VALE – A long-simmering dispute between the Vale School District and the city of Vale over a water line at the new middle school is over.

Last week, city officials inked an agreement that requires the city to take possession of a water line at the new building while the district will pay for any repairs for the next 10 years.

The water line dispute developed last year during construction of the new Vale Middle School. A district contractor installed the water line for fire protection of the building. District officials said the water line was part of building plans accepted by the city. City officials disagreed and asserted the water line wasn’t approved by the city engineer and the installation wasn’t properly inspected before it was hooked into the city water system.

At one point the city turned off water to the construction site as the dispute lingered.

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Eventually water was turned back on and city and district officials sought an agreement through last fall and winter. This spring it looked like the district and the city would move toward mediation to try to solve the issue.

Mediation never happened, though, and July 23 the Vale City Council signed off on the new pact.

“It is a good agreement and I think everyone is happy,” said Katie Lamb, Vale city manager.

Lamb said the council felt going to mediation would be a waste of taxpayer dollars and, with school set to start Aug. 19, it was time to take “the high road.”

“It is a good ending,” said Lamb.

Alisha McBride, Vale School District superintendent, said she was pleased an agreement was reached.

“We are glad to be moving forward,” said McBride.

The district plans to hold an open house for the new middle school Aug. 12, said McBride.

In 2016, Vale voters passed an $8 million bond which the state Education Department supplemented with $4 million to pay for the new facility.

Reporter Pat Caldwell: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.

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