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The Army Corps of Engineers wants the east channel of the river above the Salmon River Bridge cleared of debris and it has been recommended that the city work with the county in getting it done.

Salmon City Mayor Leo Marshall read the recommendation from the city’s Public Works Committee to a meeting of the Salmon City Council November 16th. The recommendation cited the Corps’ concern that the channel be cleared for the protection of the city and the safety of its citizens.

Marshall told the council the committee is encouraging the city to move forward and work with the county in obtaining the permits and doing the job. He said, “The committee has recommended we go forward. We just need the blessing of the council.”

The need to clear the channel of debris was first mentioned in a 2010 Army Corps of Engineers report on levee conditions. It was determined the work needed to be done in order to avoid ice jams which could take out trees along the levees allowing the river to overflow and flood the city.

Councilman Jim Baker questioned the permitting process required for allowing work to take place within the river’s high water line and if an Environmental Assessment is going to be needed. If it is, he asked who will have to prepare the EA and who will pay for it. He said he is not at all against the project but expressed his desire to see the situation documented in writing before bringing it to a vote.

Public Works Committee Chairman Bud Bartlett said the permit application will go through the Corps of Engineers and that the city will not be putting out any money until it is determined that the work can be done.

Following more discussion the council voted to have Public Works Superintendent Mickey Verbeck proceed with investigation into the process. The motion included the stipulation that no work will be done or funds expended until all details are acquired and documented. On a roll call vote Baker cast the only vote of opposition.

Public Works Committee Chairman Bartlett reported that during the committee’s November 9th meeting, in addition to the river channel issue the committee discussed a matter of a gate across a public right-of-way. He said after a long discussion between Robert Wiederrick and Mike Wallingford it was decided Police Chief K.V. Felker will work with Wallingford on the gate removal.

Bartlett said that in answer to citizen requests, some surfacing material has been placed on a favorite levee walkway between the Pedestrian Bridge and Gwartney Avenue. The Public Works Department had the materials on hand and the work served to address some safety issues being caused by the previously rough surface.

The next meeting of the Public Works Committee will be December 14th at 4:45PM in the Salmon Valley Center meeting room.

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