Make the McKenzie Connection!

Sewage blocking Blue River’s future?

Blue River mapBy Jim Baker, Blue River CDC & McKenzie Action team

The McKenzie Action Team, a group of community volunteers, hosted an open session on February 17 for residents to gather and discuss options for dealing with septic tank issues in Blue River.

There has been a long festering problem with aging and failing septic tanks. In addition, the small lots in Blue River do not meet modern standards for building due to septic requirements.

As a result, many of the business properties in Blue River cannot reopen or expand. Building lots stay vacant and a home owner often can’t even add a bedroom to their own home for they’re growing family.

This has left the town of Blue River actually shrinking. Businesses have closed and the property owner have limited options to reuse their property. We have less homes in Blue River than we did years ago.

While no decisions are being made, the group is gathering information to help the residents determine if this is a viable solution.

Two things emerged as common concerns:

1. Where ever it is located, its important that we do not see or smell it. So a closed, underground system was most desirable.

2. Cost concerns would dictate that we work really hard to get as much of the system paid for by outside funding sources - preferably grants.

As part of the research process, a number of grant sources were identified.

Representatives from Lane Electric were at the meeting offering to help with whatever the community decides to do. This is in addition to the support that EWEB has given in helping the community pay for some of the initial feasibility work

The goal of the volunteers is to help revitalize Blue River so that:

* New businesses will move in to empty buildings/vacant lots - bringing jobs and services to all river residents

* Allow homes to more easily be build on the empty lots - more students for our schools.

* Ensure that options exist for homeowners with failing septic systems - helping to preserve our river.

The volunteer group will be hosting future community sessions to discuss this issue and options.


McKenzie River Reflections


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