After several months of discussion and planning the north end water project was placed on an indefinite hold by the Lakeview Town Council at its meeting on Tuesday, May 11, as bids for the project came in far above expectations.

In mid-2020 the Town Council began discussing in earnest the north end water project, which would extend the Town’s water and sewer system to several businesses on the north end of Lakeview. This project would have annexed several businesses into the Town limits, and while also providing a way for Pacific Pine Products to install a fire suppression system in its new building.

The Town had been working on the assumption that the project would cost approximately $750,000 — this was an amount provided by Anderson Engineering in 2020. The money would have come as a loan through Business Oregon and would have been repaid with property taxes from those properties hooked into the new system. After the loan was paid off, those property tax dollars would have gone to the Town of Lakeview.

In a Town Council meeting in December 2020 Pacific Pine Products Owner and Chief Executive Officer Greg Larson was on hand to emphasize the importance of the water and sewer project for his company.

He said that he was taking a gamble by expanding his business operation’s before the water project was complete. Larson told the Council the expansion would now require the installation of a fire suppression system.

Currently, Pacific Pine Products is on a well. Larson said that this has worked for operations until the expansion, but the strength of the well would not support the new system.

Larson was worried in December 2020 that the company would not be able to occupy their new building until the water system is complete — a $3 million gamble. He told the Council that if the Town was in the process of building the system it might help him get an occupation permit from the Lake County Building Department until the system is fully complete.

Matters outside the Town’s and contractors’ control have impacted the price of piping for water and sewer products across the country.

A winter storm in February impacted supply, as many of the manufacturers of PVC pipe are located in Texas. The winter storm knocked out power to these plants for weeks, and the restart process takes weeks as well. This led to limited inventory of existing PVC pipe, and other types of pipe, disappearing quickly. The shortage also led to prices increasing on a daily basis.

Two bids were submitted by Dog Lake Construction, and both were far above the $750,000 estimate for the project. The lowest bid was $1.041 million and the other bid was for $1.4 million. No other contractor submitted bids for the project. Dog Lake Construction did not submit a bid using PVC pipe, as the company noted none could be found with any reliability. The company also said many suppliers were requiring a determination within a day or else they would go to other projects.

At the Council meeting on May 11, Council Member Scott Langum said the project needs to be postponed until a way is found to make up for the difference between the loan amount of $750,000 and the bids the Town has received.

It was not known as of press time what this will mean for Pacific Pine Products and its new building. While other businesses needed to connect to the new system for different reasons, expanding the water and sewer system to Pacific Pine Products was one of the main reasons for the north end water project.

Lakeview Town Mgr. Michele Parry told the Council at its May 11 meeting she does not know if the commitment from Gov. Kate Brown to support infrastructure projects in Lake County would positively impact the north end water project.

For more information call 541-947-2020.

Watch coverage of the Lakeview Town Council on the Examiner’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

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