Save Chehalem Mountain

Weekly Update 1/22/21

Weekly Water Report for 18505 NE Jaquith Rd, Newberg:

As you may know, WAG Holding’s LLC agent, Pacific Hydro-Geological, submitted an updated well location at the subject property above.  WAG was granted a 6 month extension to their Administration Hold which now expires on 7/5/21. 

There is no change this week to the WAG Holdings, LLC application #G-18843 

However, Tuesday’s report held an interesting application:

Specifically, application #G-15722. This could be an example of how long these application processes can take under certain circumstances. The client’s agent for this application is Pacific Hydro-Geo (this is the same agent as the application for WAG) and they have been on the job for 15 years.

Below are some publicly available details of the aforementioned application. Of note are the extensions of time, and the proposed completion date of 10/01/2023.

To read the entire report, click this link:

https://apps.wrd.state.or.us/apps/misc/wrd_notice_view/?notice_id=21

Applications for Extensions of Time

to Perfect Water Right Permits filed pursuant to OAR 690-315

App# G-15722

Permit Number G-15990

County/Basin Marion / Willamette (2)

Applicant Name COX, JANICE

9721 HOWELL PRAIRIE RD

SALEM, OR 97305

Sources/TRSQ40Q160 A WELL > LITTLE PUDDING RIVER / 6.00S 2.00W 13 NENW

A WELL > LITTLE PUDDING RIVER / 6.00S 2.00W 12 SENE

Use/Quantity IRRIGATION / 2.200 CFS

Proposed Completion Date 10/01/2023

Please forward this post to your friends and neighbors and encourage them to subscribe to our updates so we can all stay informed on the progress we make, and the challenges we face on the Chehalem Mountain Limited Groundwater Area. Thank you!

Weekly Update 1/8/21

We continue to appreciate your support and your donations!

Your support has allowed us to afford postage for informational flyers and postcards to our community, hire corporate and water Attorneys, pay filing fees, and host this informational website. These are huge steps forward and we are making great progress so far. Thank you!

Legal counsel is quite costly and can be hundreds of dollars per hour, so we absolutely continue to need support in order to cover the cost of protecting you/our homes and businesses. We have volunteered thousands of hours of our time to this cause (since Fall 2019), and will continue to do so, but we also need your help. Throughout this process, monetary support is incredibly important for our fight. Checks mailed to our PO Box are preferred as 100% of the funds are kept for our fight.  You may also make a donation via our website home page (not preferred as about 6% is taken out in processing fees from our online donation service, but is highly convenient). We are also looking forward to organizing volunteer efforts, so please stay tuned for those opportunities COMING SOON within the next couple weeks!

Application G-18843 OWRD Update:

While it did not show in the weekly Tuesday Report, the Administrative Hold on Application G-18843 that expired 12/23/20 has been extended another 6 months until 7/5/21. What this means for all of us is that we have time to prepare a strong case for the sustainable use of resources, and time to get the word out and get your neighbors involved! This is great news!  We have been working with our Water Attorney and are making progress towards these goals.

We do not know what or how WAG Holdings LLC submitted to be granted the extension.  Remember, the INITIAL REVIEW required them to:

·   Provide “justification” they would not use water during Jul, Aug, Sept, if a ground water right for a well was approved.

·   “Demonstrate” an alternate source for water during July, Aug, Sept

Both of the above were required by 7/26/20 (we have no documentation of these being satisfied as WAG may have provided the information directly to the OWRD)

·   Be subject to a Div 33 review for Sensitive/Threatened/Endangered fish.

·   Prove to OWRD Director that they have permanent source for water within 2 years of approval.

Recently, WAG & their Hydrologist/Geologist Agent, Pacific Hydro-Geo, moved the proposed well location to a new proposed location 1,170’ north and 140’ east.  Such a move in a geologically challenged location must require another public interest review by OWRD Engineering followed by a new initial review and appropriate time for a new PUBLIC COMMENTS PERIOD. This allows us to write more letters of PROTEST!

Our position on these updates:

·         If WAG wishes to delay the approval and is able to convince OWRD the delay meets their evaluation and statutory approval requirements, any delay works in our favor.

·         It is best that OWRD does not grant an Extension PROPOSED FINAL ORDER permit with conditions for proving “beneficial use of water”.  This would give them 5 years to drill the well and prove beneficial use.  

Upon reading the following information, you will understand this would lie between difficult to impossible for OWRD to control with current resources:

Attached below is an interview with the current OWRD Director admitting the challenges they are facing.

For further reading, the following link leads to a grim article on “Draining Oregon”

LUBA: Land Use Board of Appeals Decision Upheld by The Court of Appeals

Background:

Residents have been fighting issues on many fronts regarding the facility at 18505 NE Jaquith Rd for quite a while. This update is related to the land use issues that were brought before Yamhill County at several levels over several meetings during the course of the fight starting in the Fall of 2019.

Residents initially fought the Yamhill County Planning Commission in a site review design plan that the facility at 18505 did not meet the requirements laid out by the County. The Planning Commission voted against the Residents. Residents then looked to the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners to appeal to them for help. They also voted against the Residents and unanimously for 18505.  An Attorney was hired to appeal the Board of Commissioners’ decision. The next step involved escalating the issue with LUBA (Land Use Board of Appeals). The initial decision reached by LUBA was that 18505 could go ahead with their site design. Next, Residents continued with an Attorney and escalated the issue to LUBA’s Court of Appeals.

The latest:

The Court of Appeals has decided to uphold the earlier decision at LUBA; the site design at 18505 would remain. The decision was rendered with no written opinion from the Court of Appeals.

The Court of Appeals asked the Resident/Petitioner’s Attorney several questions, however no questions were asked of the Attorney Corrine Celko of Emerge Law Group who represents OreTex Farms LLC/JCB Farms LLC (WAG Holdings LLC) at 18505 NE Jaquith Rd. 

Residents who are involved with this aspect of our fight will consult with the legal counsel representing them/us on options for moving forward, and what that process looks like. OreTex Farms/JCB Farms (WAG Holdings) at 18505 has been awarded costs, which include filing fees.  They may or may not try to collect those costs.

We are still awaiting a decision from OWRD: Oregon Water Resources Department regarding the “Administrative Hold” on the current OWRD Application G-18843 at 18505 Jaquith. This hold expired 12/23/2020 and can be monitored at: https://apps.wrd.state.or.us/apps/wr/wrinfo/wr_details.aspx?snp_id=200506

To read Residents/Public Comments of Protest at OWRD: https://apps.wrd.state.or.us/apps/wr/wrinfo/wr_public_comment.aspx?workflow_id=556450

OWRD Application G 18843 Watch

Regarding WAG Holdings LLC’s “Administrative Hold” which expired on 12/23/2020 at Oregon Water Resources Department to grant permission to drill a well: nothing has happened yet and it is being watched for “breaking news” by the Save Chehalem Mountain Water Committee.

You can find the application and its current status, like the example picture above, here.

You can read public comments here.

We hope you are having a wonderful holiday season!

Weekly Update 12/18/20

Good afternoon! This will be the first of the weekly updates to keep you informed of what Save Chehalem Mountain, Inc has been working on this week, any new info that has come to light, and how donations are coming along. These updates will be posted on Friday afternoons.

Thanks for checking in! Here’s what’s happening now:

Water Report for 12/15/20:

Thank you to the Water Committee for monitoring surface water levels and continuing to research the impacts to our groundwater levels!

WAG Holdings, the business that operates the marijuana farm and chemical refinery, has applied to Oregon Water Resources Dept. (OWRD) for a permit to drill a well, so that it can irrigate its 21 acres of hemp and marijuana.  If OWRD approves the well application, it could mean that WAG could take nearly 7 million gallons of water each year from the Chehalem Mountain Ground Water Limited aquifer which extends from Sherwood to Newberg, Hillsboro, Scholls up to Gaston

The next step in this process is for OWRD to issue a proposed final decision on whether to approve the well.  That proposed decision might come as early as Dec. 23 (expiration date for current status of a 6 month Administrative Hold). 

Before the decision is made, WAG must address several issues, the major ones being:

1) Where/how They will obtain water during critical summer months, July 1 – September 30.

2) The impact on fish and streams that rely on water from the same aquifer as WAG’s well would be tapping into.  OWRD relies a recommendation from a committee of federal, state, local and tribal governmental entities, including Oregon Fish and Wildlife.

Once OWRD issues a proposed final decision, WAG and the public have 45 days in which to contest the decision before OWRD finalizes it.  If the decision is to approve the well permit, then Save Chehalem Mountain would need to hire a water expert and a lawyer to contest the decision. 

There will be a lot of work to be done during the 45-day appeal period.  Your DONATIONS to protect the future of your HOME / BUSINESS now are essential to allow us to get a head start on that work.

DONATIONS REPORT 12/18/20:

A sincere THANK YOU to the donors this week, we are humbled by your generosity! It has been a long road so far, and having the monetary support of our neighbors as we gear up to protect natural resources and home values for the area is incredibly meaningful and helpful. The response so far has given us hope!

Please continue to inform your neighbors, share the website, encourage contributions, and let us know what other information you would like to see on the site. Reach out at SaveChehalemMountain@gmail.com if you would like to arrange a donation in person.

Let’s keep this momentum going! Thank you all and have a great weekend!