Tumalo piping project takes another step forward (copy)

Latham Excavation crews place a section of pipe at the Tumalo Irrigation canal near Tumalo Reservoir in 2019.

The Tumalo Irrigation District is offering a $10,000 reward to find and convict whoever drilled several holes in the district’s new pipeline near Pinehurst Road.

The vandalism was discovered March 27 during the final inspections and testing of the new pipeline, according to the district.

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office detectives are investigating the case and believe the crimes occurred between Jan. 6 and Jan. 13, when somebody climbed into the open trench and drilled multiple holes in the 36-inch polyethylene pipeline.

Sgt. Jayson Janes, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, said Wednesday a motive for the vandalism has not yet been determined.

“We are still trying to figure all of that out,” Janes said.

The new pipeline is part of a system improvement project that will leave more water in streams and rivers and provide farmers with pressurized water for crops, according to the district.

The pipeline was challenged in federal court by property owners who were concerned about the loss of vegetation in the area and lower property values from the piping project.

Irrigation season is starting this month, and Tumalo was expected to begin April 19. The district is working with its contractors and engineers 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, according to the district. Anyone with information that leads to an arrest will be offered $2,500 and will receive the additional $7,500 after a conviction, the district said.

Following the repairs, the irrigation district will determine if the pipeline is sufficient or if it needs to be completely replaced.

The district provides water to 684 customers who irrigate 7,350 acres of land to grow a variety of crops and dairy products.

Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 541-693-6911 and reference case number


Reporter: 541-617-7820, kspurr@bendbulletin.com

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