Road maintenance — and what government entities are, or should be, responsible for said maintenance — was a topic of some discussion at last week’s Canby City Council meeting, as councilors unanimously agreed to accept approximately 500 feet of North Maple Street into city jurisdiction.
Street maintenance, particularly in some of the older neighborhoods on the north side of town, is a frequent source of complaints from residents, but what’s not always clear is whom the complaints should be directed to.
Many streets that lie, at least partially, within Canby city limits are actually the responsibility of the county in terms of upkeep and maintenance. Such is the case with North Maple.
Oregon law provides procedures whereby a county may surrender any of its roads within city limits over to the jurisdiction of that city, provided that all parties agree to the transfer. But a sticking point is often the fact that county roads don’t meet city standards, because of poor condition, inadequate width or lack of sidewalks, bike lanes, ADA accommodations, etc.
Often, sections of these roads are brought up to code through the work of developers, who must agree to improve portions of surrounding roads as one of the conditions imposed upon their projects. This is also the case here, the project being the Seven Acre Development located at the end of North Maple, which was finally upheld this summer and years spent on appeals.
County officials have been getting “increasing pressure” from Canby residents about needed road improvements to the county-owned portion of North Maple Street, which includes everything north of NE Territorial Road, particularly with regard to the substandard width and lack of sidewalks and shoulders.
The county had originally approached the city about taking over the entirety of North Maple that’s under their jurisdiction, but this was ultimately tabled in favor of a larger discussion about the prioritization of all county road transfers, as Planning Director Bryan Brown explained.
City staff had requested that the county provide a dollar sum equivalent to the cost of a 2-inch asphalt overlay on this portion of North Maple, which is typical in such transfers. However, the county declined in this instance, citing that this particular portion of roadway is in good condition and is due to be improved by the developers of the Seven Acre Subdivision anyway.
The outskirts of North Maple Street being considered in “good condition” would probably come as a surprise to many of the residents who live there, and it “irritated” Mayor Brian Hodson, who seemed to channel The Dude in saying, “That’s just, like, their opinion, man.”
The motion to accept jurisdiction over the soon-to-be-improved 490-foot portion of roadway at the end North Maple Street was approved unanimously. A more in-depth discussion is expected next year to review priorities for street maintenance and other transfers from the county, as well as disbursements of revenue anticipated from the new countywide vehicle registration fee.