In the News

Groundbreaking set for 124th Ave. extension to Graham’s Ferry Road

“The first section of the more than 30-mile-long Willamette Water Supply system will be installed in the new road right-of-way. It is the first section of the earthquake-resilient water transmission pipeline to be built as part of the Willamette Water Supply Program.”

The Washington County Department of Land Use & Transportation will host a groundbreaking ceremony the extension of 124th Avenue is set for Thursday, Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. The ceremony, which will also recognize a water project that will pipe Willamette River water from Wilsonville to Hillsboro, is set for the south side south side of Tualatin-Sherwood Road and Southwest 124th Avenue.

The $30 million road project will extend 124th Avenue south from Tualatin-Sherwood Road to Tonquin Road. Once the extension intersects with Tonquin Road (2,000 feet east of Morgan Road), it will cross with a new road that will run parallel to Tonquin before connecting with Grahams Ferry Road.

Expected speakers at the ceremony include Andy Duyck, chairman of the Washington County Board of Commissioners; Lou Ogden, mayor of Tualatin; Krisanna Clark, mayor of Sherwood; Tim Knapp, mayor of Wilsonville; Mike Duyck, fire chief for Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue; and Marilyn McWilliams, board president for Tualatin Valley Water District.

The new road and pipeline highlights partnerships between the Willamette Water Supply Program and Washington County, along with the cities of Sherwood, Tualatin, Wilsonville and Hillsboro.

Officials say by combining the two major projects through interagency collaboration, traffic and construction impacts will be minimized, and both agencies will save money by reducing construction and project management costs.

In addition, the Willamette Water Supply Program and Washington County continue to work together to identify future opportunities to partner on additional sections of the water transmission pipeline.

For the city of Sherwood, the 124th Avenue extension is important for economic reasons.

In 2012, Sherwood voters approved annexing 300 acres of property as part of what’s known as the Tonquin Employment Area with plans to create a light industrial zone for future production-type employment along 124th Avenue. The 1.3-mile roadway is part of the Basalt Creek Transportation Refinement Plan.

Safety improvements also will be made to sections of Tonquin and Grahams Ferry roads, totaling 4.4 miles of new and/or improved roadway.

Construction for both the road and pipeline projects is scheduled to begin later this year and be completed in 2018.

The Willamette Water Supply Program will fund the pipeline construction and a proportionate share of other project costs.

Washington County’s Major Streets Transportation Improvement Program (MSTIP) will fund road construction work.

The first section of the more than 30-mile-long Willamette Water Supply system will be installed in the new road right-of-way. It is the first section of the earthquake-resilient water transmission pipeline to be built as part of the Willamette Water Supply Program.

— Ray Pitz

Read original article in The Times

 

Unlikely Source Keeps Willamette Valley Fertile In Drought

By Eric Tegethoff  OPB  (Oct. 26, 2015)

“We’ve got this big, deep, huge volcanic aquifer,” said Grant. “I can’t find another place on the planet that has the same kind of properties as our place does.”--U.S. Forest Service Research Hydrologist Gordon Grant 

When summer began this year, signs weren’t good for water in the Willamette River Basin.

Record low snow packs had already melted, spring precipitation was well below average, and — for some cities — it had been the hottest June on record.

By the time summer was over, the Detroit Lake Reservoir had dried up to an unprecedented level. And according to the Department of Agriculture, Oregon is still experiencing severe drought.

But U.S. Forest Service Research Hydrologist Gordon Grant said the record-setting conditions haven’t stopped water from flowing to the Willamette River.

He said that river systems in states like California are struggling with drought because they rely on melting snowpacks and reservoirs.

Meanwhile, the Willamette basin has an extra leg to stand on.

“We’ve got this big, deep, huge volcanic aquifer,” said Grant. “I can’t find another place on the planet that has the same kind of properties as our place does.”

Given the conditions, which Grant said were equivalent to what we might see if the planet warmed 4 degrees, scientists had predicted the Willamette would hit record low levels.

When that wasn’t the case, hydrologists started thinking about why.

The most likely candidate was this deep volcanic aquifer.

Not much is known about the aquifer, except that it acts like a giant underground sponge seeping into the river through groundwater.

No one is sure how it will react if the drought continues either.

However, Grant said that climate change models for the region might have to take the large water supply into account.

Read original article on OPB

Water wizards ready to juggle local supply

A strong El Niño season could mean another dry year for western Washington County

Before Victoria Lowe became a Forest Grove city councilor, she battled drought and water scarcity in Nevada and Texas.

After her arrival in Oregon, Lowe’s interest in protecting Forest Grove’s watershed drove her into the political arena, where she now hopes to spare Washington County residents from similar water shortages in the face of Oregon’s current drought.

“I would like to think about conservation before the last drop comes out of the pipe,” Lowe said recently.

Thankfully, western Washington County’s current situation isn’t that dire.

But without careful planning and citizen cooperation, it could be a lot worse than it is.

Continue reading Water wizards ready to juggle local supply

Last vestige of the Westside Bypass finally takes shape

By Dana Tims The Oregonian/OregonLive
(July 10, 2015)

But that’s exactly what’s getting underway in southern Tualatin as work gears up on the last vestige of the fabled but fated Westside Bypass.

“I’m not trying to overstate this or be melodramatic,” said Lou Ogden, Tualatin’s mayor for the past 20 years. “But this is a huge deal for both us and, from a transportation standpoint, the most important thing to happen to Tualatin during my time here.”

Continue reading Last vestige of the Westside Bypass finally takes shape

Governor Brown Declares ‘Water Awareness Month’

July’s proclamation encourages all Oregonians to use water wisely

(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown today declared July “Water Awareness Month.” With 20 counties under emergency drought declarations and approximately 98 percent of the state experiencing drought, Governor Brown is directing all state agencies to assist the Oregon Water Resources Department in increasing awareness about Oregon’s water resources challenges.

“I am asking all Oregonians to do their part to use water wisely,” said Governor Brown. “Water is the foundation for local economies and ecosystems, and essential to the health and well-being of Oregonians. Drought is a slow moving disaster, adopting responsible water use practices now will help reduce the impact of drought for years to come.”

The proclamation cites as causes for concern the lowest statewide snowpack level on record; the third warmest average temperature from January to May in the past 121 years; and below normal rainfall. The proclamation also recognizes some climate scientists’ prediction that over the next 50 years Oregon is likely to lose most of its snowpack and become a rain dominated system.

Continue reading Governor Brown Declares ‘Water Awareness Month’

Willamette Water Supply Program begins constructing pipeline in partnership with Washington County’s 124th Avenue Extension Project

Willamette Water Supply Program partners, City of Hillsboro and Tualatin Valley Water District (TVWD), are teaming up with Washington County to construct nearly 2.7 miles of a large-diameter drinking water transmission pipeline in conjunction with the County’s 124th Avenue Extension road project. This is the first section of the more than 30-mile water transmission pipeline to be built as part of the Willamette Water Supply Program.

The water transmission pipeline project will start at SW Tualatin-Sherwood Road and continue south, then continue east along SW Tonquin Road, then continue south on SW Grahams Ferry Road, ending near SW Day Road. The road project includes extending 124th Avenue south from Tualatin-Sherwood Road across Tonquin Road, then continuing east to Grahams Ferry Road. Road improvements will also be made to sections of Tonquin Road and Grahams Ferry Road.

The Willamette Water Supply Program will fund the pipeline construction and a proportionate share of other project costs. The County’s Major Streets Transportation Improvement Program (MSTIP) will fund road construction work. Construction for this collaborative pipeline and roadway project is scheduled to begin fall 2015 with completion anticipated to occur by the end of 2017.

Continue reading Willamette Water Supply Program begins constructing pipeline in partnership with Washington County’s 124th Avenue Extension Project

124th Avenue Extension Project

The first section of the Willamette Water Supply Program’s new water transmission line will be installed as part of Washington County’s 124th Avenue Extension Project.

Washington County is extending 124th Avenue north from Wilsonville to Tualatin-Sherwood Road to improve regional mobility and provide access to future commercial and industrial lands between Tualatin and Sherwood. The new road extension will include one travel lane in each direction. In addition to the 124th Avenue extension, safety improvements will be made on Tonquin Road and Grahams Ferry Road.

124th Avenue Extension Project Fact Sheet

New program manager tapped to get Willamette River drinking water to Hillsboro

By Dana Tims | The Oregonian/OregonLive  (April 08, 2015)

A long-time professional engineer has been tapped to help design and build a 30-mile pipeline that will provide Willamette River drinking water to more than 300,000 Washington County residents.

Dave Kraska, who brings more than 25 years of experience in the water industry, will serve as Tualatin Valley Water District’s Water Supply Department manager.

“We’re thrilled Dave has joined our team,” said Mark Knudson, the district’s chief executive officer. “His experience, reputation and personality are exactly what we need to deliver this complex program.”

The city of Hillsboro and TVWD, acting together, form the Willamette Water Supply Program. They are embarked on a $1 billion effort to supplement drinking water sources that currently include the Tualatin River, area reservoirs and the city of Portland’s Bull Run.

Continue reading New program manager tapped to get Willamette River drinking water to Hillsboro

Route Chosen For Major Pipeline Running Willamette River Water To Hillsboro

OPB News (SoundCloud Link)

A route has been determined for a 30-mile pipeline that would provide more than 300,000 residents and businesses in the city of Hillsboro and other west Portland suburbs with water from the Willamette River.

On Tuesday, the city of Hillsboro and the Tualatin Valley Water District revealed their proposal for the location of the major pipeline, which would run water from the Willamette River at Wilsonville, around the periphery of Tualatin, Tigard and Beaverton, and then out to Hillsboro.

A project of this size could cost around a billion dollars, and financing it may cause rates to increase for customers, said Todd Heidgerken, interim director for the Willamette Water Supply pipeline project. But in the long term, Hiedgerken expects the pipeline to add resiliency to the region’s water supply.

Continue reading Route Chosen For Major Pipeline Running Willamette River Water To Hillsboro

Wilsonville-to-Hillsboro water line route, just unveiled, is a study in time, patience

The Oregonian/OregonLive (Written by Dana Tims,  March 07, 2015)

Todd Heidgerken is the first to note that long-term water planning isn’t a profession suited to anyone expecting immediate gratification.

As evidence, he pointed to this week’s landmark decision regarding where to build a 30-mile pipeline linking 300,000 current and future Washington County residents with treated drinking water from the Willamette River Treatment Plant in Wilsonville.

The water right that the Tualatin Valley Water District needs to tap the Willamette was secured nearly 40 years ago, said Heidgerken, Willamette Water Supply interim program director.

And even now that a preferred pipeline route has been identified, it will be more than a decade before Willamette River water begins flowing to spigots in Hillsboro.

Continue reading Wilsonville-to-Hillsboro water line route, just unveiled, is a study in time, patience