Oregon acquires property for restoration project

Kelly J. Kaczala

        Oregon City Council at a recent council meeting approved a drainage easement agreement with two property owners on Earlwood Avenue for the acquisition of a perpetual storm sewer easement for the Urban Runoff Capture and Otter Creek Restoration Project.
        The Urban Runoff Capture and Otter Creek Restoration Project will intercept storm water from a 100 percent developed urban and commercial 43-acre watershed and route it to a newly constructed wetland system.
        Public Service Director Paul Roman thanked residents Lori M. Larson and James A. Columbus for donating the land for the drainage easement.
        “We needed two easements for this project,” said Roman. “This is the second and final one. I want to publicly thank them because they are donating the easement. I think they were reluctant to do this at first. They had concerns with flooding and other issues a lot of people have struggled with along Otter Creek. They wanted to be sure this would not cause that. We’re actually removing soil from the project and it will actually create some storage for drainage. It won’t have any flooding effect. They’re very valid concerns. But they knew, too, that this is an environmental improvement. It’s going to take urban drainage that would have normally just gone out a storm pipe straight out to the creek. Now, it will be going through a flood plain where there will be a wetland that will absorb sediments and nutrients, and basically filter the drainage before it goes out to the creek.”
        The city applied for and received a $500,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for the design and construction of the storm water treatment and wetland habitat restoration project near Eastmoreland Boulevard, adjacent to Otter Creek.
        Councilman Terry Reeves said at a recent council meeting that he had received many calls from residents asking about whether the project will ease drainage issues.
        “I’m in support of this, but I have had several constituents in the area asking me if this will provide any type of relief for them off of Otter Creek,” said Reeves. “They want to know if it will slow down the water flow coming through Otter Creek.”
Off the streets
        Roman said it would not improve Otter Creek itself but the neighborhoods of Euclid Park and Old Eastmoreland, would benefit.
        “You’re definitely taking flow off of their streets much quicker and routing it through this area,” said Roman. “So the neighborhoods will definitely benefit from it. As for Otter Creek downstream, it doesn’t add any flow. It does slow down a little bit. But I would not look for any major flood relief for Otter Creek though. It’s really more of a water quality project. It will help the neighborhood in terms of flooding – it will get water off the streets more quickly.”
        The city also recently acquired a portion of the property owned by The Ashland Avenue Baptist Church on Starr Avenue along Otter Creek for the project.
        The city and the Ashland Avenue Baptist Church reached an agreement for the acquisition of one third of an acre of property at 447 Shadowbrooke Drive.
        The church will execute a warranty deed for that portion of the property acquired by the city in exchange for a new access driveway being constructed off Starr Avenue.
        The grant also will fund a neighborhood park that will include a walking path as part of the project.


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