Hillsboro, Ore., which have teamed up on the project. Andrea Watson, spokesperson for the water district, said its loan closed on Aug. 2 and the Hillsboro loan closed on Aug. 16.
EPA’s action represents the first time that it has approved more than one WIFIA loan for a project.
The city of Beaverton, Ore., on July 1 joined the water district and Hillsboro as another partner in the project but it isn’t involved in the loans.
Work at the National Wildlife Refuge is focused on restoring the creek to its original shape.
The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is starting a yearlong project to re-create the original curvature of Chicken Creek.
The creek, which naturally flowed into the Tualatin River, was constructed into a single straight line a century ago for farming purposes.
“When you straighten (a creek), the water goes a lot faster and carries a lot more sediment in it, and it doesn’t carry as much diversity in the channel,” Refuge manager Larry Klimek said. When it returns to its natural flow, he added, “It’ll slow down and spread out over the landscape.”
The construction will help create a natural wetland system on the Refuge’s 280-acre Atfalat’i Unit.
Klimek said he doesn’t anticipate water staying in the creek channel, because beavers will most likely come and dam portions of the creek, causing it to pond and flood.
“It just creates a whole lot of other diversity,” he said. “So now you have water influencing a much larger area than just one strip coming down.”
The construction has been a part of the Refuge’s comprehensive conservation plan since 2013.
Organizations like Ducks Unlimited, Friends of the Tualatin National Wildlife Refuge, Willamette Water Supply and…
Cornelius water customers would see their rates hiked nearly 10%. Most of Hillsboro’s rates would go up less.
For the third time in four years, the City of Hillsboro is looking at raising water rates for customers in the city, as well as Cornelius, Gaston and Laurelwood.
The city’s utilities commission plans to consider the matter in October, but Hillsboro officials are hoping for feedback from the community about the changes by the end of this month.
If approved, the water rate increases would go into effect next year.
The proposed increases would raise the rate for single-family homes by 4.9%, nearly the same increase the city imposed last year, when it raised water rates for single-family customers by 5%. According to the city, a typical resident living in a single-family home uses about 6,000 gallons of water per month. Their water bill would increase by $1.68, from $34.34 to $36.02.
Customers are charged based on how much water they use, as well as the frequency they use. Actual percentages are expected to…
Longtime city employee Niki Iverson will take over JWC as well as Hillsboro Water Department.
HillsboroTribune Geoff Pursinger Tuesday, July 16, 2019
The city of Hillsboro has hired a new head to the regional joint water agency responsible for providing water to a large swath of Washington County.
Niki Iverson has been named the city’s new water department director, and will take over as general manager of the Joint Water Commission.
The Joint Water Commission provides water to more than 375,000 people in Hillsboro, Forest Grove, Beaverton and the Tualatin Valley Water District, which serves parts of Hillsboro and Beaverton. The JWC operates the largest water treatment plant in Oregon.
Iverson is no stranger to Hillsboro. As the city’s water resources manager for the past 12 years, Iverson was oversaw water quality monitoring, reporting, watershed management and water rights.
Iverson replaces longtime water director Kevin Hanway, who retired last month after 14 years as the head of the JWC.
“Niki is the most effective manager I know,” Hanway said. “She is recognized statewide for her expertise in the water field and in infrastructure finance. Our partners know Niki and trust her judgment, and Water Department staff are excited for the continued progress that her leadership will bring.”
Iverson takes over at an important time. The cities of Hillsboro, Beaverton and Tualatin Valley Water District are working on the massive Willamette Water Supply Program, which will pump water from Wilsonville to Washington County by 2026. Construction on the project is currently underway.
“Niki is highly regarded and respected in the regional water community, and has the necessary skills and work ethic to lead the Hillsboro Water Department and JWC well into the future,” Interim City Manager Robby Hammond said. “Hillsboro has a long-standing reputation of forward thinking and strategic planning, and Niki is well prepared to continue that tradition.”
Hillsboro Tribune, Olivia Singer Tuesday, February 19, 2019
There are seven years left in the development of the Willamette Water Supply Program.
Roughly halfway through a massive $1.2 billion project creating an additional water source for cities across Washington County, including Hillsboro, officials say it’s still on track to go live in 2026, and the next few years will see lots of construction in the region.
COURTESY PHOTO – A map and schedule of planned projects within the new water system development.
Since 2012, the Tualatin Valley Water District and the city of Hillsboro have been partnering to build the Willamette Water Supply System, which will draw in water from the Willamette River near Wilsonville through a new pipeline system to Hillsboro.
It’s an effort to increase water supply for the projected growth Hillsboro and neighboring cities are expecting to see in the next couple decades, an opportunity for Hillsboro to have more than one water source — which most surrounding cities do — and it’s a seismically resilient water system, TVWD media and community relations coordinator Marlys Mock said.
Coordinators are proud of the work they’ve done up to this point, Mock said, with 96 percent of the money spent on the project so far spent locally, all completed construction done by local contractors, and with minimal disruption construction-wise, coordinating with local jurisdictions to build the pipeline at the same time as road projects, lessening traffic and construction impacts and reducing project costs.
“(The project) has been broken up (into sections) partly because of jurisdictional boundaries, but also so that local contractors would have an ability to bid and win the work,” Mock said. “We didn’t want such an enormous project that it would take an international company to do, and so that effort has worked because so far all of our contractors are local.
The pipeline will run through South Hillsboro — from Southeast Blanton Street to Tualatin Valley Highway, to Southeast Frances Street and Southwest Farmington Road to Southeast Blanton Street — with some of that portion of the project’s construction already underway. Project managers were able to coordinate with the new construction happening in South Hillsboro, building the pipeline at the same time the major parts of construction take place, Mock said.
More local construction, including the Cornelius Pass Pipeline Project from Southeast Frances Street to Highway 26, is expected to begin in 2021 and be completed in 2023, according to the project map.
The additional water supply will serve well for the region’s future, Mock said.
“After a big earthquake, like what they are expecting, this is the only system that will be up and running,” Mock said. “So for the regional recovery aspect and trying to get water back online in weeks or days instead of months or longer, (it is) really important for that.”
Mock added, “Again, the additional source for Hillsboro so that they are not so dependent on one, and then we will still have a connection with the City of Portland, but this also gives us that local ownership and control. … To own your own system, that’s pretty great.”
Mock said other cities, including Beaverton, are likely to join in on the partnership. But whether they choose to or not, the water system will serve as an emergency backup for them.
“We hope to have emergency connections along the way to other communities, so even if the City of Sherwood decides they don’t want to become part of this partnership, they still have an emergency intertie so that if something happened to their source, they could get water from us,” Mock said. “But the more partners that come on, the better.”
The development of an additional water supply through a partnership “supports the region’s plans for responsible growth within the urban growth boundary,” coordinators said. “There is enough water for today — but steps need to be taken now to have an adequate supply to meet future demands and provide greater safety and reliability.”
Mayor Steve Callaway’s annual state of the city looks back on the year that was, and the future of Hillsboro
The president’s annual State of the Union address is often seen as a formal, serious affair, but in the Hillsboro Civic Center on Tuesday night, surrounding by bicyclists, plenty of jokes and a parody video of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” Hillsboro Mayor Steve Callaway’s annual State of the City was anything but.
Callaway, who has served as Hillsboro’s mayor since 2017, said the annual address is meant to be a celebration of the city’s accomplishments, and a look toward the future.
“The city loves to have fun,” Callaway told a packed crowd on Jan. 29. “It’s true in everything we do, including our state of the city.”
Callaway outlined a number of accomplishments the city achieved in 2018, touching everything from transportation to sustainability.
“As a city government, we never shut down,” Callaway said, poking fun at the partial shutdown of the federal government, which ended last week after more than a month. “Since Oct. 19, 1876 we have been serving our community for 52,042 consecutive days, plus about 18 hours and 10 minutes. Cities don’t shut down and our budgets always balance.”
In a city where more than one-quarter of the population is non-white, the city has launched a plan to bring more cultural arts to the city, and purchased children’s books for its city libraries in seven new languages. It launched a Spanish-language city newsletter and continued its mission to engage the community through its Civic Leadership Academy, which works to prepare residents to serve on city boards and commissions. City Councilor Beach Pace is the first graduate of the program to be elected to the Council.
Callaway said the city is working to be more inclusive and engage with diverse community members.
“We’re taking the time to get it right,” Callaway said.