The Newport City Council is expected to get a report from staff Monday night on how log export company Teevin Brothers has corrected a deficiency in their Traffic Impact Study – the TIA being a requirement before log exporting can begin at the recently rebuilt International Terminal.
The State Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) sent the TIA back when they found that an intersection in the traffic study was left out – namely the intersection of the Bay Road and Running Springs Drive. It is, ironically, the closest intersection to the entrance to the log truck entryway to the terminal. Running Springs is a road that serves a few homes up the hill from the Bay Road, but which may serve quite a few more homes in the future. LUBA wanted the intersection included in the analysis. Staff says of all the intersections involved in the plan, Running Springs appears to be the least affected by log truck traffic since so few people use that intersection.
If the council re-certifies the impact analysis report all roadblocks will have been removed and the log export operation would likely go forward.
However, a group of neighbors along the truck route from Moore Road, to Bay Boulevard, to the International Terminal, remain dead set against it. They claim that their neighborhood has grown substantially since log exports tapered off at the terminal back in the early 1990s. They contend that log truck traffic will spoil their neighborhood’s peace and quiet and would pose a safety hazard for bicyclists and pedestrians, especially children.
Since resolving the Running Springs Road issue appears to be well in hand, it would be up to the neighbors who oppose the project to appeal the issue further up the legal chain of command. Neighbors not only could appeal the issue to the State Court of Appeals, but to the State Supreme Court as well. Meanwhile Teevin Brothers and Alcan Timber are holding off entering into formal agreements with the Port of Newport until a definitive green light is given to the project.
Port of Newport officials remind everyone that Newport area voters approved a $15.5 million bond in 2006 to not only remove pollution from the terminal but also “to rebuild the ship cargo dock, barge and work docks to accommodate the fishing fleet, deep draft vessels and barges.” That’s from the November 2006 Lincoln County Voters Pamphlet. Deep draft vessels involve large trucks and with them large truck traffic to serve those vessels. Whether transporting logs or any other cargo destined for those deep draft ships, large trucks are inescapably involved.
The discussion on whether the amendment to the traffic impact analysis dealing with Running Springs Road meets LUBA requirements begins in front of the city council, Monday, December 9th, at 7pm, City Hall.