Final Notices Issued for Downtown Canby Quiet Zone; Approval Could Come Within 60 Days

The city has issued notices in the final phase of approval before they can begin construction work on the quiet zone in downtown Canby.

Funded by urban renewal dollars, the quiet zone would make it so train engineers are no longer required to sound their horns at the three intersections in downtown Canby (Elm, Grant and Ivy streets) — except in an emergency situation.

In order for a quiet zone to be granted, the city would have to build a number of safety improvements at the three intersections, such as concrete medians designed to prevent cars from driving around the arms of the railroad gates.

The quiet zone has been a topic of discussion for years, maybe even decades — exactly how long depends on who you ask — but the city’s current leadership has been pressing the issue since at least September of last year, when they approved an engineering contract for the first round of safety improvements to make the quiet zone possible.

Another critical step was the city’s agreement in February to reimburse Union Pacific Railroad $75,000 for their team to conduct a site and design review in downtown Canby. This move was somewhat controversial because the city — or more accurately, the Canby urban renewal agency — would still be on the hook for these funds even if the railroad ultimately decided to deny the quiet zone.

Canby has cleared every hurdle and prerequisite so far, and according to new City Administrator Scott McClure, has now issued final notices to all of the entities that would have to sign off on the proposed quiet zone. Those receiving notices will have 60 days to respond or comment on the case.

If no comments are received, then the downtown Canby quiet zone is approved by default. This would open the door to the city to begin construction on the previously designed safety improvements.

McClure told councilors the good news at the city’s urban renewal agency meeting last week, saying the first projects could go out to bid as early as February or March, assuming there are no objections within the 60-day window.

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