Tillamook People's Utility District has been aggressively pursuing its proposed Tillamook Oceanside Transmission Line (TOTL) for several years now. Currently, TPUD has an application before the County.
The Planning Commission approved it, and the Board of Commissioners just followed suit. The landowners who appealed did not get any protection from their elected representatives. The utility's application before the Public Utility Commission for the use of eminent domain is still pending.
TPUD is plowing ahead, certain of ultimately getting all its approvals.
In late July the TPUD Board approved an ordinance (Ordinance 2-18) approving issuance of $46 million in revenue bonds. The monies would be used: "to finance improvements in the District's electric system, including a transmission line and substation, meter replacement and a new operations center." In other words, the District is proposing to issue these bonds to pay for the highly controversial and unnecessary
transmission line. The bonds are to be paid solely from electrical system revenues.
ORCA opposes this action by TPUD. The
- ironically organized as a people's utility - is saddling its ratepayers with $46 million of revenue bonds for a transmission line that is highly controversial and will harm farmers, rural residents and timber owners, as well as traverse a portion of the Southern Flow Project, a large wetland restoration in the area. Stimson Lumber Company, whose lands the transmission line would also cross, notified the Board of Commissioners in May that they too oppose the line, because it would take 36 acres of timberland out of production, and open their lands to vandalism.Worse yet,
as many have testified,
the project is
has an alternative (Option 3) that would shore up service reliability to the Oceanside area without building
At the very least, TPUD should put this bond measure to a ratepayer vote. Since ratepayers
pay for the bonds
and shoulder the costs of the transmission line,
it is only just that they should vote on whether or not TPUD may issue