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RISING OF GARRISON LAKE A CONCERN

PORT ORFORD The water is rising again in Garrison Lake, but Curry County can offer nervous homeowners little help in the short term, Commissioner Lucie La Bont said Tuesday.

In early January, the lake had about 14 inches to rise before entering any homes, officials said.

La Bont said she had traveled to Reedsport on Feb. 8 with Curry County Emergency Services Coordinator Mike Murphy and Port Orford City Manager Martha Weaver-Brittell.

They met with coastal experts from the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, and Dr. Paul Komar, who retired from Oregon State University. Komar spent his career studying sand migration on the Oregon Coast.

La Bont said beach erosion near Garrison Lake was accelerated by eight high-level storms during an El Nino year.

When the lake flooded six homes in January, 2000, then-Commissioners Bill Roberts and Lloyd Olds took charge of breaching the small dune separating the lake from the ocean.

La Bont said the experts cautioned her that cutting any more channels through the beach could erode it further.

When Roberts and Olds breached the lake, they received emergency permission from Camille Mouchawar to cross his property.

Mouchawar is suing the City of Port Orford and is unlikely to grant access again.

La Bont said shed received calls from landowners concerned about the rising water. She advised them to apply for their own permit to breach the lake.

They were reluctant to do so because of possible lawsuits. Theyd prefer the county take the risk, La Bont said.

She said the commissioners will request funding from the Economic Development Agency for a study to find a permanent solution to the flooding problem.

She predicted the ultimate solution would cost millions of dollars, but that it had to be done at some point.

The beach erosion wiped out Port Orfords sewer outfall and turned the lake, the citys secondary water supply, saline.

La Bont also met with Bob Bailey from the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Developments ocean division.

She said they briefly discussed an artificial reef in the ocean to protect the beach by Garrison Lake.

La Bont said another option might be a cobble wall like the one that protects Lookout Beach near Tillamook.

La Bont also met with landowners in Port Orford last month. Suggestions at that meeting ranged from pumps and drain pipes to condemning properties on the lake.

The county has no money for sandbags, but the commissioners authorized Murphy to distribute those he had on hand, on a first-come-first-serve basis.

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