Lady Creek Water System ("LCWS") is a 501(c)(12) water cooperative delivering drinking water to over 400 recreational residences on the Mt. Hood National Forest's Zigzag Ranger District. All cabin owners served by LCWS are members of the organization, and are highly encouraged to attend our annual membership meeting to learn more about the system and to vote on key decisions influencing the future of LCWS.
LCWS provides association management services for the water system -- this includes assessing and collecting annual dues for each homeowner within the association, managing homeowner relations with the association, and tracking maintenance needs, homeowner requests, and facilitating transfers of cabins between homeowners. We are excited to move to the AppFolio Property Manager system to facilitate our management of the association.
Board of Directors
Holly Robinson, President
Geoff Carr, Vice President/Secretary
Rob Haught, Treasurer
Adam Abplanalp, Assistant Treasurer
Directors serve staggered terms of three years, and officers were elected in July 2023 to serve until after the next annual meeting of members.
Want to help out?
We currently have a vacancy on the Board (our bylaws authorize up to nine members) -- if you're interested in joining us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get in touch!
We're a "working board," and each member takes on projects, regular responsibilities, and other duties to keep LCWS functioning well.
Annual Tax Returns
Bylaws and Organizational Documents
Mission and Priorities (01/18/2021)
Meeting Minutes Policy (04/20/2021)
Board Meeting Policy (05/17/2021)
Delinquent Member Dues and Assessments Policy (07/16/2018)
Banking and Cash Disbursements Policy (08/18/2020)
Environmental Policy (03/15/2021)
Expense Reimbursement Policy (04/20/2021)
Inactive Member Policy (10/19/2015)
Leak and Related Fees Policy (01/18/2021)
Shared Service Line Policy (04/16/2012)
Ethics Policy (01/18/2021)
New Connection Policy (01/18/2021)
History of the Lady Creek Water System (1933-2022)
Compiled by Geoff Carr, Secretary of the Lady Creek Water System Board of Directors in 2022
The current Lady Creek Water System (LCWS) originated on July 24, 1933, as a project of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which was started in April of that same year. The organization was originally named the Zig Zag Summer Homes Recreation Association and the name was changed to LCWS in 1979. The CCC was a federal program intended to hire unskilled young men who could not find other work during the Great Depression. The focus of the CCC program was to build improvements to federal lands. Many CCC campsites for workers were in the national forests. CCC workers dug the first ditches and performed excavation for the LCWS. The purpose of this project was to provide water to summer tract homes in the Mount Hood National Forest.
Workers on the project came from Unit 928 of the CCC located at Camp F-11 in Zig Zag. The unit was under the direction of Samuel S. Houston, Resident Engineer.
As a side note, another depression era employment program, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) focused on hiring more skilled tradespeople. The best-known project for the WPA on the mountain was Timberline Lodge although they built projects throughout Oregon and other states.
On August 24, 1933, water supply pipe started to be laid. By March 21,1934, all 10.5 miles of original pipe had been laid. In 2021, the system now has 11.6 miles of mainline water supply pipe.
In order to supply water to the member cabins the pipeline had to cross the Zig Zag River six times. A single crossing over both Camp Creek and Still Creek was also required.
Between August 1933 and March 1934, crews of over 40 workers worked on the project.
Plans for the LCWS were based on the then existing maps of the summer homes tract. Lady Creek Water System now serves 425 Forest Service Cabins with clean and reliable water.
At first it was thought that a natural pool in Lady Creek would provide sufficient water retention for the water system to supply the cabins. After the flood of November 1933, it was necessary to build a wooden dam and intake crib.
In June of 1934 Zig Zag Summer Homes Recreation Association (as it was called then) was handed control of the project by the CCC. Mr. Charles Flury was the first water master for the new system. David Jacob PE is our current water master and has been essential to our efforts since he began work with us in 2007.
In January 1935, work was completed on connecting the water supply pipes to the member cabins. LCWS worked in cooperation with the Forest Service throughout this project. The labor and engineering were done by the U.S. Forest Service with materials and supplies provided by the LCWS. Total cost to LCWS was $14,000.
LCWS continues its close relationship with the U.S. Forest Service. In fact, the entire LCWS is on Forest Service property just as our cabins are. And just as with our cabins, LCWS operates under permit from the Forest Service.
In 1962, the original headworks of the system was replaced and then rebuilt in 1965 following the flood of 1964 as a concrete dam upstream from the original wooden dam. The flood of 1964 also took out five of the six Zig Zag River crossings, which were also rebuilt.
In the summer of 1979, the US Environmental Protection Agency found the Lady Creek Water System was contaminated with Giardia Lamblia. A boil water alert was issued to all cabin owners. As a result of the ongoing contamination, two campgrounds (Tollgate and Camp Creek) were removed from the LCWS per an order of the Zig Zag Forest Service District Ranger. These campgrounds were moved to well systems.
At its April 29, 1980, annual meeting, it was decided by the Board of Directors to abandon the dam, dig a deep well and install a 24,000-gallon storage tank.
The dam on Lady Creek restricts fish passage to spawning gravel. Before LCWS proposed the well and dam abandonment, the Forest Service was proceeding with plans to construct a fish ladder over the dam. With the LCWS decision to abandon the dam, dam removal was determined to be the preferred path of addressing the resultant fish reproduction issues arising from the presence of the dam.
In 1981 our first well was drilled and the 75,000 gallon tank built. In 1985 two additional wells were drilled. We are now working towards the drilling of a fourth well to serve the LCWS members in the future.
In September of 1986, the Forest Service worked to improve fish passage on Lady Creek. They lowered the spillway and built a terraced waterfall. While this work was somewhat successful it is still not sufficient to bring Lady Creek to natural fish passage conditions. The dam on Lady Creek has been characterized by blocking 1.2 miles of prime anadromous fish habitat.
During the early 1980’s, the Board of Directors of LCWS began an ambitious program to replace all of the original mainline pipes throughout the system, in a phased approach. Over the years, various sections of old mainline have been replaced with new mainline and as of 2022, over 90% of the mainline has now been replaced.
Also in the 1980’s, LCWS began installing individual water meters for each cabin. The Maintenance, Repairs, and Operations (MRO) fee was established as a one-time $350 charge per cabin to cover the cost of meter installation. The MRO is only charged to each cabin once upon a change in ownership of that cabin. Once paid by a cabin owner, the MRO is not charged again to the same cabin. Today almost all cabins in the system have individual water meters. There are a few remaining situations where 2 or more cabins have a single meter and a shared service line, but these are being phased out over time.
In August of 2013 LCWS installed a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system made up of both hardware devices and software that allow the water system to control and monitor operations and better collect data.
LCWS finished installation of electronically read water meters in 2021. The main goal of the meters is to provide early indication of leaks that are between the meter and member cabins. These meters are our best way of noticing leaks early and providing early information to cabin owners to reduce leaks on their side of the system. Our Water Master can read the meters by driving down the cabin roads and receiving the electronic water usage information. These meters address one of LCWS major issues; that being of water conservation.
LCWS highest recorded water use was in the year 2000 and again in 2008 at over 22 million gallons for the year. In 2008, the Board of Directors of LCWS declared water loss from leaks to be a major issue and launched the leak detection and elimination program. Through aggressive leak detection and other conservation measures we are now down below 10 million gallons per year for the last six years in a row.
The concrete dam and original wooden dam and intake crib were removed by the Forest Service in July of 2022. All of the contracted work was from grants from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board to the Forest Service's non-profit partner, The Freshwater Trust. The Forest Service contribution was in-kind for the pre-, during, and post-monitoring, designs, permitting, and implementation oversight. Therefore sufficient funds were found for the Forest Service to remove the concrete dam on Lady Creek with Aquatic Contracting as the principle contractor.
Today, the LCWS has a robust capital improvement plan to address our member cabin’s needs for the future as well as effective maintenance of the existing supply system. We operate with a volunteer Board of Directors and contract with a professional water master and engage in contracting for certain other services.
As part of a current effort, we have updated many of our policies governing our operations and will continue to do this on a regular basis. We strive to maintain a cost effective and responsible budget supported by annual assessments to our members. Our goal is supplying our member cabins with reliable and safe water that meets all federal and state regulations.
We always welcome member input.
June 1934, Final Report on the construction of the Lady Creek Water System, signed by Samuel S. Houston
Letter to Mark O. Hatfield, dated December 18, 1980, from Richard J. Pflif, Forest Service Supervisor, Mount Hood National Forest.
Oregonian articles dated January 20, 1935, December 30, 1964, August 5, 1967.
1981 and 1985 Lady Creek Water System water well reports filed with the State of Oregon.
State of Oregon Blue Book published by the Oregon Secretary of State.