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A few years back the City of Coos Bay informed me, due to a "sinkhole" in 14th Street, that they had run a camera up the sewer line and determined that my sewer lateral was broken and affecting the main trunkline. I was informed that I had to repair it at my own expense to include barriers and flaggers.

Being a former building contractor, I went to the local library and did some investigation into the Oregon Revised Statutes. I found that the criteria did not apply to "existing homes." I sent a letter to the city with seven stipulations. The last was "how am I going to be reimbursed if it isn't my lateral?"

The next morning the city had a private contractor on the street digging up the sinkhole. I was there taking photos. It turned out that my lateral was intact with no damage. Years before the old street was concrete. When prepping to pave it with asphalt 2-foot sections of the concrete were cut out so the new laterals could be run from all of the homes. After my lateral was in place the contractor simply tossed the assorted concrete chunks down into the hole. This created voids and the sinkhole eventually formed. It was not my fault and the city never apologized.

Now I am seeing the same scenario take place once again. The TV segment mentioned that homeowners may have to pay. I would caution everyone to be sure to have more clarity before pulling out their checkbooks. Many older folks have lived in Coos Bay and paid taxes for decades. You do not need to shell out more money if, like me, it is not legally your problem to begin with. If you do not know how to challenge the situation then by all means find someone to assist you.

Michael Harris

Monroe

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