The city of Canby on Wednesday unveiled a proposal for an alternate alignment of the proposed industrial park access road, one that would connect Walnut Road to Highway 99E at the site of the Route 99 Roadhouse (formerly known as the Double Aught Ranch).
A new access road for the Canby Pioneer Industrial Park has been discussed for many years, as city leaders realized the strain that continued industrial development will place on the existing transportation system. Without a new access road, City Administrator Rick Robinson said the city’s ability to support any additional industrial development would be severely curtailed.
“We have pretty much exhausted the capacity on Sequoia, which is our other access road into our industrial park,” he said.
The city’s 2010 Transportation System Plan outlined this project as an extension of Otto Road, one that would connect with both Walnut and Mulino.
Although this plan is still favored by the Oregon Department of Transportation, Robinson said the city has rejected the Otto Road proposal for a number of reasons, not the least of which were the cost (2010 estimates placed the project at almost $10 million) and the impact on residents in that area.
“As we looked at this over the last couple years, staff felt that it would be extremely disruptive to a number of property owners in that region if we followed that route,” Robinson said.
So, an alternate alignment was designed, one that affects only five properties and would minimize the removal of existing homes. Robinson said the road would also be aligned in such a way so as to avoid impacting environmentally sensitive wetlands that exist in that area.
Robinson said the city has met with the owners of all five properties and that they support the new alignment and are willing to sell the right-of-way necessary to realize the new roadway.
Several of those residents spoke at the meeting, including Ethan Manuel, who says the project does indeed have his and his neighbor’ support.
“We are very excited about this, honestly, as a group of Canby citizens,” he said. “As you heard, the ability to build out the industrial park is contingent on having some sort of a plan for another 99E connection.”
Last week, the city began the first step in making the new access road a reality by agreeing to spend $595,000 in urban renewal funds to buy a property just north of the industrial park at the junction of Walnut Road and SE First Avenue.
The deal is with local investment group Par 3 Investments, though its current owner is Patty Green, a resident who has been critical of the city’s handling of Project Shakespeare, the massive new beverage distribution and storage facility that will soon become the new Portland metro area hub for Columbia Distributing.
The city’s purchase is contingent upon Par 3 completing their own purchase from Patty. She appeared at the City Council meeting last week, demanding to know why the city wasn’t working with her directly.
“I’ve asked you called you and spoken to all of you about where I live, and asked you to come purchase my property so you could put a road in,” she said. “And none of you called me back.”
The City Council did not respond, other than to thank Patty for her comments. The resolution authorizing the purchase was approved unanimously.
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