Sodaville Inches Forward to Bring Wells Five, Six Online

Mayor Brian Lewis, at left, swears in the city’s new administrator/recorder, Molly McGuire, during a brief meeting held June 27. Photos by Sarah Brown

The Sodaville City Council shared during its June 20 meeting that they hired a new administrator/recorder, and they continue to work through hurdles for reviving well five and installing well six.

During the council meeting, Mayor Brian Lewis shared that as he prepared to fill out an application for water rights as part of the process to build a new well (presumably to be called “well six”) on Ray Jackman’s property, he soon realized he would need help filling it out properly.

If the nine-page application is not filled out correctly, they will have to do it over and pay the submission fee again, he said. He’s looking for help to make sure the paperwork is done well.

Meanwhile, another obstacle the city faces is the fact that they are having a difficult time finding an engineer who will bid for the project.

“I’m just flying by the seat of my pants,” Lewis said about the learning experience to get a new well for the city and find an engineer. “I’m making phone calls whenever I’ve got some time between stops (at work).”

The council looked at a former Request for Proposals written up by a former administrator and expressed they think it could be done better.

“I just came to the conclusion that that’s got to be a little more professional before we even have an engineer look at it and say whether they’ll do it or not,” Mayor Lewis said. “I think that they’re just basically turning us down because they don’t feel like we’re professional enough, or we’re too small-town.”

During the council meeting it was also revealed that the city has hired Molly McGuire as the new administrator/recorder.

McGuire was raised on the coast and in the valley, and moved to Sodaville from Lebanon two years ago. She lives with her blended family in a home that features a G Scale train in the front yard, a hobby her partner, Sean Stonelake, is interested in. McGuire said they also have a rideable train, perhaps a little larger than a quarter scale, that they will fix and install some day.

But McGuire, herself, has her own personal experience working with trains. She did some work helping with Santiam Excursion Trains before moving to the freight side of Albany & Eastern Railroad in Lebanon. There, she did some railcar repair work and eventually landed something of a dispatcher role working in logistics.

“I loved the freight side, the logistics; it was really interesting,” she said.

Prior to working with trains, McGuire was a shelter manager for CARDV (Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence).

“I thrive being thrown out to learn how to swim,” she said, adding that learning a new system and figuring out how it all works is right up her alley. That will come in handy as she begins expanding her budgeting experience as Sodaville’s new administrator/recorder.

“I love numbers and I love when things come together,” she said. “It’s like doing a black puzzle and you finally get that one piece and it’s all done. That moment of all your hard work coming together is very gratifying.”

When trying to provide an overall picture of who she is, McGuire broke it down by explaining she simply likes to work and is family-oriented. On her more creative side, she likes to make greeting cards and is attempting to make a quilt for her son.

In other business:

  • Public Works Director JD Burns told the council the city started trucking in water last year during the first part of July. He noted the city has a history of trucking in water starting in July one year followed by September the next year, followed by July again the next year. If that trend continues, the city might not have to begin trucking water in until September this year. Lewis estimated the city paid more than $100,000 for water hauling last year, but noted the $60,000 from the state this year will alleviate a large portion of that anticipated cost this year. Councilor Joseph Parsons added that if well five goes back online, it should produce a good 30,000 gallons a month.
  • Burns reported the second-highest user of water this past month consumed 13,189 gallons while the highest user used 42,343 gallons. He explained that about 30,000 gallons of water was used in one weekend due to a toilet flapper that failed to drop and kept the water flowing.
  • Burns reported that lead and copper testing for the city’s water will take place this summer. This testing occurs every three years.
  • Mayor Lewis shared that an electrician will be giving the city a bid to hook well five back up.