February 26, 2014

Washouts, zoning top county agenda

Scott Hopfauf and Paul Mahlen of Minnkota Power appeared before the Oliver County Commission at its regular meeting Feb. 13 to provide an update on the low water crossing washouts. After discussion at the January commission meeting, Mahlen checked back in Minnkota’s records but was not able to locate any reference to taking care of anything below the dam. He asked if the county might have background information.
County Roads Superintendent Bruce Nelson reported that he had checked county records, including minutes from commission meetings, but did not discover an agreement or discussion on the subject. Discussion ensued as to the number of crossings that have been washed out due to high discharges from the dam, and noted that Lee Orgaard and Allan Jacobsen’s properties have been affected.
Landowner Rebecca Orgaard noted that Schwalbes have also been affected by the discharges. Orgaard and her husband have been unable to get their hay out because the crossing is washed out.
“There have been more incidences of flooding this year,” Orgaard said. “According to my husband’s grandma, there have been more washouts in the last five years than in the past 25 years.”
Commissioner Lee Husfloen agreed.
 “People are saying we don’t have as good of control of discharge as we have had in the past,” he said.
Mahlen told the commission that he and Hopfauf will have to go back to the company and see what their thoughts are and also check with the people at the plant in Center to “see if we can come up with a plan of attack.”
“We certainly appreciate anything that can be done here to help the property owners,” Husfloen said.
Mahlen plans to look into the situation below the dam once the weather improves; he will report back to the commission at its April 3 meeting.


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