Though there’s been little rain in the area lately January is still a very wet month for Shady Cove, as they start the new year by diving into an ongoing issue. The Jan. 5 Shady Cove Council study session centered on a presentation given by Larry Menteer and Ivan Gall from the Oregon Water Resources Department(OWRD).
The thesis of their presentation: water from wells will not sustain Shady Cove as it continues to grow – period. Why? Most wells in Shady Cove are dug into bedrock vs. alluvial plain. As to why this is an issue; Gall had a great analogy: if you fill a bucket with sand and small gravel then put in water, it will hold a lot of water as it’s permeable and you will be able to put a hose in and extract that water. However, if you fill a bucket with concrete the drop the bucket to get some crack in the concrete, then fill that bucket with water, it won’t hold much water and you’ll have a hard time getting the hose in and to get water out you’ll need to blindly find one of the cracks (fissures) to get any water out at all. Moreover, those cracks can collapse and cut off what water you were able to get. Shady cove would be the cement bucket in this scenario; with some lucky few folk near the river having the sand bucket option.
Due to this fissure effect, Menteer advised that despite many calls and concerns OWRD has yet to verify that a new well drilled “next door” has been the direct cause of the neighboring well drying up. However a well drilled two miles away could be the cause and pretty much impossible to track down. Fissures do not run straight. For information visit the OWRD website : http://www.wrd.state.or.us/. OWRD representatives said they will also be happy to come back to future town hall meetings on the potential water system and are always available via phone or email.
A water workshop presented by Kennedy/Jenks, the engineering firm researching the city water system option, will be held Jan. 12 at 1:30 p.m. downstairs at Two Pines. .
Also presenting during the study session was Ted Zuk a Jackson County Building Official. Zuk gave a brief overview of his role in Shady Cove construction, basically the county helps the city with building inspections as the city has no program of its own. If construction is of a cosmetic nature (i.e. replacing kitchen tiles) no permit is required. If it’s structural you will need a permit. Like OWRD Zuk is available via phone and email for construction questions.
The evening meeting was a quick one with guests and no presentations. The new Sheriff in town, Deputy Duke, was introduced. Duke is new to the Sheriff’s Department, but has four years experience in law enforcement and years of active military duty prior to that! He has already rescued city hall staff by bringing a spare key to the meeting as the main key accidentally got locked in the office.
Also in attendance was Jackson County Commissioner C.W. Smith who gave a quick county budget update and is helping research into who owns the pullout on Highway 62 just before city limits. It seems several trucks have been parked there for an even longer time period than usual and council would like to discover who owns the area to see if there are any regulations regarding parking duration and use.
The other main topic was tabled. Council discussed whether or not to pay for an inspection of the Masonic Lodge, which is currently for sale and discussed as a possible acquisition by the city. The council could not reach a decision. The price is somewhat reasonable in this financial climate and purchasing the building would give city hall some much needed additional storage (they currently pay $900 per month for offsite storage). The building seems to be in poor repair and possibly would need to be torn down and rebuilt. The question remains, is it worth spending over $5,000 for an inspection on a building that is in such poor shape? Tabling the decision will allow time to see if there is any price change for the property or if another viable property comes on the market.
To stay on top of Shady Cove water issues, visit the OWRD website and study up before attending the water workshop on Jan. 12.
By Christy Pitto
Of the Independent