Well over 300 people turned out for the Oroville Spillways Community Meeting held last Thursday at Butte Hall in the fairgrounds.
The 5:30 p.m., informational sharing was not explained well in advance and those coming at that time were surprised they had to wait an hour for the meeting to begin. This was a time for people to ask Department of Water Resources personnel questions but people were anxious to get the meeting started.
Senator Jim Nielsen and Assemblyman James Gallagher addressed the crowd letting them know they are here for us, representing the people and both received applause from the grateful crowd.
Butte County Supervisor Steve Lambert representing District 4 addressed the crowd toward the end of the meeting with the crowd also happy to hear from him.
Lieutenant Derek Bell of the Butte County Sheriff's Department represented Sheriff Kory Honea who had another commitment that evening. Lt. Bell answered questions regarding the evacuation on February 12, 2017.
The one person who did not receive applause was the Acting Director of DWR Bill Croyle who stated he was sorry for everything that the 200,000 people went through when evacuated.
When it came time for public comments to be given Oroville Attorney Don Blake didn't have questions but rather told Croyle that DWR would keep the lake below 835 feet after telling him the DWR was storing water to be sold to Southern California making it unsafe for the residents living below the dam keeping it above 835 feet.
"Shipping water to Los Angeles is totally insane, Croyle," he yelled.
Croyle stated water has not been sold to Southern California and that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has no place to store water.
Water at the dam should be lower than 830 feet in a month or so, Croyle said after Blake spoke.
Croyle explained once the gates are shut with flow stopping this week the reservoir would rise to around 860 feet.
Croyle has received much heat following the February 12 evacuation with DWR receiving much of the blame for the condition of the spillway and lack of maintenance done. He had been the Acting Director of DWR just six months when the spillway came crumbling down.
Public meetings are planned for tonight (May 3) in Marysville at the Caltrans District 3 Office 703 B Street, with an informational session at 5:30 p.m., followed by a presentation at 6:30 p.m. The Oroville meeting will be held Thursday, May 4 at the Church of the Nazarene, 2238 Monte Vista Avenue again at 5:30 for informational session and 6:30 p.m., for presentation.
In Yuba City the meeting will be held at the Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds, 442 Franklin Avenue with the same times and in Chico on May 11, 2017 at the Chico Masonic Family Center, 1110 W. East Avenue, with the same times.
Information about the recovery effort is available on DWR’s Oroville Spillway Incident webpage (http://water.ca.gov/oroville-spillway/index.cfm), where DWR shares ongoing updates about the design and construction process.
There are several ways the public can stay involved with the spillway reconstruction project at Oroville and DWR encourages everyone to provide their personal comments and questions via the following outlets:
Via Email: firstname.lastname@example.org