Shady Cove council moves to end water district

SHADY COVE — The City Council has asked the Jackson County Board of Commissioners to dissolve the community's water district as soon as possible

The resolution, passed unanimously Thursday, came in response to a request from Shady Cove resident, Gary Endicott, one of the leaders of a petition drive calling for dissolution of the Shady Cove Water District.

He said a dissolution would speed up any chance of developing a viable water system.

"Many residents in Shady Cove are now stuck with dry wells and hauling in water at great expense," said Endicott.

He reminded the council of the 2005 vote in which residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of dissolution.

That vote was nullified by a court ruling.

"Residents also recently voted, by about 88 percent of the vote, to elect five candidates whose platform was to dissolve the district," Endicott said, "and district residents have spoken several times since to dissolve the district."

Endicott said he believes Oregon law allows county commissioners to either dissolve the district themselves or call for an election, but in his opinion, "an election will just waste more time.

"If they put it on a future ballot, that will push it out to March of 2010, and that just further delays any capable body or organization from making attempts to bring water to Shady Cove."

Mayor Ron Holthusen asked water district board President Phillip Keith how he felt about asking the county to expedite the dissolution process.

Keith said he didn't have an opinion, but added, "The water district board of commissioners wants to get rid of this job as soon as possible. We're tired of it already."

Councilman Bill Kyle made the motion for the resolution, which passed on a 5-0 vote.

"For what it's worth," Kyle said, "this will tell the county commissioners that we, the members of the City Council, say get moving on this thing."

The Board of Commissioners will not have to decide between an election or an immediate dissolution of the water district until it receives a required fact-finding report and dissolution plan from the water district board.

The water board is expected to review at least a first draft, and perhaps a final version of those documents, when it meets again Monday.

Writer Bill Miller lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at

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