| August 9, 2011
The watershed council will begin a project in mid-September to upgrade the water diversion on the south fork of the Necanicum River. The city will be able to continue pumping water to its municipal system, but provide more water for fish to pass over a dam in the channel.
Watershed council coordinator Melyssa Graper told the Seaside City Council Monday night that the project will upgrade the pumping station at Peterson Point, enhance fish screening and improve the dam to enable fish to pass over it easily.
Most of the funding will come from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. Other partners include the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminisration.
Volunteers also will be involved, Graper said, and the watershed council estimates that the time put in by Seaside Public Works Director Neal Wallace will be worth $10,680.
Although the dam, located 1.2 miles upstream from the confluence of the south fork with the mainstream Necanicum River, supplies the city’s water, it acts as a barrier for the passage of fish during months when the water flow is low, Graper said.
In addition, gravel and wood, which would naturally flow downstream, also cannot flow across the dam, and that deprives the fish of habitat for more than a mile downstream.
To improve the process, the dam will be notched, and the center will drop two feet. Fish will be able to go over the dam instead of using the inefficient fish ladders currently installed there.
Logs also will be placed in the stream to improve fish habitat, said Wallace, who called the proposal a “pretty heavy construction project.”
Current fish screens at the dam don’t prevent juvenile fish from entering the diversion site, and as a result, they can die.
The single-speed “World War II vintage” pumping system on the mainstream Necanicum at Peterson Point also will be replaced, Wallace said. Variable-frequency pumps will enable operators to regulate the water levels better than the current 100-horsepower pumps, he added.
“During the summer, it will be a much, much more functional stream,” Wallace said.
City Manager Mark Winstanley said that replacing the pumps had been a “high priority” for years, but the cost for the city was daunting.
Mayor Don Larson and other councilors expressed relief that the project could be done without spending city money.
“It’s beyond great that we’re all together in this,” Larson said. “It’s a partnership. I want to compliment the staff for working with so many agencies. It couldn’t have been easy.”
In other business, the City Council began the approval process for the Venice Park Local Improvement District in northwest Seaside.
The $144,000 project will require 26 property owners to pay $5,531 each for paving Pine Street between 25th and 26th avenues, 25th Avenue between Oregon Street and Neawanna Creek, and 26th Avenue between Oregon and Pine streets. A storm sewer main and drainage gutters also will be installed.
Those who cannot pay the entire assessment within 10 days after the project’s completion can pay it over 20 years at an interest rate of 6.25 percent, Winstanley said.
No one spoke at a public hearing on the improvement district conducted Tuesday night. The Council gave tentative approval and will consider it again at its next meeting Aug. 22.
Following the hearing, Kevin O’Keane, who has led the neighborhood effort to have the roads paved, said he thought the proposal was “great.”
The assessment, he said, “didn’t seem bad.”
“You go back 15 years ago when I first asked to have the streets paved, and he (Wallace) threw out a figure of $15,000.”
City officials were able to reduce the cost of the project by removing requirements for sidewalks and other amenities.
“This means no more potholes and no more dust,” O’Keane said. “I like it. It’s not about making the property value better, it’s about making the property better. It’s all about livability.”
The Council also heard a request from local resident Gloria Linky that a sign be erected over the grave of the unknown sailor in the Cove.
Linky, who recently was interviewed by National Public Radio about the gravesite, said that Russian, English, French and Spanish ships sailed past what is now Seaside in the mid-1800s.
The grave apparently contains the remains of a sailor or sailors who died in a nearby shipwreck. Recently, she said, the site was disturbed by people involved in a GPS cache hunt.
“We don’t know who these men were, but they washed on our shore,” Linky said. “The grave needs to be identified as a historical landmark. It needs to be treated as a gravesite.” By NANCY McCARTHY