EUGENE, Oregon – The Eugene Water and Electricity Council said a project to build two new water storage tanks in South Eugene was still on schedule – despite the setback from some neighbors.
The project was suspended for two weeks in August after some neighbors appealed for a permit for the project and succeeded in preventing crews from cutting down trees, but this temporary suspension from the Appeal Board’s land use was lifted on August 18.
According to EWEB spokesperson Joe Harwood, 265 of the more than 1,000 trees at the site near East 40th Avenue and Patterson Street have been felled. With the trees down, crews began digging the property this month to make room for the reservoirs.
“EWEB has and will continue to follow all land use and permit regulations,” said Harwood. “So we move on. “
Ron Friedland, who lives about 400 yards from the construction site, said he was initially concerned about the removal of trees.
“I was very worried that they were cutting down so much of the forest. It’s always sad to see it go, but I was impressed with how they are preparing for it, ”Friedland said.
Friedland said he cannot speak for all of the neighbors or those who live directly next to the site, but overall he is happy with how the EWEB has responded to his concerns. In particular, he was worried about plant life, such as lilies, which would be disturbed.
“They take care of the tawny lilies. They took out the bulbs. They grow them elsewhere and then repopulate them, ”Friedland said.
He said that while he didn’t like seeing the trees removed for the tanks, he didn’t see a good alternative. The current College Hill reservoir is scheduled to be out of service by 2023.
If you drive or cycle along Hilyard Street between East 30th and East 40th Avenues, Harwood said to be extra careful because of construction vehicles. Excavation work will continue until April 2022.