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Corvallis looking to replace Rock Creek treatment plant

Corvallis looking to replace Rock Creek treatment plant

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The Willamette River flows past the Taylor Water Treatment Plant near Willamette Park in Corvallis. The city's water master plan update process is recommending more seismic resiliency and increased capacity for the plant.

Corvallis is planning to replace the water treatment plant at Rock Creek on the slopes of Mary’s Creek and perform significant upgrades on the Taylor plant on the Willamette River near Willamette Park.

The Rock Creek/Taylor combination of work was the clear consensus among a series of options presented to the City Council at a Thursday work session at the Madison Avenue Meeting Room.

No votes were taken, as per the work session format, but no councilors expressed any concerns about the option.

The work will be part of a city water master plan update, a three-year, $1.8 million project that is designed to address city water needs for the next 20 years.

The $1.8 million, which also includes consultant work, only pays for the update piece. Any future infrastructure projects must be funded separately. No precise estimates were available for the Rock Creek/Taylor proposal, but it is likely that it will exceed $100 million.

Water master plan project managers looked at three key water supply goals when establishing their preferred option: water quantity, water source redundancy and disaster resiliency.

Replacing the Rock Creek plant and adding seismically resilient infrastructure and new capacity at Taylor were seen as the best way to ensure continuing city water service in case of emergencies such as an earthquake.

In other council action:

• Councilors continued work on updating the strategic operational plan, which is designed to guide city operations and priorities through 2024 while aligning directly with the city’s vision. This is the second year of the SOP process, with the council passing the first plan in April 2018.

The work went forward Thursday in fits and starts as councilors battled through high-level policy and priority statements in the SOP.

“We haven’t even gone through one of the six sections and it’s 10 to 5,” said Mayor Biff Traber. Later he described himself as being a “little gob-smacked” during a segment on city infrastructure.

“Why can’t we just say we have pipes and the water comes through it?” he asked.

Another challenge councilors talked their way through involved the meaning of the word "safe." They concluded it could refer to both emotional and physical safety.

The original schedule for the SOP review process, which began at the Sept. 19 work session, calls for Nov. 21 and Jan. 9 work sessions and final passage at the Jan. 21 regular council session. But the lack of progress Thursday likely will mean another work session will be added.

• Interviewed three Planning Commission candidates, retired kitchen assistant Marcia Wike, timber company employee and Oregon State University student Jonathan Strittholt, and analyst/programmer Judianne Saam.

Councilors will vote on a replacement for the departed Vanessa Blackstone on the land use body at a future council meeting.

Contact reporter James Day at jim.day@gazettetimes.com or 541-812-6116. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.

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