Category Archives: Meeting Reports

Reports of activity which occurred at a DLWID meeting

DLWID Board Vote to Relinquish 1/3 of Water Right

The DLWID Board last night voted 4-1 to abandon one third of the volume (147 million gallons) and 2 months of the duration of the District’s valuable water right. The Board also voted 4-1 to begin the permitting process for the removal of the D-River dam that is used to exercise that water right.

These ill advised motions were proposed by Board Chair Brian Green who along with members David Skirvin, Randy Weldon, and Kip Ward passed the motion.

Board member Kent Norris encouraged fellow board members to consider the overwhelming and nearly unanimous (2 spoke in favor) voices of the 120 citizens in attendance. His motion to instruct Lake Manager Paul Robertson to take action to preserve the District’s water right for the next 5 year period failed by the same margin.

Mr Norris also forwarded an offer by a prominent Oregon State University engineering professor to assist the District in quantify the impact of various options for the D-River, which could be used by the Board in making a more informed decision at a later date. He noted that the District had no idea what impact their decisions would have on the lake ecosystem, lake users or the local economy as they have had no assessment perform on the project. Board members failed to recognize or even discuss the offer.

Unbelievable, is most common reaction by people who have recently learned about this total disregard of the public process by these four members of the DLWID Board. Thank you Mr. Norris for your professional domineer and genuine concern for the members of the community that took the time to leave their home and share their thoughts on this important decision Thursday night.  The DLNA is accessing the situation to determine the best course of action.

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February DLWID Board Report

There were several important items on the Board’s agenda including the replacement of the water impoundment device (the dam). This item was brought forward by Director Randy Weldon in the November 2014 meeting. The proposal was to first remove the current dam and then try some other structure such as sandbags or water-filled flood control tubes.  The second large topic for the night was the consideration of the RFP for the aeration project.

Lake Level

Do we have an image problem.  This was Kylo's drink special tonight. The Devils Lake!

Do we have an image problem. This was Kylo’s drink special tonight. The Devils Lake!

The Blue Heron Marina brought a show and tell session with the District Board. They displayed the dozen plus propellers that were damaged by low water conditions that now exist in the summer under the new lake levels approved by the Board.  He requested that the if the District is going to continue to keep the current policy perhaps they could work toward marking low water areas and other submarine dangers to prevent damage to boats and potential injury.

Dam Removal

DLNA commented on the proposed removal of the impoundment structure.  We stated that the proposed removal of the Dam seems to be justified by concerns over the sandbar which exists at the mouth of the river. We feel that the discussions related to this project have had little to do with the actual sandbar and have been primarily focused on the dam.

Perhaps the project should be renamed the “sandbar abatement project”?  From that perspective the District might come up with a different set of potential solutions to the problem rather than the single threaded view currently on the table.

We don’t disagree with a review or thought process related to the sandbar. We do question the timing and urgency of the proposed solution (dam removal).  Why does the District feel this must be done prior to this year’s impoundment?

We know from testimony last month that the sandbar has been a constant fixture in the river since the 30’s and beyond. The City has removed sand from the area in the years prior to the District’s existence; they have split the responsibility in later years.  At one time a large beach was created in the small park located at that location from the tailings of the dredging process.

We recommend that first and foremost the District should address the water right and the need to impound to 9.53’ for at least one day this year by installing the impoundment structure early enough in the season to be successful. This is the final year in the five year cycle.  This must be done in order to preserve our water right.  Let’s check off that requirement first.

After completing this important step, a study could be run and/or trials on particular solutions to reducing the sandbar.  We also felt that they should not forget the potential of dredging which has been discussed by the board but never seriously considered as an option for fear that the permitting process may be too complex.

The Lake Manager stated that he was working with  George Drake who is the from PBS Engineering + Environmental and is asking for a bid to study the project.  The information would be presented in the April Board meeting during a public hearing on the subject.  The Board did not discuss the project, not one word.

Aeration Project

The second topic that we discussed tonight is related to the aeration project RFP which did not receive a single bids by the January deadline.  We felt that a possibly reason for this was more related to issues with the RFP than the project.  Interesting this RFP was not for an actual project but only a call for qualifications, were not that sure why that was the approach, but its how the district approached it.

There were three responses from interested firms as to why the RFP was not bid.  You can review those at this link.  The following is an excerpt that is representative of the comments provided.

There were three constraints that gave us problems:

“Certification of Proposer’s willingness to acquire a performance bond as part of any potential contract that might arise from this solicitation providing for the successful project completion as designed meeting the described outcomes within the Scope of Work particularly relative to achieving the Chlorophyll a standard of 15 ug/L, a pH of 6.5 to 8.5, and the elimination of water contact advisories associated with Harmful Algal Blooms.” P. 14 of the RFP.  

We do not believe that it is possible to design a system that can live up to these guarantees without extremely high construction costs and contingencies to insure against a costly penalty. Bonding companies are unwilling to provide indemnity for work that could be significantly impacted by weather (number of sunny days, storm water flows, plant die off due to herbicide applications by others) and other factors well beyond the contractor’s control. If a claim on a bond were made, the contractor would put their bonding relationship and personal finances in jeopardy for a bet against bad weather. If a claim on a bond was made, the surety would have incredible difficulty stepping into the defaulted contractors position to accept these guarantees.

“The  General  Report  to  accompany  the  Engineering  Plan  shall  identify  all necessary Improvements including but not limited to, permits and easements and the associated costs of, and timeline for acquiring such.” P.2

We believed that this requirement would likely require relocating a full time staff member for an extended period of time (months) to identify and research all permits, easements, and to gain familiarity with the various agencies involved.  Had the District provided some direction as to which properties were potentially available, and whom to contact, this may have not been such a large roadblock.

“Works and Improvements related to this Engineering Plan and General Report, the Consultant will be prohibited from bidding on such.” P.23

Our company views engineering, construction, and maintenance roles for water bodies as a continuum. In contrast to a commercial building that can generally be handed off between architect, contractor, and janitor – a lake is a living ecosystem that sometimes does not respond favorably to handoffs.  While the design was an enticing opportunity, we would not want to preclude ourselves from the construction activity, the phase which represents the largest part of our company’s revenues.  

The staff proposed four options related to this project; split out j the engineering from the construction and bid separately, redraft the RFP’s with less stringent requirements and resubmit for bid, directly assign the engineering portion without RFP, or abandon the project in favor to longer term measures.

We advocated to redraft the RFP and create a second round of bidding.  The Board discussed options including a two phased approach or a trial on a smaller scale that the entire lake.  Then the Lake Manager began to speak and continued for 45 minutes.  In the end the Board decided to proceed with the redrafting of the RFP for review in the next meeting.

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DLWID Considers Dam Removal

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District cancelled its December 11th board meeting due to the threat of high winds. There were several important items on the Board’s agenda we would like to call your attention to the last item in unfinished business; the replacement of the water impoundment devices (the dam).

Director Randy Weldon’s report to the board states that “At our November 2014 meeting, my proposal to the board was to explore the idea of removing the concrete foundation of the current dam and using a different type of impoundment device in the summer. I suggested that we use sandbags or water-filled flood control tubes during the short recreational impoundment period instead of our current structure.” The winter edition of the District’s Clearwater Newsletter further describes this proposal; you can find a link on the right hand of the District website.

Temporary Sandbagging

Temporary Sandbagging

Plastic Water Tubes

Plastic Water Tubes

 

Mr. Weldon recommended the board take action during the December meeting by writing that, “The US Army Corps of Engineers and Division of State Lands Joint Permit can take up to 120 days to complete. While waiting for our permit to be approved, we could proceed with RFP’s for removal of the concrete foundation and select a contractor to do the removal work.”  We anticipate that his request for authorization will be brought forward for action during the January 8th DLWID Board meeting. We strongly recommend attending the January meeting to encourage the Board to meet with the DLNA Board as well as suggest putting the brakes on this potentially DAMaging idea that has not been through any type of public process or outreach.

The Devils Lake Neighborhood Association urges the DLWID to defer taking any action toward authorizing the creation and release of an RFP for the removal of the current dam structure. For a dam of this size Oregon does not require that the design be prepared by a professional engineer however the Oregon Water Resources Department specifically recommended the District “consult with an engineer when making changes to a dam.” 

The structure that is the subject of this discussion is considered a “small dam” as defined by the Oregon Water Resources Department. Since the proposal is to remove the current structure completely we have verified that from a regulatory perspective this would be treated as two separate projects, one for the removal of a small dam, and one for the construction of a new dam structure to replace it.  This would involve input from a minimum of 11 State,Federal and local Agencies for both the removal and construction phases of the project.  Successful completion of the removal approvals does not guarantee approval for the installation of a new structure in its place.

The proposal before the board does not include the recommended professional engineering, or any discussion of the regulatory process required.  Why would you remove the dam before you have permission to replace it? The performance of a temporary structure is unknown; the risk is high that permission to build a new permanent structure would not be granted.  A project such as this if done without the proper engineering, planning and care could severely impact access to and the use of our lake and potentially result in lower property values.

It is also possible that a properly engineered project could have a positive result.  In any case, this project is every bit as complex as the district’s ongoing attempts to restock grass carp which began in mid-2011 or the aeration project that is just getting started.  It’s a safe bet that if all these government agencies are interested in these proposed projects that the citizens that live on or near Devils Lake would also be quite interested in the same projects. The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board Guidelines for Dam Removal devotes seven full pages to describing the importance and methods to be utilized to build organizational support through public outreach.  The district needs to take this advice to heart.  A workshop is a single component of an outreach program that is helpful but not nearly adequate to address the complexity of the projects currently underway.

The Devils Lake Neighborhood Association has offered several times to help the district build a connection with the citizens that live around Devils Lake.  Representing the citizens that live on and own the 1,473 parcels of land within our boundaries is the primary reason we exist.  We continue to offer the district an opportunity to schedule a public meeting of the DLWID and the DLNA boards so we may engage in a two way dialogue about ways we can work together toward the benefit of the lake.

Since we are nearing the end of another year; might I suggest that the Board of Devils Lake Water Improvement District make a New Year’s resolution and agree to schedule a meeting in January with the Devils Lake Neighborhood Association.  They risk so little and they have so much to gain.  No let me rephrase that, we have so much to gain.

 

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DLNA Comment at DLWID Meeting

During the October 2nd DLWID Board meeting the Devils Lake Neighborhood Association was represented by Mitchell Moore and Mark Christie. The goal of our testimony was to let the District know that there are several areas where the neighbors and the District agree. We feel that relations could improve if we could find a project or two that we could work together.The following are the comments made by each DLNA representative.

Comments of Mitchell Moore.

In February we introduced you to the Devils Lake Neighborhood Association. There are several members of the DLNA here tonight. I am happy to report that since that time the Association has held several well attended public meetings in the Driftwood Library as well as at Faith Baptist Church. The great news is we are growing at a rapid rate and have received membership declarations from hundreds of residents in the neighborhood. In our meetings a consistent theme is the expression by our membership of genuine concern for the lake and a willingness to help.

I have been before you on several occasions this year to discuss how residents of the neighborhood are supportive of the majority of the projects contained in the Devils Lake Plan. While we have offered our help on several occasions we have never been contacted by the District or this Board of Directors. I am here again tonight to offer the assistance of the Neighborhood Association.

The SOS program is an example of our offer to help the District achieve their goals
During last months meeting the board engaged in quite a discussion about the SOS program even considering raising the potential award to $1,500 to encourage participation. We have a list of several homeowners who wish to make shoreline improvements to their property. Our research indicates that there are a variety of issues that have prevented the initiation of these projects.
We would propose a the district consider a few modifications to SOS that that might be more acceptable to a broader base of lakefront owners. We would suggest that Ava schedule a lakeside meeting with a few of these interested parties to learn firsthand about some of the obstacles or roadblocks for the program. The DLNA will be happy to organize these meetings.

The rhetoric and relationships between the district and the community has been strained for the past several years. We created the DLNA in the hopes it could relieve some of the pressure that exists.Recently the DLNA appeared before the City Council to help define the process of creating neighborhood associations in Lincoln City. In that meeting the DLWID Chair spoke against the members of the Devils Lake Neighborhood Association, were not entirely sure why. Our response is come before you again and stress that we want to create a cooperative environment that is beneficial for the neighborhood and the lake.

Tonight we have offered a new path, one that directly engages the public in the mission of the District. We are recommending that the DLWID board and the DLNA board come together in a workshop to engage in a two way dialogue about ways we can move forward as a team, and not adversaries. You may contact me directly to schedule this important meeting.

Thank You for your time, we look forward to a productive meeting.

Comments of Mark Christie

My message tonight is similar to that you heard from Mitch, we want you to know that there are many areas that we are willing to help. Here are a few more examples.

In the past 18 months the district has focused a lot of attention toward the potential of extending sewer service around the lake. The members of DLNA are generally supportive of exploring the idea of expanding sewers around the lake. In fact I have yet to hear anyone speak out against such a project. We must all recognize that this is a complex issue that involves detailed engineering, private right-of-ways, extensive underground construction, taxation and eventual annexation. In the spirit of improving the chances of a positive outcome we feel a DLNA representative should be at the table as this idea moves forward. Within our membership we have individuals that have decades of experience in right-of-way acquisition, utility construction and operation, and residential and commercial development that are willing to lend their expertise.

Six years ago the district established septic inspections at the number one priority for the lake. Unfortunately to date there have been zero inspections performed as a result of this program. Indeed as of today, this program has been put aside in deference to the potential of sewers. This is a program that has been universally supported in the neighborhood. It has languished because the district has made “perfect” the enemy of good! with standards and expectations that are difficult to obtain. The DLNA has developed a voluntary septic inspection program designed on the DEQ Septic Smart program as well as the DEQ inspection guidelines
The Lincoln County Onsite Waste Management Division has agreed to participated in the record keeping portion of this voluntary program. Our program has been introduced to the real estate community throughout Lincoln County. We have requested their cooperation particularly encouraging pre-listing testing of existing septics on and around the lake. We would propose the voluntary septic inspection process be adopted by the DLWID for homes outside the City and with the UGB to begin in January of 2015. The District should continue to work with the City of Lincoln City to establish a inspection program within the City based on the same DEQ inspection guidelines.

The neighborhood is thrilled that the board responded to input supplied at a public workshop on lake level and began investigating aeration for the lake. I can declare that the DLNA is 100% supportive of the RFP for aeration based on receipt of a minimum of 3 qualified bidders. We would suggest that each bidder be invited to a public Board workshop and interview process for possible adoption. Indeed to help expedite this interesting project the DLNA engaged a lake contractor this summer to collect data related to the material at the bottom of the lake from a series of core samples. These samples have been chemically analyzed and our data could be shared with the final candidates to help them better forecast the results of their proposed solution. As with sewering we must recognize that this is also a complex issue that involves detailed engineering, and very likely private right-of-ways.
We have shown that we are committed to moving this process forward would like to offer a DLNA representative to participate in the project and act as a conduit to property owners, whose land will very likely be required for siting of air compressors, power lines and air houses around the lake.

As you can see there are many areas where we can work together. This could best be initiated by the workshop previously requested, one where the DLWID board and the DLNA board discuss ways we can move forward as a team for the good of the lake and the neighborhood that surrounds it.

Thank You for your time.

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DLWID Board Meeting Update

photoThe Devils Lake Water Improvement District (DLWID) Board held its meeting on Thursday June 12th at 6:00pm. The topic of the night was lake level and the DLNA helped bring many a concerned citizen to the meeting.  In all 104 were in attendance and 17 provided testimony.

The DLNA asked the District to resolve to exercise the maximum impoundment right of 9.53’ by installing the dam structure by May 15th while placing the center section only after the lake level drops below 9.53’continuing full impoundment through October 15th. The DLNA also raised concerns about the potential of losing our water right forever as a result of the Districts failure to fully impound to 9.53 at least once in a five year period.

After much debate Brian Green made a motion to maintain the current policy which is a lake level of 9.0′ which failed 3-2. Then Kip Ward made a motion to remove the dam which failed for lack of a second. Then new Director Kent Norris made a motion to adopt the DLNA proposal which failed 3-2.

The final outcome was a motion made by David Skirvin and seconded by Kent Norris to raise the lake to 9.53 long enough to protect the water right, (likely around July 1st), then the boards will be adjusted to 9.0, but the level will be allowed to overtop rather than opening the gap wider which should see a slow drop to 9.0, the we start the managed drawdown to 8.6 beginning August 1 through October 1st.

In the end our concerns about the potential of losing our water right forever persuaded the Board to forward this policy for the coming year.  We’re thrilled that the water right clock will be reset and will continue to work with the District on a variety of neighborhood projects.

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Neighbors Fighting Devils Lake Algae Problem

KGW News Channel 8  and 140 concerned residents attended the DLWID meeting last night to ask the board to fully impound the lake this summer and develop a short term plan to combat Harmful Algal Blooms.  KGW’s story summarized what happened at the meeting quite well.  Thank you to all who attended.

by Katherine Cook, KGW Staff

Posted on April 11, 2014 at 8:42 AM

Updated today at 8:42 AM

 LINCOLN CITY, Ore. — Murky water has several people worried about Devils Lake, in Lincoln City.

The lake, typically popular with boaters and swimmers, had been avoided by longtime users. Some of the worst areas of the water were blue-green and sludgy from swirls of algae.

Two years ago, the Devils Lake Water Improvement District voted to lower the lake level by 6 inches to help prevent erosion. Joe Barnes lives on Devils Lake and said since then, the lake hasn’t been able to flush out algae.

Barnes is president of the Devils Lake Home Owners Association, which was fighting to raise the lake levels back to 9.53 feet.

“When they decided to lower the lake level, we had 500 signatures and I think 86 people spoke and said, ‘Don’t lower the lake, (the algae problem) is going to happen,'” Barnes recalled. “And guess what, this is what happened.”

“This is a tragedy to see water quality like this,” said lake manager Paul Robertson.

Robertson and the DLWID listened to dozens of public comments at a public meeting Thursday night. Nearly every community member who spoke asked the board to raise the lake levels back to 9.53 feet. They also asked for support to dredge D River, to help the lake flush out the algae.

Several community members walked out of the meeting when board members wouldn’t agree that the lowered lake level may have caused the increasing algae.

“(The algae) is based on nutrients (in the lake),” said Robertson.

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May DLWID Board Meeting Report

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District Board meeting was Thursday May 9th at 6:00pm and was held in the City Hall Council Chambers located on the third floor of City Hall. The full meeting is now available online at this streaming video link.

Thank you Linda for your years of service!

Thank you Linda for your service!

Public Comment: There were 10 interested parties in attendance. Those interested in commenting on agenda item commented at beginning of the meeting those that wished to comment on non-agenda items waited till the end of the meeting. Those in attendance presented Linda Burt with a flower arrangement and a well deserved thank you for here years of service. The district was encouraged to continue creating a written record of the meetings. A commenter reacted the phrase raise the lake to responsible levels and suggested that would at a minimum be to a level equal to the current board policy. Others commented on what they characterized were campaign mis-statements made by some current board members related to the residency of candidates, attendance at meetings, and use of misleading terminology.

Septic Ordinance: There was a discussion on how the septic inspection may operate. The we’re some concerns expressed who and/or how the County will be engaged. Staff changes at Lincoln County mean that they will not be able to perform the inspections. The Board felt inspections should concentrate in clumps so area residents could consider a sewer LID instead.

Save Our Shoreline: The District was asked to hire a landscaping company to maintain the rain garden at Regatta Park. The Board asked to have the City bid on maintaining the plot. The Board authorized $485 to clean up the site once and $275 to rebuild a slope.

Vegetation Management: The District reported that Rep. Gomberg he will support the grass carp application and assist in promoting grass carp.

Sewer: Brian Green reported again on the Voyage Local Improvement District, has been approved. He reiterated that this represents a new model for an LID where all costs are paid for by the participating homeowners. Of the 58 lots 44 participated, he projected that maybe 10 would hook up in the first year, then perhaps 2 to 3 additional per year.

Communications Report District staff requested a tent to be used for events. The request was deferred to the next meeting.

Policy Update: There was a presentation on a new law that requires a policy update providing guidance for mandatory reporting of abuse or neglected children. The policy was approved.

RARE Program: Updates were provided in support the requested $20,000 to participate in the RARE program. The Lake Manager suggested the,position could work on public relations, website development, Devils Lake Revival, water quality, and outreach and education. The Board doubted that one person could accomplish all the items that have been identified. A concern was expressed that required supervision would distract from the Managers ability to accomplish his job. The Board decided not to participate in the program this year.

Recorder: Linda Burt the faithful recorder of the DLWID is retiring. She was honored by lake front residents in the public comment period. The Board discussed options and directed staff to advertise for a replacement.

Non-Agenda Items: There was a lengthy discussion about installing the dam now since it was pointed out in public comment that the lake was lower than 9 feet at this time. In the end the board moved to open the door to partially install the dam, that is leaving the center section open should the lake level reach 8.9 foot.  This temporary rule will be in place between May 15th and  June 1st where the dam would be installed by existing policy if the lake drops below 9.o feet through June 15th when the dam will be installed to maintain a 9.o foot lake level. The motion passed.

Board Comments: Kip Ward made a statement that the fact that David Skirvin does not live in Lincoln City does not impact the keep it local argument. He said that the lake was in Lincoln City and control needs to stay in Lincoln City. He stated that the board is currently 4 to 1 local versus out of towners, and should one of the challengers win this election the board mix would be 3 to 2 putting absolute local control in jeopardy in just 24 month when the other three positions are up for re-election. He then reiterated that his mother lives in Portland but he wouldn’t want her on the DLWID board?

The meeting adjourned after 8:35pm.

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