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Published: Wednesday, 8/3/2005

Oregon: Sewer system on Pickle and Wynn nears completion

BY MEGHAN GILBERT
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Residents along Pickle and Wynn roads will soon be able to tap into a long-awaited sewer system.

Oregon City Council set the bill for the gravity sewer last week and each of the about 150 homes is required to pay $92.33 per front foot.

Residents in the area petitioned for the system nearly 2 1/2 years ago and have been waiting to hook to it for so long that some said they were offended when councilmen discussed last week waiting to approve the final assessment to pay for the project to let people know of a way they could save $4.37 per front foot.

The sewer is costing residents between $5,710 and $63,574, depending on the size of their yard, and the savings could be as much as $3,000.

"It's an insult. It's pathetic," Ben Krieger told the council last week about postponing the final assessment to let residents know about the potential savings. He lives on Wynn and will pay about $11,500 for sewer lines.

"I think we're more worried about people who might live there in the future than people who live here now," said Gary Blair, another Wynn resident who will pay nearly $20,400 based on his assessment.

The $4 per front foot savings would come from an adjustment to the sewer district to include an area on Brown Road that consulting engineer George Oravecz hoped to turn into a subdivision.

Mr. Oravecz petitioned residents along Brown to see if they would be interested in having their own sewer, but they were adamantly against it, he said.

"Out of 100 residents that I had sent letters to, 60 letters came back stating "No" and some of them had some notes attached to it that under no circumstances would they ever support a sanitary sewer in that area," he said. "It's pretty clear to me that area is not going to have one."

So, Mr. Oravecz proposed the area be attached to the Pickle and Wynn district and with his nearly 40 acres included in the assessment, the price would have dropped more than $4 per front foot for each of the homes there.

Before the final assessment was passed last week, Mr. Oravecz said people were not given all the information about the savings and his intentions because there was no public forum or committee meeting.

"Due process would have been to give them an opportunity to speak and to voice their opinion," he said.

But councilman Mike Seferian, the chairman of the water and sewer committee, said he was confident the residents did not want to adjust their district and saw no reason for a forum. Council members agreed with him.

"I did find an overwhelming number of residents in that district that were not in favor," he said, adding that the decreased price would not have changed that. "$92 [per front foot] is a large sum of money, more than anticipated, but they have come to grips with it. They want some finality to it."

If Mr. Oravecz's area had been incorporated in the Pickle and Wynn project, it would have made any plans for a sewer on Brown more expensive because they wouldn't have that area to incorporate in their assessment, said Paul Roman, Oregon's director of public service.

"There's really a trade to do this," he said. "If they're going to develop there some day, they really need to run a gravity sewer down Brown Road."

The final assessment was approved last week for the nearly $2.5 million project, which means the sewer district cannot be changed. The city is contributing 2 percent, about $50,000 and the Board of Education has the largest price tag with two areas that together will cost almost $180,000.

Construction is almost finished as well, with just some restoration work needed. Residents will get to tap into the sewer once the contractors are finished, Mr. Roman said. Residents have until Dec. 31, 2010, to tap into the sewer.

Mr. Oravecz has decided to parcel off his Brown property and sell individual plots for people to build homes onm using septic tanks.

Once the Pickle and Wynn project is finished, about two thirds of Oregon will be equipped with a sewer system, Mr. Roman said. The next project is to fill in gaps in the sewer system along Coy Road.

Council members have been discussing sanitary sewer construction throughout the city for years because it is less expensive and has less health risks than septic tanks.

The city is also redesigning the Eastwyk pump station on Corduroy Road. The station has been designed and Gleason Construction Co. Inc. of Holland has been selected to rebuild the 40-year-old station and force main for $513,165.

Contact Meghan Gilbert at:

mgilbert@theblade.com or

419-724-6050.



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