The third time may prove a charm in a years-long effort to replace and repair two boat ramps at Pine Hollow Reservoir.

After two rounds of bids came in at $140,000 over, and then $75,000 over, the $210,000 budget the South Wasco Park and Recreation District has for the boat ramps, changes to the project scope have brought the bid amount much closer to the budgeted amount, an official said.

Brian Manning, president of the park district board, said the board will meet next Tuesday with the Oregon State Marine Board and Legacy Contracting of Stayton, the low bidder on the project.

At this point, the project is just $6,000 over budget, Manning said. “We’re much more optimistic than we have been for four years.”

The park district was created nearly four years ago expressly to repair the south boat ramp and replace the north boat ramp, which was condemned eight years ago and removed last fall.

The district’s $210,000 cost estimate for the work were fresh numbers they got from the marine board in January, Manning said, but in February, a new round of bids saw the low bidder come in $75,000 over.

The park board finally went to the Wasco County Commission in early April for help. County Commissioner Scott Hege reached out to the marine board and Wasco County Clerk Lisa Gambee—the county’s representative on the park board—helped arrange a conference call with marine board members and engineers, the low bidder and some park board members, Manning said.

There, it was proposed to scale back the project. Instead of replacing the top 75 feet of the south boat ramp, it would be reinforced, and riprap, or large boulders, would be put in on both sides of the ramp to prevent the erosion that is undermining the ramp.

The repair work will include filling voids underneath the ramp with grout, Manning said. A small amount of the concrete will be replaced. This would stabilize the ramp, prevent it from sagging and would last for 10-15 years.

On the north ramp, plans originally called for an asphalt apron above the new ramp, and the marine board said to scrap that part of the project, Manning said.

Both ramps were built by the county in the late 1960s, when the manmade lake was created, he said. “Now the county doesn’t want to be in the boat ramp business, that’s why the district was formed,” he said. The district is eligible to receive grants. The district could seek a bond from district taxpayers, but “we haven’t put it on the ballot. We don’t think it would be very popular,” Manning said. “People want the boat ramps but they sure don’t want any more taxes.”

The reservoir, near Wamic, is about 2.5 to 3 miles long and about a mile wide, Manning said. It is a dual-purpose reservoir that serves both irrigation and recreation needs.

Of the 201 navigable bodies of water in Oregon, it has the 44th most boating days, he said.

The $210,000 budget is from grants from the marine board and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Manning said.

The issue is the cost of mobilization. No local contractors would touch the project because of regulations, including a 98-page bid form that had to be completed.

Most of the bidders were from the Willamette Valley, adding travel costs.

The park district has all the permits in place to do the project. The district is somewhat bumping up against a deadline, in that the 99-year lease it signed in 2016 with the Badger Improvement District for the land under the surface of the lake has a stipulation saying the land would revert to them if the ramps aren’t in place by November.

But Manning believes there’s some leeway there. If the project is approved, the hope is to do it next October or November, when the water levels in the reservoir are lowered.

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