WALLOWA – The economy of the city of Wallowa may have received a shot in the arm last Thursday when bids were opened at City Hall for the second and largest leg of the $4 million water project to begin soon and last until March 2014.

Henderson Logging Inc., of Wallowa, submitted the lowest bid in four separate categories, making the Wallowa-based contracting company the apparent low bidder for the work. If Henderson Logging meets state criteria and survives possible appeals from any of the other six bidders for that second contract – appeals that must be filed no later than today, May 1 – Henderson Logging could begin that stage of work as early as June.

Blue Star Enterprises Northwest Inc., of Richland, Wash., bid just under $400,000 to capture the initial bid to drill a second well for the city to a depth of about 900 feet. That segment of work is expected to begin in early May and be completed by mid-September.

Because the project is being completely financed by federal funds, employees for both contractors awarded bids for the work will be paid the higher of either Davis Bacon (federal) or Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry wages.

Senior engineer Troy Baker, of the engineering firm Anderson Perry and Associates based in La Grande, said Henderson Logging not only submitted the lowest base bid for the project at about $2.8 million, but submitted the lowest bid on each of three additive alternative projects the city has prioritized, if funding remains available, to add to the initial project.

Those three additive alternatives include:

• A 530-foot project to replace 4-inch lines with 6-inch lines to increase water pressure on South Holmes Street.

• An 890-foot project to plant a new 6-inch line from Second and Storie on a loop to where Sutton Street connects with Whiskey Creek Road.

• Painting of the existing reservoir tank.

Baker estimates there will be enough money left once the original work is completed to fund the work on South Holmes and the Sutton Street loop, but thinks it’s unlikely the current water reservoir tank will receive a new coat of paint.

Far more expensive than the South Holmes and Sutton Loop alternatives combined, reservoir painting drew a bid of $214,000 from Henderson Logging, which had to allow for the added cost of protecting workers from lead-based paint at the site.

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