By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Timber sales and tunnel contract approved

The commission also accepted a recommendation from General Manager Kem Carr to authorize sale of logs suitable for utility poles while the market remains strong.

The utility’s timber management consultant, Mason, Bruce & Girard, is recommending it log older sections of the watershed more heavily than younger ones in the coming decade because the number of mills that can handle logs more than 18 inches in diameter is dwindling. The firm is recommending two 20-acre tracts of older, larger trees be cut this year.

In addition, Water & Light is keeping an eye out for tracts of timber coming on the market adjacent to its watershed. It is interested in expansion opportunities.

In other business, the commission:

n Awarded Jacobs Associates, billed as the “go-to firm for tunneling projects,” the contract for designing and overseeing construction of a second tunnel to funnel water down to the city from the utility’s Coast Range treatment plant. The contract allocates $670,377 to design and $105,035 to construction management, for a total of $775,412.

The plant can currently deliver 14.7 million gallons a day. The new tunnel is designed to push its delivery capacity to 30 million gallons a day.

The old tunnel is lined with steel, but Engineering and Operations Manager John Dietz said the new one will be lined with polyethylene. The material is flexible enough to withstand a subduction zone earthquake of 9.0 magnitude.

n Authorized an agreement with the federal Bonneville Power Administration that will give customers online access to their accounts. That would allow them to monitor their electrical usage, perhaps encouraging them to pursue conservation measures.

n Approved a contract with Mason, Bruce & Girard for $273,300 in timber management services in 2013, and authorized the firm contine work on a federally mandated wetlands mitigation assessment at an additional cost of $37,356.

n Authorized a contract with Utility Financial Solutions LLC for $18,500 to update the utility’s electric service cost analysis in light of BPA fee hikes.

n Re-elected Tom Tankersley to the commission chairmanship.

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