Ditch the TID canal pipe project

BY  John Hauschild January 22, 2019, Ashland Tidings

If you live anywhere near, and/or enjoy walks along, the Ashland TID canal, please look into the facts of the proposed pipe project and tell our City Council not to approve the next phase of funding!

When I first learned the city of Ashland was looking into removing the 2-mile stretch of TID canal within city limits and replacing it with a pipe, I was struck by the faulty reasoning behind the project and amazed that it was estimated to cost Ashland taxpayers a minimum of $2.5 million. I attended a public meeting to ask a few questions last fall and, as I thought, the city’s reasons behind the project made little sense.

There are some 30 miles of TID canal passing through open cattle range and farmland before it reaches the city limits. The idea that enclosing our 2-mile stretch would somehow help solve contamination in Ashland Creek seems very unreasonable. Now it has come to light that Jackson County has allowed a commercial pig farm to exist (and a commercial slaughterhouse is under review) a few feet uphill from a section of the TID canal before it reaches city boundaries. I would think that city officials worried about water quality in Ashland Creek would spend time and resources to shut down or control this big potential pollutant to the TID canal water and, eventually, Ashland Creek.

The city’s second big reason behind the project is that the poorly maintained concrete canal loses a large percentage of water (stated to be 30 percent) to seepage and evaporation. There surely are less expensive methods of repair/resurfacing available and proper yearly maintenance of the canal would negate most possible water losses through leaks and breaks. (The miles of concrete canal not under city control must get maintained regularly to avoid such losses?).

If approved, the removal of the concrete canal and the installation of an underground pipe will put large, noisy concrete removal/construction equipment in our yards and neighborhoods for a year or more and a noisy, permanent water pumping station at the corner of Pinecrest Terrace and Ponderosa.

I don’t know why, but many people living along the canal and those who enjoy walking or running regularly along the TID canal path do not seem to know about the proposed removal of the canal! The negative effects on lifestyle and livability, while solving little in the way of water quality and retention, mount up to a waste of millions of taxpayer dollars better spent elsewhere.

There is a “public feedback” meeting concerning the TID Canal Pipe Project at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31 at Southern Oregon University in the Stevenson Union third floor Gallery Room.

John Hauschild lives in Ashland.

//inserted by Sharon