District official can't recall anything similar in years of construction
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – The Tumalo Irrigation District is offering a reward of up to $12,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of vandals who drilled several holes in a 36-inch pipeline, part of a canal-piping project, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.
The sheriff’s office received a report on March 27 of criminal mischief to the irrigation district’s new pipeline in the 18000 block of Pinehurst Road, Sgt. Jayson Janes said.
Deputies and detectives are conducting an investigation and asking for the public’s help in finding whoever is responsible for the vandalism, believed to have occurred in mid-January, when the trench was open and pipe in place.
Anyone with information that might help is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 541-693-6911, reference Case No. 21-15441.
Canal-piping projects have been controversial now and then on the High Desert, as many residents lose a water feature they have enjoyed for many years, and some have taken legal action to block or change them.
But irrigation district Interim General Manager Chris Schull said, "As long as I've been doing construction and around irrigation, I've never experienced anything like this, and neither has Taylor Northwest," the project contractor.
Seven holes were discovered along a 330-foot section of pipe, he said.
Here's a statement from the irrigation district:
Tumalo Irrigation District Offers Reward Following Pipe Vandalism
Tumalo Irrigation District is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to an arrest and a $10,000 reward for information leading to a conviction after its new pipeline near Pinehurst Road was recently found to have been vandalized. During final inspections and testing of the new pipeline, it was discovered that multiple holes were intentionally and unlawfully drilled into the pipeline. It is believed that between January 6th and 13th, the vandal climbed into the then open trench and drilled multiple holes in the 36” polyethylene pipeline.
The pipeline is part of a 3 1/2-mile state and federally funded system improvement project intended to leave more water in area streams and rivers while providing farmers with pressurized, more reliable water for crops.
The irrigation district is working with its contractors and engineers as quickly as it can to repair the damaged pipeline, so water can be delivered to farmers later this month. The estimated cost to repair the damage is $125,000 to $250,000. After the repairs are completed, the irrigation district and its engineers will determine whether the repairs are sufficient or if the damaged section of pipeline will need to be replaced entirely.
The irrigation district, which has been in existence for over 100 years, provides water to 684 patrons that irrigate 7,350 acres of land to grow a variety of crops and dairy products.