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Bend Leaders Try To Get Water Project Back On Track

City leaders in Bend say they plan to change the scope of a stalled $70 million surface water system in order to get the project back-on-track. 

Work ground to a halt last month after a federal judge in Eugene issued a preliminary injunction in a case brought by Central Oregon Landwatch.

Judge Ann Aiken’s ruling echoed concerns raised by the conservation group — namely that the city didn’t properly assess the project’s environmental impacts before seeking permits from the U.S. Forest Service.

Bend Mayor Jeff Eager says the city will now seek new permits from that agency.  This time the city wants to cap how much water it can take before mitigation measures.

“The judge in her decision was concerned about the Forest Service’s process and so this proposal tries to address these concerns,” Eager said.

Central Oregon Land Watch Executive Director Paul Dewey says his concerns remain. 

Dewey says the new proposal won’t change how much water the city is capable of taking — only how much the Forest Service says it can take.  And that he says that could always change.

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