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City wants its money back from CH2M Hill

A request from the city of Sunnyside to the Portland CH2M Hill office regarding a contract local officials say was not fulfilled has not received a response.

The city contracted with the engineering firm to do a study on the city’s water and sewer systems in anticipation of a rate change. The city never received the services contracted, although it paid the firm $58,000.

According to city officials, the contract with CH2M Hill was terminated under Interim City Manager Frank Sweet after the city failed to receive the contracted services. The engineering firm, say city staff, never responded to Sweet’s requests.

When City Manager Don Day was hired, he was asked by the city council to investigate the matter. With the city’s legal counsel, he drafted a letter demanding a response from CH2M Hill, giving the company five days to respond.

Day told city council last night that the city did not receive a response in the time allotted and still has not heard from the company at all regarding the problem.

Day said the city is now drafting a letter demanding the return of the money the city paid for services it never received. However, instead of sending the letter to the Portland office, the city will send the letter to the corporate office of CH2M Hill in Colorado.

City staff is considering legal options if this new letter receives no response. Day noted that recovering the money may cost the city more than it’s worth.

“How much money do we want to spend to get $58,000 back,” he said. “This might be risky. But we will certainly test the waters.”

He said the possibility is that the failure is at the Portland CH2M Hill office, which is why the city is sending the second letter to the corporate office.

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