Save Chehalem Mountain

Weekly Update 4/8/21

Good Afternoon Neighbors,

The new and improved homepage for www.savechehalemmountain.com is live, please visit our updated web space.

Donations are back! We are now currently using PayPal as a means of collecting donations. We appreciate your continued support. Click the donate button on the home page!


On to the water reports!

The next several water reports will be a series following the different steps and documents used to approve a water right, starting with the application filed by WAG HOLDINGS LLC and their Agent in October, 2019.

As these reports are part of a chronological series, last weeks water report is featured first:


This weeks water report is the second in the series following the steps to approve a water right.

There are 3 sections to the technical review attached:

In the following report you are looking at a PUBLIC INTEREST REVIEW FOR GROUNDWATER APPLICATIONS.  This is basically a geological/hydrological engineering report of factors that pertain to a proposed large water-use situation located in an area limited by administrative restriction known as the “Chehalem Mountain Groundwater Limited Area” (CMGWLA). 

A.      Presumptions Groundwater – with applicants request and limiting factors.

B.      Groundwater Availability Considerations – which set conditions and provide the geological/hydrological data used to set those conditions.

C.      Groundwater/Surface Water Considerations – that deal with how the proposed well would interact with area streams using supporting data to make their recommendations.

Be advised this report could be intimidating to read for those of us not educated and trained in geological/hydrological engineering disciplines.  This weekly report will not go into great detail but will attempt to point out areas of importance in the OWRD decision making process and will be followed next week with the INITIAL REVIEW from the Water Rights Section who officially notifies the applicant of these findings and subsequent conditions required to allow them to drill the proposed well.


Those wishing to write comments to be used in the G-18843 file should remember to address them to the following:

All comments should be sent to:

TO: Kim French, OWRD Water Rights Application Specialist   Kim.R.French@Oregon.gov

CC: Alyssa Mucken, OWRD Water Rights Section Manager   Alyssa.M.Mucken@Oregon.gov

Subject Line:  Please add to File / Application G-18843

A big thank you to our enhanced Water Team for their weekly diligence and exceptional information!

If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at savechehalemmountain@gmail.com and we will be happy to help and go into further detail!

Weekly Update 3/30/21

Good Afternoon Neighbors,

We are again providing information for you to email OWRD to support our cause and build our case, per our Water Attorney.

All comments should be sent to:

TO: Kim French, OWRD Water Rights Application Specialist  Kim.R.French@Oregon.gov

CC: Alyssa Mucken, OWRD Water Rights Section Manager  Alyssa.M.Mucken@Oregon.gov

Subject Line:  Please add to File / Application G-18843

WAG Holdings LLC’s application G-18843 remains on Administrative Hold for this week.  Remember that the applicant can supply information requested in the Initial Review at any time.

If information is approved, the application could move forward to Proposed Final Order with 45 days for a Protest to be filed.

Knowing the applicant has moved the proposed well to a new location, almost ¼ mile north, we believe a 2nd review is necessary and therefore we are asking Save Chehalem Mountain residents to request that further Public Comments be accepted.

In the Initial Review June 12, 2020, it was declared that this application will have an impact on surface water flows where STE (Threatened) fish are present.  However, only Chehalem Ck, on the south side of Chehalem Mt. was considered.  Without further review, it is believed the new well location would now tend to threaten STE fish in McFee Creek and its tributaries.

The applicant has been denied water for irrigation during the months of July, August and September and has been required to:

·         Justify that water use will only occur when water is available

Or

·         Demonstrate they can obtain water from an alternative source

By now most of you know that this application must satisfy requirements of the Chehalem Mountain Ground Water LIMITED Area in accordance with Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs) listed under 690-502-0200.  We have included that OAR to familiarize residents with the rules in this week’s Tuesday Report.

Last weeks Tuesday Water below!

We are updating the website and will be pleased to offer you a new, revamped home page and some organized further resources for learning about the the issues we are monitoring on our aquifer very soon. Stay tuned!

Weekly Update 3/21/21

Neighbors,

First and foremost THANK YOU ALL for writing testimony supporting House Bill 3239 this past week.

As you probably know by now, there was a hearing on the afternoon of Thursday, March 18th in which our allies were able to testify in support of this bill. The opposition of the bill came primarily from the OLCC (Oregon Liquor Control Commission). The OLCC is the agency responsible for issuing recreational marijuana licenses in Oregon.

Over 100 letters of testimony in support of the bill were received in the time frame allowed. We are so humbled by your responses, and your letters of support will absolutely make an impact on the final decision of the Oregon Legislature. We cannot thank you enough for rallying in support of the safety of our community, and all of the other residential communities around Oregon who (if the bill passes) will not have to deal with marijuana processing facilities in their neighborhoods in the future.

We look forward to updating you on any new information that comes to light regarding this bill.

If you want to read any of the testimony submitted, you can do so HERE.

This week’s water report courtesy of our Water Committee covers ORS 537.525 (Oregon Revised Statute) which declares that water in the state of Oregon belongs to the public and contains many of the high level phrases, language and descriptions the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) uses when reviewing water rights applications.  You can use this key terminology in correspondence and comments to OWRD.  Next week we will review the Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) used by Water Resources Department to add detail to enable them to administer the laws set by the Oregon Legislature.

We apologize for the inability to currently donate through the website. We hope to be able to remedy that shortly, but in the meantime we are still always accepting donations by mail and in person. Visit the home page for information on how to donate. Once again, we appreciate your support. Thank you, and Happy Spring!

Weekly Update & House Bill 3239 3/14/21

Good Afternoon Neighbors,

We have a great opportunity to support a bill that would limit chemical processing of marijuana in residential areas, and subject such operations to a fire safety plan.

HB3239 is scheduled for a public hearing this Thursday, March 18th, 2021 at 3:15 PM. Written testimony may be submitted up to 24 hours after the meeting start time. The following link will direct you to specific screenshots with instructions on how to submit testimony on a bill. We support this bill! We hope you will take the time before Friday at 3:15 PM to submit your testimony in support of this bill as well.

Link: How to Submit Testimony on a Bill

The following link will bring you to the page with the meeting details. You can view a live stream of the meeting, as well as get further instructions on how to get involved. The link at the very bottom on the page allows you to “Click to Submit Testimony”.

Link: Meeting Details/Submit Testimony

Thank you for taking the time to ensure our voices are heard in support of HB3239. We are very fortunate to have this opportunity and your testimony is incredibly important to our cause. Find submitted testimony examples HERE.

This week’s water report highlights the continued importance for fire reservoirs in our region, and explains Water-Use Permit Applications and Processing Steps and where we are in that process with the G-18843 application at 18505 Jaquith. Check out the quick and informative read below!

Please share this information and these opportunities with your community. We can achieve our goals of protecting our homes and businesses if we work together. Thank you for your support.

Weekly Update & New Media Resources 3/6/21

Good Afternoon Neighbors,

As always, we appreciate your letters to the OWRD. Keep them coming! We are thrilled the case for our community is being strengthened by our neighbors each passing day. If you would be willing to have your letter featured anonymously to inspire or inform our followers, don’t hesitate to reach out. Directly below is our handy template for writing your OWRD emails.

Brand new to the website is our “Media” dropdown menu. We will continue to add relevant news articles for you to review related to local wildfires, groundwater and aquifer issues, and chemical refinery/processing facility explosions. If you have suggestions for trusted articles you think may add to our narrative, please email us a link and a brief description.

~NEW MEDIA PAGES~

Your Weekly Water Report, courtesy of our hard-working and dedicated Water Committee, is available in the link below. This week’s water report focuses on well monitoring in the area around the proposed well at 18505 Jaquith, as well as some other valuable information regarding measuring your own well water levels. Please take a moment to review these valuable resources and the further readings the Committee has provided for us this week.

Lastly, before you go:

Who has re-drilled / deepened their well?

It has been suggested that we compile a list of those who have had to red-drill or deepen their well over the past 50 years.  This will add to the body of information that will strengthen our case. Please email us with just your street name (for mapping purposes to closest streams) at SaveChehalemMountain@gmail.com and any information you would be comfortable sharing concerning your experience with well re-drilling.

Thank you!

Weekly Update 3/2/21

Good Morning Neighbors,


This week’s water report references Oregon Water Resource’s Dept. Ground Water Report No. 27 (written in 1978) which features a comparison of domestic well drilling activity on Bull Mt. and Cooper Mt. areas in the 1960s.  This caused those areas to be designated as “GROUNDWATER CRITICAL”. Full water reports will now be attached at the end of this post for further reading.

Right now we are in a “Limited Ground Water” area.


Thank you to everyone who wrote an email to OWRD in protest of 18505 NE Jaquith Rd WAG Holdings LLC Application #G-18843.  The email addresses and wording can be found on the last few weeks posts. A template is also attached to this post for your convenience! Please continue to write, and encourage your neighbors to as well. We need to keep building our case, per our Water Attorney.

We will be adding a section to the website with past public comments if you want to check out some more examples. Your emails aren’t public comments and we won’t publish them in said section, but they still help build a case and enhance the file on this issue. If you would be okay with your email being featured anonymously in a future post to help encourage your neighbors, please let us know and send a copy to savechehalemmountain@gmail.com.

Another enormous THANK YOU to past and recent donors. We could not support this fight and build this case without you! We will be activating a revamped donation platform that circumvents the website fees so your dollars will go even further. A link or button will be added to the home page this week. In the meantime, please reach out if you would like to write a check. You can mail it in (address listed on our home page), or we would be happy to pick it up!

Thank you, and have a wonderful Tuesday!

Weekly Update 2/23/21

February 17, 2021  

Current WAG HOLDINGS LLC APPLICATION G-18843 STATUS:  

On 6 Month Administrative Hold #2 which expires July 5, 2021  

CALL TO ACTION: WRITE EMAILS OF OPPOSITION TO OWRD 

We have been advised by our Water Attorney that we need you to email OWRD and submit your comments in opposition. Doing so will continue to “Build the Case” against permitting an irrigation well on top of Chehalem Mountain.  You are encouraged to write often as new information is released to help build our case.   

Comments submitted to OWRD need to be positive and supportive so that staff will consider them a valuable resource to enhance their review and evaluation making them think more about whether or not the application does or does not meet their standards of approval.  

THIS WEEK’S KEY TALKING POINTS & EMAIL ADDRESSES FOR OWRD: 

TO:         Kim French, OWRD Water Rights Application Specialist  Kim.R.French@Oregon.gov  

CC:         Alyssa Mucken, OWRD Water Rights Section Manager  Alyssa.M.Mucken@Oregon.gov  

Subject Line:   Application G-18843 Please Add to the File  

Residents of Yamhill and Washington Counties have found that local government is not taking responsibility to address or resolve the basic issue of protecting our water resources in areas of known limited ground water and changing agricultural products and processes. 

For example, Yamhill County has the following SITE DESIGN REVIEW STANDARDS to consider when making their land use determinations, but they refused to consider limited groundwater as an issue when approving the land use for the application before you: 

Section 1101.02(A)(1) Characteristics of the adjoining and surrounding areas.  The applicant’s response noted that the nearest property to the West appears to be a residence that is used for an agricultural Farm use.  In reality, it is a 1-acre parcel with house and well YAMH57902 located less than 200’ from the property line and the well proposed by Pacific H-G. Additionally, the property line to the South (YAMH913) was given as Mt. Top Rd. – the property line for that residence actually includes a narrow strip on the North side of Mt. Top Rd. as well.  These are just two examples of incorrect information known to Yamhill County Planning and yet failed to consider.  OWRD must hold applicant, WAG Holdings LLC to account for such discrepancies. Section 1101.02(A)(7) Comments and/or recommendations of adjacent and vicinity property owners whose interests may be affected by the proposed use.  Testimonials by neighbors were clear that having to deepen or drill a new well would place undue burden on adjacent and nearby residents, many of whom are retired or on fixed income, and are VERY CONCERNED about the potential impact a substantial irrigation well will have on the surrounding wells.   

Yamhill County Planners and Commissioners simply dismissed these issues as not being within their purview.  The applicants did not even bother to solicit comments from adjacent property owners until late in the process as noted in the applicant’s rebuttal (Docket SDR 28-19).  

EXAMPLE OF WORDING FOR YOUR EMAIL:

We request that Water Right Application G-18843 be denied because of the potential hydrological interference to surrounding wells in this ground-water limited area, and the lack of a short- or long-term program to collect adequate and accurate data to monitor and determine negative impacts. However, if consideration to approve is granted, we strongly request that the following “conditions” be attached to that approval:  

  • Considering the effects that the exponential growth of vineyards and cannabis industry are having on Oregon’s water resource, OWRD must insist the applicant will be held accountable for well monitoring programs, especially in Critical & Limited Areas, as noted in Oregon’s I.W.R.S., Recommended Action 1.a, to “ENSURE HIGH-QUALITY GROUNDWATER MEASUREMENTS, INSTALL MEASURING TUBES AND MAKE SCHEDULED MEASUREMENTS” as directed by OWRD. 
  • OWRD “conditions” should require the applicant to install an observation well in accordance with accepted well construction standards. 
  • As a minimum, the applicant must be held accountable to provide all necessary means and equipment to rigorously monitor wells surrounding their proposed well in accordance with OWRD standards. 

     In addition, Plans, Strategies and Forecasts need to be revised as soon as possible to include the following items regarding wine grape-vineyards and cannabis-hemp operations: 
  • Conditions and criterion, especially in the Upper Willamette Basin Area, should be reviewed and updated to reflect the current situation regarding population growth, wine grape-vineyards and cannabis–hemp operations.   
  • Data from well servicing completed by well constructors and service/pump installers should be added to OWRD well files.  Data to include, Depth, SWL, Set, and other data deemed necessary by OWRD hydrologists to provide more aquifer health data for decision-making. 

FYI – BRIEF BACKGROUND ON WAG Holdings LLC APPLICATION AT OWRD: 

On October 21, 2019, Pacific Hydro Geology Inc, submitted an application to Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) on behalf of their client WAG Holdings, LLC for a permit to use groundwater. Application G-18843.  

On August 28, 2020 the Applicant filed an “amended well location” which moved the proposed location of the well 1,170 ft north on the property.  

OWRD will issue a PR0POSED FINAL ORDER (PFO) to either APPROVE or DENY the well if the Applicant does the following:  

  • Supplies required condition information  
  • Requests the hold be lifted, and OWRD approves, OWRD will then issue a Proposed Final Order.  If the Proposed Final Order status change is to APPROVE, there is a 45 day period to file a PROTEST.  Normally, OWRD may not allow further PUBLIC COMMENTS following the PFO.  

  However, in this case:  

  • The Applicant has not responded to OWRD request for additional information they required WAG Holdings, LLC to submit by July 26, 2020.   
  • On August 28, 2020, the Applicant filed an AMENDED WELL LOCATION moving the proposed location 1,170 feet north on the property.  
  • Hydraulic interference with a Chehalem Creek in the original INITIAL REVIEW cited the need for a DIVISION 33 REVIEW to evaluate effects on Sensitive, Threatened or Endangered fish.  Changing the proposed location only serves to increase the chance for similar interference with 3 tributaries of Mc Fee Creek on the north side of Chehalem Mt.  

*** PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO EMAIL OWRD TO REQUEST THEY DENY THIS APPLICATION ***

Further Reading:

Oregon’s 2017 Integrated Water Resources Strategy

Weekly Update 2/11/21

TUESDAY WATER REPORT 

February 9, 2021 

Current WAG HOLDINGS LLC APPLICATION G-18843 STATUS

On 6 Month Administrative Hold #2 which expires July 5, 2021 

CALL TO ACTION:

We have been advised by our Water Attorney that we need you to email OWRD and submit your comments in opposition. Doing so will continue to “Build the Case” against permitting an irrigation well on top of Chehalem Mountain.  You are encouraged to write often as new information is released to help build our case.  

Information on Weekly Key Talking Points to write your email comments & email addresses are below 

BRIEF BACKGROUND:

On October 21, 2019, Pacific Hydro Geology Inc, submitted an application to Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) on behalf of their client WAG Holdings, LLC for a permit to use groundwater. Application G-18843. 

On August 28, 2020 the Applicant filed an “amended well location” which moved the proposed location of the well 1,170 ft north on the property. 

OWRD will issue a PR0POSED FINAL ORDER (PFO) to either APPROVE or DENY the well if the Applicant does the following: 

  • Supplies required condition information 
  • Requests the hold be lifted, and OWRD approves, OWRD will then issue an application.  If the PFO status change is to APPROVE, there is a 45 day period to file a PROTEST.  Normally, OWRD may not allow further PUBLIC COMMENTS following the PFO. 

However, in this case: 

  • The Applicant has not responded to OWRD request for additional information they required WAG Holdings, LLC to submit by July 26, 2020.  
  • On August 28, 2020, the Applicant filed an AMENDED WELL LOCATION moving the proposed location 1,170 feet north on the property. 
  • Hydraulic interference with a Chehalem Creek in the original INITIAL REVIEW cited the need for a DIVISION 33 REVIEW to evaluate effects on Sensitive, Threatened or Endangered fish.  Changing the proposed location only serves to increase the chance for similar interference with 3 tributaries of Mc Fee Creek on the north side of Chehalem Mt. 

KEY TALKING POINTS & EMAIL ADDRESSES FOR OWRD:

TO:         Kim French, OWRD Water Rights Application Specialist  Kim.R.French@Oregon.gov 

CC:         Alyssa Mucken, OWRD Water Rights Section Manager  Alyssa.M.Mucken@Oregon.gov 

Subject Line:   Application G-18843 Please Add to the File 

Comments submitted to OWRD need to be positive and supportive so that staff will consider them a valuable resource to enhance their review and evaluation making them think more about whether or not the application does or does not meet their standards of approval. 

The August 28, 2020, amended well location is a sticking point that should be used at this time as OWRD Engineers and Hydrologists will be reviewing the new well location.  Therefore, asking them to open another general comment period should be a part of any comments you write to the department. 

At this time, asking your comments be a part of the application “File” is appropriate language.  If it is in the file, it will be considered part of the “Record” for later proceedings.  If we can continue to “Build the Record” it will likely take OWRD longer to process the application giving Save Chehalem Mountain more time to prepare for a potential Protest and Contested Case Process. 

To read what other Residents/Businesses have already stated click here: https://apps.wrd.state.or.us/apps/wr/wrinfo/wr_public_comment.aspx?workflow_id=556450 

MORE INFORMATION / APPLICABLE DOCUMENTS – RESEARCH: 

Water Well Owners Handbook – A guide to water wells in Oregon 

Provides general information about: Groundwater, Water Wells, Protection of Groundwater, Well Construction, Operation & Maintenance, Safe Drinking Water Supply, Water Well Abandonment, Oregon Rules & Statutes on Water Wells. 

As Chehalem Mountain residents are already well owners/users, the maintenance portion (pg 28) provides information on well performance, testing (from when & how to interpreting results) contamination and treatment options.  

Thinking about selling or know someone looking to relocate on Chehalem Mt?  Check out pg 39 regarding Buying or Selling Property with a Well. 

You can receive a Water Well Owner’s Handbook if you request well identification tag from OWRD.  Both are Free and a well tag is required if you sell your property.  The Well Identification Label Program began in 1996, requiring that all wells drilled, altered, deepened, or converted have a well ID label attached to the well head by the well constructor. 

Most wells constructed prior to 1996 have yet to be assigned a well ID label number.  Find out more 

Link to Water Well Handbook:  View Water Well Handbook 

(2) Oregon House Bills Affecting Us

Neighbors,


There are (2) critical House Bills that will either severely hurt or begin to help our situation.  Please see below for the official comments submitted by “Save Chehalem Mountain” on all of our behalf.

House Bill #2281: Save Chehalem Mtn’s 1 page Public Comments regarding HB 2281 are attached below. 


The “Hemp Agenda” can be found here: Agriculture and Natural Resources House 2021 Regular Session – Oregon Legislative Information System

House Bill #2142: Save Chehalem Mtn’s 1 page Public Comments regarding HB 2142 are attached below.

House Committee on Water Agenda can be found here: Water House 2021 Regular Session – Oregon Legislative Information System


Thank you for keeping up with us and our efforts to maintain the availability of resources for our community. Please SHARE our website with your friends, neighbors, or social media and encourage them to subscribe to our updates so we can continue to grow a strong community of voices.

Weekly Update and Public Hearing Notice 2/1/21

Neighbors,
There is no new information on the weekly Oregon Water Resources Department update that relates to the activities at 18505 NE Jaquith Rd.


However, the following information applies to our situation:


1) Resident Jon S. brought this short article to our attention to share with the group regarding Wall Street trading water as a commodity in the West. Treating water as a tradable commodity has experts weighing in on the future implications from different perspectives:

 https://e360.yale.edu/digest/wall-street-begins-trading-water-futures-as-a-commodity


2) Resident David W. has been writing letters (a small sample are attached at the bottom of this post) to government officials who are currently developing policy on topics that would have lasting impacts in the community


a) The “Hemp Agenda”: There was a public hearing on 1/28/21 in which the House Committee On Agriculture and Natural Resources directed the State Department of Agriculture to administer Oregon Hemp State Program for production, processing and sale of hemp. The Oregon Hemp Commission was established. Click the link below to see all the details:

 Agriculture and Natural Resources House 2021 Regular Session – Oregon Legislative Information System

b) The House Committee on Water Agenda on 1/28/21 resulted in increases of certain fees charged by the Water Resources Department. The details can be found at the link below:

 Water House 2021 Regular Session – Oregon Legislative Information System

Thank you for keeping up with us and our efforts to maintain the availability of resources for our community. Please SHARE our website with your friends, neighbors, or social media and encourage them to subscribe to our updates so we can continue to grow a strong community of voices.

Letters: