Local government

Vale officials seek cash from county to help finish lift station project

VALE – Vale city leaders made a pitch to the Malheur County Court this month to get $300,000 to help replace the Willowcreek lift station.
The court listened to a briefing from Vale Mayor Tom Vialpando and Todd Fuller, Vale city manager, on Jan. 4, but made no decision on the request.
The Willowcreek lift station, part of the area’s sewer system, is 70 years old and prone to potentially expensive breakdowns. A failure could create health problems if wastewater backs up into homes. The station serves 680 customers.
City wastewater travels through Vale’s sewage system to lift stations where it is pulled up by pumps and deposited into the city’s wastewater lagoon for treatment.
The cost to replace the lift station is $1.4 million. The city received funding in 2021 including $1 million in federal Covid relief money along with $100,000 from the Legislature.
The city, though, needs $300,000 more to finish out the project, said Fuller. He said the city also scaled back the new lift station to save money.
“We had a building that was going to be in there to house the electronics but now it will be more of a lean-to,” he said.
M2 Construction and Warrington Construction of Ontario and Syblon Reid, a Folsom, California firm, bid to replace the lift station.
Warrington Construction put in the low bid at $990,150.00.
M2 Construction’s bid was $1.02 million while Syblon Reid offered to do the work for $1.4 million.
The next step is for the Vale City Council to approve the low bid.
Fuller said the city does have other options to find the $300,000, including funding through Business Oregon, the state’s economy development agency. The city could also seek funding from the Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Board.
The city also still has about $150,000 remaining in Covid relief funds it received early in the pandemic. That money, said Fuller, may be used to help pay back a loan from Business Oregon. Right now, he said, officials are looking at every option.
Vialpando told the court that expected growth in Vale, including a new RV park and potential expansion of the Cottonwood subdivision, puts more stress will be put on the lift station and adds urgency to the project.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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