The Newport City Council Monday night will likely certify an addition to a traffic impact analysis (TIA) for log trucks using Bay Boulevard east of Moore Road. Once that decision has been made it will clear the way to begin shipping logs from the terminal to Asian ports.
The fix to the TIA was a reanalysis of what effect log truck traffic would have on motorists turning north onto Running Springs Road from Bay Road or from Running Springs, turning either west or east onto Bay Road. The State Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) originally ordered a re-examination of their TIA in that Running Springs was left out of the first TIA, perhaps the result of someone thinking the intersection didn’t have any major traffic using it, or that it might have been a private drive rather than a street, so it could be left out.
LUBA disagreed and sent it back to the city for re-consideration. The recently re-evaluated analysis includes Running Springs Road, including findings that log trucks won’t cause significant delays in turning movements from Running Springs onto the Bay Road or from Bay Road onto Running Springs.
Public testimony is expected on the subject, but possibly beyond the subject in that those opposed to log shipments from the International Terminal don’t want log truck traffic on Moore Road, Bay Road or at the terminal. They contend it’s unsafe for children and other pedestrians and bicyclists to be confronted with 50 round trips a day to the facility by logging trucks.
However, opponents will likely be told by the city council that LUBA’s only quibble with the TIA was that it did not account for the intersection of Bay Road and Running Springs. And because of that, public testimony will be limited to that one point.
However, under public comment at other spots on the agenda, more general observations will likely be admissible, according to city staff. During other discussions about log trucks, its been pointed out that Newport area voters approved a nearly $16 million bond to clean up and renovate the old International Terminal. The terminal was used to export logs for years, but tapered off in the mid 1990s. The voters information pamphlet in 2006 indicated that a renovated terminal would accommodate deep draft ships as part of normal operations. Cargo bound for deep draft ships, its been pointed out, involves large truck traffic to haul that cargo.
An alternate route to the terminal that doesn’t involve Moore Drive and the Bay Road from Moore to the terminal has been discussed but how to fund such an expensive alternative has not been established nor determined who or what agency would fund such an option. Moore Road from Highway 20 to Bay Road already carries significant large truck traffic related to fish processing operations on the Bayfront. Moore Road was also built to handle large trucks. City Public Works Director Tim Gross recently announced that the city will re-align the intersection of Moore and Bay to enhance visibilities at the intersection which will make turning movements more safe.
The city council begins their Monday night meeting at 6pm at city hall, but the TIA issue won’t be heard until 7pm.