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Testing costs at gun club hit $113,080

The city of Ashland will pay $49,080 for more lead testing at the Ashland Gun Club after already paying $64,000 for testing that the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality said was flawed.

After some grumbling, city councilors approved the new spending on Tuesday night.

JBR Environmental Consultants Inc., which has a White City branch, will test for lead contamination from ammunition at the gun club on city-owned land near the Ashland Municipal Airport. The work will include digging monitoring wells to check for groundwater contamination.

In 2010, the city paid the California firm Brown and Caldwell $64,000 for lead, wildlife and habitat testing.

DEQ said the lead testing was inadequate because samples were taken well short of where most of the ammunition falls on the shooting ranges.

At Tuesday's meeting, Councilor Dennis Slattery questioned why the gun club wasn't footing the bill for testing at the site.

Mayor John Stromberg noted that a lease agreement the council approved earlier this year with the gun club puts testing costs on the city.

But the new lease does task the club with regularly cleaning up lead at the property, which it has used since 1968.

DEQ will not require a full cleanup of lead unless the property stops operating as a gun club and changes uses.

Having the club regularly clean up lead at the site could reduce final cleanup costs, which could run as high as $950,000.

The 10-year lease signed this year puts the responsibility for a final cleanup on the gun club. The city previously bore that responsibility.

The Ashland Police Department, an Ashland-based National Guard unit, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory, National Park Service rangers, hunter's education classes, Boy Scout troops and others use the gun club facilities along with club members.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.