Posted by: Deborah Bryant | March 17, 2014

Oceanside Oregon Water Threatened by Commercial Interests

The price of freedom – and clean water as it turns out – is eternal vigilance.

Ya know, ya leave the village and the next thing you know, BAM! an approved quarry at the headwaters of community’s water source.    I learned of this situation from the Oceanside Neighborhood Association (ONA) Chair Jud Randall’s email to its membership last month (Feb 2014):

Oceanside’s water supply comes from Short Creek, which draws its water from the western slope of Mount Meares. At the head of that slope, Tillamook County has approved a rock quarry that is within the Short Creek watershed. This quarry is in addition to the current quarry on the hill. On at least two occasions, the operator of the existing quarry has dumped muddy water from the quarry into the watershed, causing the Oceanside Water District manager, Alan Tuckey, to shut down the intake of Short Creek water.

 We are in a situation where this could happen again. The ONA formed the Oceanside Clean Water Subcommittee, with Paul Newman, a retired physicist, and David Thompson, a retired internist, as co-chairs. They have done extensive studies of the agencies that should be regulating Oceanside’s water supply and they have found significant lapses.

As a four-year member of the water district board, Oceanside resident who spent many hours working with neighbors to avert a new quarry permit (see Mine Zone), and ONA member, I was angered to see the county appeared to have completely fumbled another critical issue for the community.

I’m encouraged to hear folks are organizing a response, and wish them great success in their efforts.  As for Green Crow; they’re doing what their owners expect.  Tillamook County should be accountable to their mandate too; to mindfully conduct their business to  their citizen’s benefit.  It appears instead the simple process of notifying the community when the permit was applied for was overlooked.

If you’d like to see a map of the Oceanside Water District water shed and read a description and potential threats to it observed in 2003, you can download Oregon DEQ’s document.   It would be ideal to head off the risk now rather than manage around it with increased commercial activity by increasing the load on the plant to clean the otherwise remarkably clean water we have as a true natural resource.

Deb Macartney

P.S. Say Oceansiders, do I have the right web site for the ONA?  I can’t find minutes past 2010, the “NEW” draft community plan is dated 2010 (did it not get finished?)  Is there a new one somewhere? I have oceansidefriends.org listed, please let me know if there is a new one somewhere.

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Responses

  1. Thanks very much, Deborah, for this information. Although I’ve owned a house on Maxwell Mt. for several years, I never hear anything about the ONA and this is important news!

    • You are most welcome Harriet. Although it it less than a perfect system, the ONA is intended to be the community voice in Oregon’s land use planning system and should be consulted by the County in such matters. Their web site is very out of date, however the ONA meets at the community center on a regular basis and emails agendas and meeting minutes out to anyone who requests them. You can email the association’s chair Judson Randall and request to be added to their mailing list and advised of their meeting schedule, if you’re able to attend. You’re automatically a member if you are a property owner, but Oregon’s public meeting laws require you attend in person to be able to vote.

  2. Who is on the Oceanside Water Board? Do they live in Oceanside ?
    Who gets the water from the large blue tank on Maxwell Mountain?


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