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.
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.
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.”
For years, partners have been preparing to transform this reach of Chicken Creek. In 1996, thanks in part to the grassroots support of Friends of Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, the US Fish & Wildlife Service purchased the surrounding land and initiated restoration efforts. In 2009, a half-mile upstream from the refuge, neighbors on Green Heron Drive began working with the City of Sherwood, contractors, and other partners to enhance the creek near its crossing with busy Roy Rogers Road. Since 2017, the US Fish & Wildlife Service has been creating opportunities for volunteers to do hands-on creekside restoration near the southern edge of the refuge.
More recently, partners embarked upon a long-awaited project that will realign Chicken Creek to its historic path, embracing the role that beavers can play in the placement of woody debris and revegetation. Project steps include modeling and excavating the historic path of the creek; rerouting and filling in the current channel; removing invasive species and replanting native vegetation; reestablishing a creek connection to the floodplain; and beginning long-term monitoring.
“When Hillsboro built its new city hall, the Hillsboro Civic Center, in 2005, it was built to withstand a major earthquake. Likewise, the city’s major construction project building a new water supply line from Wilsonville to Hillsboro, is being built to keep water pipes intact, even during an earthquake.”
Locals say cities are working to protect the region, but a massive quake will still cause havoc.
The “Big One” will devastate the Portland area even more than scientists expected, according to a new state geologists’ study of how a major earthquake will affect the tri-county area.
The study, released Thursday, March 15, found that a magnitude 9 earthquake centered off the Oregon Coast in the Cascadia Subduction Zone would cause tens of thousands of casualties in the Portland area, displace tens of thousands of residents from their homes, and cost tens of billions of dollars in building damage.
Virtually all of western Washington County’s population centers are within an area shaded red — the second-highest level of danger — on a risk map released along with the study by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.
The study estimates Hillsboro would be second only to Portland among cities in the metro area in forecast damage from a major Cascadia earthquake.
Depending on whether the magnitude 9 offshore quake occurs during the daytime or the nighttime, there could be as many as 7,700 casualties in Washington County alone, the study warns.
Up to 121 people could die immediately in an earthquake in Hillsboro, according to the study. In Forest Grove and Cornelius, the study estimates about 41 dead between the two cities.
As many as 14 percent of buildings could be total losses in the county, with the cost to repair damaged buildings estimated between $7 billion and $11.6 billion in today’s dollars.
Across the county, up to 37,700 people could be displaced for an extended period, according to the study. In the tri-county region, the estimates for long-term displaced range from 16,800 to 85,300.
Casualties, damage and displacement are expected to be higher if the soil is saturated — in other words, if it has been raining and the ground is soft, as it is for much of the year in northwestern Oregon. An earthquake that strikes during the day is expected to be deadlier as well. The top end of estimates represents the worst-case scenario, in which the soil is saturated and the quake hits during daytime hours.
While the eastern end of the region, including the Gresham area, is not expected to be as hard-hit as Portland and its Westside suburbs, damage is still forecast to be widespread as far as the Cascades.
“Although damage estimates vary widely throughout the study area, no community will be unharmed,” the authors concluded.
Recovering from a Cascadia earthquake won’t be just a matter of putting out fires and stemming floods. There will be region-wide challenges to restore power, bridges and freeways, provide emergency medical care and assure food and water can be delivered.
It will take months just to inspect homes and other damaged buildings to see if they are safe. Meanwhile, many will have to find other shelter, and some work places will have to be closed or relocated.
The Forest Grove Sustainability Commission, which advises the Forest Grove City Council on environmental issues, recently held an event at which Stacy Metzger dispensed earthquake preparedness advice.
Metzger volunteers as the “Map Your Neighborhood” coordinator for Forest Grove Fire & Rescue.
“For Forest Grove alone, the prediction is an earthquake of this size would create $496 million in property damage, 2,200 people in need of shelters, nearly 600 injuries (142 of which would require hospitalization), and 36 fatalities,” Forest Grove Fire & Rescue reported on its official Facebook page, listing some of the projections for the city from the state geologists’ study.
Such an earthquake is hard to imagine and difficult to predict, the agency said, but it would “undoubtedly devastate northwest Oregon.”
“This is a good wake-up call, and it is even more reason to get prepared for a large earthquake,” Metzger said Monday.
Metzger has two degrees in geology and spends a lot of time thinking about earthquake preparedness. But even she can’t predict what an earthquake will look like in her community of Forest Grove when it hits.
“I just say be prepared for the worst, and then you’re prepared for everything or anything, big or small,” she said.
Washington County and the Oregon Office of Emergency Management urge residents to be “two weeks ready,” keeping a two-week supply of necessities on hand in case of a major earthquake that cripples infrastructure and disrupts the transportation network. But Metzger encourages anyone who might find a two-week requirement daunting to start out by building a three-day kit. As she pointed out, you can always add to it later.
Hillsboro city officials have been preparing for a major earthquake for years, according to Tammy Bryan, emergency manager for the Hillsboro Fire Department.
“Prior to the release of this study, the region was reliant on information that was 20 years old,” Bryan said. “While this study does not tell us what will happen to specific homes or businesses, it does give us a greater understanding of potential impacts for our City. This information reinforces the need for continued planning, training, and collaboration to further reduce these impacts and become more resilient.”
When Hillsboro built its new city hall, the Hillsboro Civic Center, in 2005, it was built to withstand a major earthquake. Likewise, the city’s major construction project building a new water supply line from Wilsonville to Hillsboro, is being built to keep water pipes intact, even during an earthquake.
“While the threat of an earthquake may seem daunting, making a plan and identifying things you can do now to prepare can significantly reduce injuries and property damage,” the city wrote on its website about earthquake preparedness.
In the event of an earthquake, city services, such as police and fire, will likely be busy, so officials warn residents to prepare to deal with emergencies until help arrives.
“Emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility,” the city said. “Citizens need to have some basic first aid skills and supplies, and will need to fend for themselves for all but the most severe calls until the demands for service returns to normal.”
In addition to planning emergency kits, city officials urge residents to make homes “earthquake safe” by bolting down and securing water heaters, refrigerators, furnaces and gas appliances, and repairing leaky gas lines and fastening shelves, mirrors and large picture frames to walls.
New software, new findings
The new study shows more severe impacts than previous estimates. But it didn’t bring any surprises or point to any new prevention efforts that haven’t been considered before, said Dan Douthit, spokesman for the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management.
“We’ve already been expecting significant damages,” Douthit said, “and every year that goes by, we get more and more prepared.”
Emergency planners still will focus on the region’s greatest vulnerabilities, including more than 1,600 unreinforced masonry buildings in the city of Portland. Many of the buildings in Forest Grove, one of the region’s oldest cities, feature unreinforced masonry as well.
“We know that unreinforced masonry buildings are likely to collapse, especially during a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake,” Douthit said. “Those pose an immediate life safety risk for people in them and people walking by during an earthquake.”
But the new study, using more sophisticated Hazus software developed for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), enabled scientists to drill down to damages at the neighborhood level as never before. The software is being constantly refined, incorporating real-world experiences from floods and earthquakes taking place around the world.
That enabled scientists to calculate the number of deaths, life-threatening injuries and hospitalizations that will occur in different neighborhood clusters in Portland and cities around the tri-county area.
Scientists now calculate there have been at least 40 large-magnitude earthquakes over the past 10,000 years along the 600-mile-long Cascadia subduction zone off the coasts of Oregon, Washington and Northern California. The most recent one occurred in 1700, and one recent study calculated there is a 15 to 20 percent chance that another one will occur in the next 50 years off the central and northern Oregon Coast.
Though considerably less likely, an earthquake of magnitude 6.8 epicentered in Portland’s West Hills would be even more catastrophic locally — causing more than twice the casualties and damages — according to the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries study.
State geologists plan to release a second phase of their study next year, charting the potential impacts to Columbia County and Clark County, Wash., to the north of the tri-county region.
Mark Miller and Geoff Pursinger contributed to this report.
WILSONVILLE, OR — City officials on Tuesday reopened Boeckman Road west of Southwest 95th Avenue after a three-month closure, which had allowed for the construction of a new roundabout where the future extension of Southwest Kinsman Road will connect to Boeckman Road, near Southern Glazer Wine & Spirits.
The reopening is a result of the roundabout project being completed a week early, officials said.
The $11.3 million Kinsman Road Project, which began in July 2016, has an expected completion date of summer 2018, according to the city’s project website. Once complete, commuters will have a new thoroughfare from Southwest Barber Street to Boeckman Road through what is still currently open fields and wetlands.
The project, officials said, is a key component of the city’s Transportation Systems Plan, which ultimately seeks to establish an interconnected system of transportation options for Wilsonville residents and visitors. Specifically, the Kinsman Road extension will provide a new route for large trucks as they traverse the city’s industrial districts, alleviating congestion on both Boones Ferry and Boberg roads, officials said. The project also gives public transit officials new options for routes in the city’s westside residential and employment areas.
New sidewalks, bike lanes, and a 10-foot-wide multi-use pathway along the Coffee Lake Creek wetlands will further complement the restoration of roughly 2.5 acres of natural habitat, officials said.
Also taking advantage of the project is the Willamette Water Supply Program, which seeks to install a 66-inch water pipeline under Southwest Kinsman Road as part of its effort to connect the mid-Willamette River to Hillsboro’s water infrastructure.
An extension of Kinsman Road is under construction, with the pipeline planned for its right-of-way
Written by Claire Colby, Wednesday, 09 November 2016
The first pieces of the Willamette Water Supply Program (WWSP) pipeline have been laid in the Kinsman Road Extension project.
Created by the Tualatin Valley Water District (TVWD) and the City of Hillsboro, the WWSP is going to tap into the mid-Willamette River at Wilsonville to create additional water supply source for the TVWD and Hillsboro. Although the pipeline will run through Wilsonville, the City of Wilsonville won’t be paying for construction or using the water. The City is, however, partnering with WWSP and funding the $8.3 million Kinsman Road Extension. Negotiations with the WWDP about compensation for the use of the Wilsonville water treatment plant and for other inconveniences the City will undergo are ongoing.
Design for the WWSP started in January 2014 and has been in various phases of design with construction starting in 2016. Despite the City of Tualatin opting out in August and the City of Beaverton still deliberating if they want to be involved in the project, the first steps in the regional water system partnership to supply additional water to the area are underway.
Starting with its intake source at the Wilsonville water treatment plant in the mid-Willamette, the nearly 30-mile stretch of mostly 66-inch diameter water pipeline will have water storage tanks and water intake improvements to the existing water treatment plant.
The construction project began in July with work to extend Kinsman Road, combining existing infrastructure projects to help minimize congestion and reduce expenditures by not having multiple construction crews and management agencies, according to WWSP Media and Community Relations Coordinator Marlys Mock.
For the Kinsman project, a nearly half-mile extension of Kinsman Road, north of Barber Street to Boeckman Road, is set to improve north-south access, improve freight and residential mobility and add bike lanes, sidewalks and nature crossings.
While roadway infrastructure is being added, an upsized sanitary sewer pipe as well as a section of the WWSP water pipeline will be installed in the right-of-way. The estimated $8.3 million Kinsman project is being funded by the City of Wilsonville with partial federal aid assistance from the Federal Highway Administration, providing $3.6 through a combination of two federal grants.
“This cost includes design, property acquisition, permitting and construction for the roadway project,” Civil Engineer Zach Weigel said. “The project also includes upsizing and relocation of a sanitary sewer pipe at an additional total estimated cost of $1.4 million of which no federal grant money is included.”
One of the City’s WWSP project advisors, Mike Kohlhoff, said that the City is still in negotiations with the WWSP about compensation for the use of the water treatment plant and for other inconveniences the City will undergo. Kohlhoff said that they hope to reach an agreement by the end of the year but that there is no set timeline.
Whatever the negotiated figure comes out to be, according to Mock, the project is taking advantage of every cost-cutting measure available without sacrificing quality, including using Portland-based Northwest Pipe Company. By using the local company, the project is saving trucking costs while hauling the 66-inch pipes, benefitting the local economy.
Although the WWSP is priced in total at $1.2 billion, Wilsonville taxpayers shouldn’t be concerned about their taxes increasing.
“It’s not paid by taxes at all,” Mock said. “The project is funded by ratepayers in the TVWD and City of Hillsboro service district area and there’s going to be a bond spread out over time.”
Hillsboro Tribune Written by Travis Loose, October 27, 2016
The Willamette Water Supply Program saw its first bit of tangible progress this month, bringing one step closer the Willamette River-sourced secondary water supply for Hillsboro and the Tualatin Valley Water District service.
The primary source of water for Hillsboro is the Tualatin River, fed by the Hagg Lake and Barney reservoirs.
On Oct. 10, officials with the project, in coordination with engineers working on the Kinsman Road Extension in Wilsonville, installed the initial stretch of pipeline in the right-of-way as part of the city’s Kinsman Road construction project — a nearly half-mile long road extension with bike lanes and sidewalks north of Barber Street to Boeckman Road.
“This is a historic moment toward the completion of the Willamette Water Supply System,” said Program Director Dave Kraska. “Installing this first pipe is the beginning of following through on the vision and good planning taken by TVWD and the city of Hillsboro over the years. It is a big step forward in making this important regional reliable drinking water supply a reality.”
The Willamette Water Supply Program is a partnership between the city of Hillsboro and TVWD to bring water to ever-expanding Washington County.
Tualatin Valley Water District serves about 22,000 residents in Washington County from Hillsboro to Beaverton and Tigard. When finished, the project is expected to supply water to more than 300,000 residents and some of the state’s largest employers for the next 100 years.
The project will take a decade to complete, with several portions of the project to be installed as areas work on previously planned road construction.
According to project officials, the Kinsman Road construction represents one of many coordinated, combined construction partnership opportunities along the 30-mile water pipeline’s route, which will ultimately result in significant cost savings for water ratepayers by eliminating the need for multiple construction projects.
Marlys Mock, the project’s spokeswoman, said officials are constantly looking for ways to improve the pipe’s final route — while working with each of the projects’ engineers — in an effort to prevent costly projects from becoming even more so as a result of incorporating the pipe’s construction.
This was evident in a recent pipeline route alteration on Cornelius Pass Road in Hillsboro.
“The Cornelius Pass Road change eliminates the previous 205th/206th (Avenue) ‘bump out,’ which will decrease the route length and the number of stream crossings,” Mock told the Tribune.
“The revised route will also save construction time and project cost. Through careful evaluation of the proposed routing we are creating a more efficient, cost effective and less intrusive project.”
A second alteration, along the Tualatin-Sherwood route near Sherwood, was made to protect natural resources in the area, said Mock.
“The (new) route also takes advantage of possible opportunity projects — lessening traffic impacts along the busy Tualatin-Sherwood Road by combining efforts with Washington County,” Mock said, “which is (also) planning road improvements along the preferred pipe alignment.”
The next stick of pipe will be laid in conjunction with the 124th Avenue Extension Project — an interim two-lane road between Tualatin-Sherwood and Grahams Ferry roads. The project, which Mock anticipates will begin in November, will also construct safety improvements on Tonquin and Grahams Ferry roads.
Completion of the Kinsman project is projected for late 2017, and late 2018 for the 124th Avenue project.
For more information on the Willamette Water Supply Program, the pipeline’s route, or the partnered construction projects, visit ourreliablewater.org.