Pine Hollow dam

Pine Hollow dam.

State officials last Tuesday gave the go-ahead on a contract to replace one boat ramp at Pine Hollow Reservoir and repair another, bringing a years-long effort to fruition.

“We’re going to get our boat ramps fixed; it’s going to be great,” said Brian Manning, president of the South Wasco Park and Recreation District.

Work will start probably in mid-September and take four to five weeks, he said.

The Oregon State Marine Board authorized the park district to begin drafting a contract with Legacy Contracting of Stayton, the low bidder for the project.

Grant funding for the project totals $210,000, and two rounds of bidding saw the low bids come in at $140,000 over and then $75,000 over budget. The state recently agreed to narrow the scope of the project to bring costs down.

The north boat ramp, which was condemned eight years ago and removed last fall, will be replaced, but original plans for an asphalt apron at the top of it were scrapped to cut costs.

The south boat ramp is failing and needs repairs. But instead of initial plans to replace the top three sections of it, they will now be reinforced with grout, which will be injected at high pressure into any voids to fill them in.

Riprap, or large boulders, will be added to the sof the south ramp to stabilize it and minimize erosion from wave action caused by boats and wind, Manning said.

The scaled-back project is still $6,000 over budget, but Manning said, “We have some money in reserve, and we have petitioned the Wasco County Commission for a little help, and they haven’t gotten back to us yet. We will be able to make up the shortfall.”

When park officials approached the commission a few weeks ago for help, Wasco County Commissioner Scott Hege helped arrange the meeting with the state marine board in which the scope was narrowed.

If the park district uses its reserve, it will be short for operational costs, Manning said.

The park district does not have a tax base, but sends out a fundraising letter each year to around 1,800 people. Last year, it netted about $9,000, he said.

The park district was approved by voters in 2015 and formed in 2016, with its main goal being replacing the boat ramps at the reservoir, which is in Wamic.

The ramps were built by the county when the reservoir was built in the 1960s, but the county didn’t want to be “in the boat ramp business, that’s why the district was formed,” Manning said.

Manning said last Friday the contract should be finished this week.

The reservoir is a dual-purpose irrigation and recreation lake. It gets drawn down significantly by fall, by as much as 40 feet, Manning said. That will leave the work areas for the ramps completely out of the water, he said.

He said, “Come next spring we should be ready to rock and roll with full on modern boating facilities.”

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