A logjam in southwest Logan County continues to be unresolved after five years. Now, state funding appears to be on the way.
Guthrie News Page first shared this story on June 28 about a creek along Waterloo Road that continues to widen with every heavy rain due to a logjam of trees and brush. The jam has flooded a homeowners’ property and is threatening road quality.
The logjam is located just north of Waterloo Road (near Deer Creek) in Logan County. South of the issue in Oklahoma County, is a stronger flow of water widening behind the blockage, which could soon leave trouble for a Oklahoma County bridge. In the meantime, property owners in Logan County are seeing their land dwindle.
Oklahoma County Commissioner Kevin Calvey says he found a contractor who could provide a temporary fix for roughly $30,000 to $35,000. He offered a resolution last year, agreeing to pay $25,000 to help resolve the issue. KFOR: ‘It’s a pain in the rear’ – county negotiations stall on massive Deer Creek logjam
“It’s not my county,” Calvey told KFOR in March. “The Logan County commissioners need to take action and pay a minority of the cost to take care of it.”
Logan County District 1 County Commissioner Marven Goodman was hesitant after reading the Oklahoma County resolution that stated (in part): Logan County shall incur the costs as necessary to complete the work/project in an amount not to exceed $50,000.
“I will just put out there, there’s no conflict between Oklahoma-Logan County over this logjam,” Goodman said in a recent Board of County Commissioners meeting. “We’ve been trying get it removed for five years now and have not been able to get anyone’s attention until it became issue for Oklahoma County. Now, it’s a conflict between us because we do not want to spend $50,000 to get a logjam removed.”
Goodman added, “I objected to that (temporary fix) because the next big rain, like we got, more brush and debris is going to be going into that and clog it back up again, so we spend maybe 35-40-$50,000 to open a small channel through there and then it gets clogged up again. Then, we are back to square one and (have) wasted taxpayer’s money.”
Property owners went to their state leaders looking for a resolution after not finding any answers on the county level.
A meeting was held earlier this summer to discuss a resolution and funding. The meeting, in part, included Calvey, Goodman, District 2 Logan County Commissioner Kody Ellis, State Rep. Garry Mize, State Rep. Nicole Miller, Executive Director Oklahoma Conservation Commission Trey Lam and members of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
In a phone conversation, Lam told Guthrie News Page funding was made available for the logjam.
“There was funding made available,” Lam said. “It was coming to us (Conservation Commission) and we did get some money and (are) holding that. Exactly how it will be expended, is something that we will have to work out in agreement with both Logan County, probably Oklahoma County and maybe another state entity.”
Lam continued, “The idea would be to put an agreement together where everybody puts something in and we come up with a total amount of money that would cover the project.”
With the recent large amount of rainfall, Lam says funding could become available on the federal level.
During the June 30 BOCC meeting, Goodman questioned the funding mechanism that was published in the Guthrie News Page article. Related article: Legislative funding secured to remove logjam after conflict between Oklahoma and Logan counties
In a June 2 press release from the House of Representatives on behalf of Mize, it stated funding would come from House Bill 2900 to resolve the logjam issue. The bill appropriates an additional $20 million to the County Improvements for Roads and Bridges (CIRB) plan.
“One of the challenges I have is this whole proposal can’t really be done — as far as I understand it — with CIRB money,” Goodman told his fellow commissioners. “The funds that are in this account is outside the scope of our control of the county. I don’t see how this act (HB 2900) is going to fix that logjam.”
Lam agreed and said the money was never coming from House Bill 2900.
“It (funding) will not come out of the County, Roads and Bridges fund. It will come out of the Conservation funds,” Lam said. “If (O)DOT brings some money, I don’t know where it will come from. The money that was committed for sure in the appropriation bill was the Conservation Commission’s fund.”
Mize tells Guthrie News Page the house bill verbiage in the press release was an oversight on his part, and that it should not have been in the release.
“The massive Logan County Deer Creek logjam will now be fixed, thanks to Rep. Garry Mize, Rep. Nicole Miller, Sen. Chuck Hall, and Appropriations Chairmen Rep. Kevin Wallace and Sen. Roger Thompson,” Calvey said in the House of Representative’s press release. “This logjam would have the potential to erode bridges and damage property in both Logan County and Oklahoma County, so these funds are very timely. I am grateful to our legislators for providing the funds to make this logjam removal happen.”
Lam says he is hopeful a funding plan can be made available this summer.