On April 19th the Tillamook People’s Utility District (TPUD) approved a resolution to acquire easements and properties to move forward with their Tillamook to Oceanside Transmission Line Project and the substation property in a vote 4 to 1. Board member David Burt representing subdivision #2 voted no.
This approval authorizes TPUD staff to continue collaborating with property owners to secure easements along the Tillamook to Oceanside transmission line route.
The meeting was held at Tillamook Bay Community College, instead of at the TPUD meeting room, as a large crowd was expected. More than 130 fired-up and passionate people were in attendance, the room was full and people were spilling out into the hallway.
The meeting started with public comments; Kurt Mizee a 4th generation Tillamook County dairyman and Netarts / Oceanside homeowner spoke, “The proposed line would cut right through my family’s land, I have a duty to speak up on behalf of my family and as someone who has been involved and following this process for the past 10 years,”
Mizee went on to say that what they are proposing is simply overkill, adding that building the transmission line to fix the electrical problems in Oceanside is like using a semi-truck for a job when a wheelbarrow would work just fine.
“If I didn’t speak up about this and there was a forest fire caused by this line or if there was damage caused to farmers property I would feel bad that I didn’t say anything,” said Mizee.
Don Aufdermauer is another landowner affected by the transmission line.
“I thought the TPUD board represented the people; look around this is a room full of people upset about this,” he said “No one wants this route; 70% of the problems out there are from vehicles, trees and wind if you’d move some trees, fix the poles, fix the line the way it is we’d be able to get this taken care of in a much less expensive way.”
Among the minority of people in attendance there to support the proposed transition line was Jerry Keene of the Oceanside Neighborhood Association. Keene said,
“We completely understand the frustration and anger of the Tillamook county residents whose lives will be affected by the new transmission line; and would remind the people that we have endured 20 years of anger and frustration resulting from what the PUD admits is the county’s least reliable electric service.
Every time the lights flicker in our homes because of a storm or someone drives into a power pole, we are the ones who look at each other and wonder if that flicker means we are about to spend the evening or night hours with candles and blankets while the PUD’s incredible repair team braves the weather to restore our heat and lights.
The TPUD said in a statement, “It is the responsibility of Tillamook PUD to deliver safe and reliable electricity to all of our customers. This is achieved through continual system maintenance, infrastructure improvements, designing for resiliency, and planning for future growth in our community.
The Tillamook to Oceanside transmission line and substation project is necessary for Tillamook PUD to continue to fulfill our responsibility to our customers and community.
The scope of this project work has been identified as the most effective approach to Resolving three significant issues within our system which include meeting system Capacity demands, improving reliability to the customers served in Whiskey Creek, Netarts, and Oceanside, and solving operations and maintenance issues in this area.”