A weak link in Astoria's water system will be replaced before it fails. The 60-year-old pipe carries treated water from Astoria's slow sand filter down the 80-foot tall face of the Bear Creek dam at the city's watershed.

At Monday's meeting, the Astoria City Council voted to accept a $680,675 loan from the Oregon Business Development Department to pay for the Bear Creek Dam Waterline Replacement Project in case the city doesn't receive federal stimulus money under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to pay for the project. After Astoria was turned down for the first round of stimulus funding for the waterline replacement, staff reapplied for a second round that may become available this month.

Instead of replacing the deteriorating line in its present location, where it would be extremely difficult and expensive to repair, the city plans to install a new 24-inch pipe underground starting upstream from the dam. It would run beneath an existing access road and then connect to the 21-inch transmission main below the dam.

"That line is a ticking time bomb. We need to get it replaced," Councilor Blair Henningsgaard said. The vote was unanimous.

The Council also voted to deposit $61,159 from the gas tax fund as the city's share of a $204,000 paving project to be administered by the Oregon Department of Transportation, using federal stimulus funds allocated to Astoria. The work consists of a 2-inch asphalt overlay on portions of Seventh Street, Niagara Avenue and Lexington Avenue. After some members of the Council questioned the high cost of the project, Public Works Director Ken Cook explained it's because of the more stringent requirements associated with ODOT projects. He said this project must be designed and constructed as if it were a federal highway project.

"I do believe it's a good deal for the city," Cook said, noting that it's been 25 years since the upper portion of Seventh Street was last paved. The city's gas tax fund has a balance of about $200,000.

The Council awarded a $23,000 contract to low bidder Wilkins Construction LLC of Astoria to replace a water main on Seventh Street before the paving begins.

The Council also authorized a $332,400 contract amendment with Brown and Caldwell for engineering services for the federally mandated Denver Street Combined Sewer Overflow Project Phase 3, which includes construction of an underground storage facility. The services are required by monitoring and reporting provisions of the $4 million federal stimulus funding package.

The 1.2-million-gallon storage tank will be underneath the softball field at Tapiola Park, which will be out of use until the project is finished. A 28-foot-deep hole will be excavated to accommodate the tank, which will be 20 feet tall. Cook said it will be covered by at least 2 feet of dirt when it's finished and the ballfield will be as good as new, or even better.

In other business, the Council authorized placing the refurbished Shively Park Fountain on the riverfront between the Maritime Memorial Park and the Holiday Inn Express, where it will be seen by a large number of residents and visitors. Funding for the placement will come from private sources, according to Mac Burns, director of the Clatsop County Historical Society. "The city will not be asked to pay for it," Burns said.

Also Monday, Astoria Chief of Police Pete Curzon awarded meritorious service commendations to two of his officers: Matthew Clausen and Chris McNeary. Tara Constantine, from the Astoria Fire Department, presented an award to the city for its support of Safe Kids North Coast.

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