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Pool is cleared to reopen this summer

— Thompson Park swimming pool was cleared to reopen this summer, but engineers noted an increase in deterioration at the pool and recommended more extensive, and invasive, investigation of the structure.

The Northern Wasco County Park and Recreation board of directors voted 4-1 to reopen the pool after hearing a report from Darrin O. Eckman of Tenneson Engineering Corporation, who said the pool remained structurally sound and safe for use but also showed an increase in deterioration. “This inspection trip showed an increasing amount of debris and damage. I do not feel that the structural adequacy of the overall structure has been compromised at this point,” he reported. The damage and the extent of damage visible is primarily in areas that do not bear load, he explained. New areas, however, are showing visible rebar underneath the flaking concrete.

In addition to measures already in place to monitor and minimize damage, Eckman recommended a more extensive investigation, which would involve locating rebar with ground penetrating radar, then drilling core samples. “At some point, it will be uncomfortable making a public health decision based solely on a visual inspection,” he explained. The core samples would be investigated to determine the extent of rebar oxidation or rusting and the strength of the concrete slabs that surround the rebar mat. “We need to see exactly what is occurring in those rebar mats,” he said. It is possible there could be a spot fix for the problem, and engineers could calculate load and confirm the ability of the structure to support that load. He estimated the cost of the testing at $6,000 to $8,000.

District Executive Director Scott Green recommended undergoing the more intensive test if the district’s upcoming bond measure to build a new pool, currently planned for the November election, fails.

In other business, the District board:

Voted unanimously not to extend a deadline for proposals to re-locate the Lewis and Clark Memorial from Thompson Park. The memorial is the base of an unfinished tower constructed and abandoned in the late 1930s. A wooden shelter surrounding the monument has already been removed, resulting in a significant decline in criminal activity at the site, Green reported. Following the unanimous vote, the district will proceed with plans to remove the structure.


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