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PGE requests variance for communication tower posted on 08/01/2018

Portland General Electric (PGE) submitted a variance request, dated June 13, to build a 150-foot tall, three-legged communications tower at 69050 Hwy. 26 (near the intersection of Hwy. 26 and Woodsey Way) on 4.54 acres of property owned by the company that already features a substation. PGE also plans on installing a 12-foot by 18-foot pre-fabricated equipment enclosure and above ground communication equipment, surrounded by an 8-foot tall chain linked fence.

The variance is required because the tower is closer than 150 feet from the property lines (the required setback is equal to the tower height) and because towers are capped at 100 feet. The property is zoned as Hoodland Residential, which allows for communication facilities and towers.

In a letter PGE wrote to Clackamas County Land use, signed by Julie Goodrich from Property Services and dated May 22, the company noted that demand for electricity has caused the electrical grid to grow and requires electrical system upgrades.

“This requires upgrades to the communication system between the base station, vehicle mobile units, hand-held portable radios, dispatch and other appurtenances to allow installation, repair, and maintenance of the electrical system infrastructure,” noted the letter. “The proposed upgraded communication equipment is a direct response to increased local demand for electricity and would accommodate and benefit future development in the community.”

The letter also added that the tower needs to be 150-feet tall for the antennas to be above obstructions and provide sufficiently large radio coverage. No colocation on the tower would occur due to interference.

The application was presented before the Rhododendron Community Planning Organization (CPO) at its meeting on Saturday, July 21. The property’s location falls outside the organization’s area, but it presented the application for informational purposes and because the Mount Hood Corridor Community Planning Organization is inactive.

At the meeting, the CPO unanimously approved a motion to write a letter to the county in support of the application.

The county sent notice of the application, dated Monday, July 9, to property owners within 750 feet of the property. Comments were due within 20 days of this notice to be sure they were considered prior to a decision.

By Garth Guibord/MT
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