The Newport City Council has given Teevin Brothers the green to begin constructing their new log yard at the Port of Newport’s International Terminal. The council found that Teevin’s amendment to their traffic impact analysis shows no significant impact to traffic at the intersection of Running Springs Road and the Bay Road – something the state Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) told the city to evaluate.
The ruling angered opponents who vowed to strike back at the council through the ballot box after “the council failed to listen to the people,” as they described it. Outside city hall opponent Rio Davidson said he hopes The Landing and other opponents appeal the project to the state Court of Appeals and to the state Supreme Court if necessary.
During testimony before the council Community Development Director Derrick Tokos said LUBA’s minor problem with Teevin Brothers’ Traffic Impact Analysis was that the intersection of Bay Road and Running Springs was left out of the analysis. Tokos said the TIA consultant went back and entered the data collected on Running Springs – found no significant impact on the intersection, made the entry to the report and thereby complied with LUBA’s directive. Tokos said with that the case should be closed.
However through a letter to Tokos, opponents’ attorney Sean Malone contended that the city underestimated LUBA’s troubles with the TIA which means that there is more work to do. Tokos disagreed and the city council disagreed as well saying LUBA’s remanding documentation referred only to Running Springs – that’s all.
A couple of Running Springs neighbors testified in favor of the project. Warren Chopp said Newport needs new well paying jobs and this is a way to get them. Another Running Springs neighbor said he too favors the project but there should be a “no passing” sign placed on the Bay Road, west of Running Springs, and that their mailboxes on the side of the road should be moved farther off the pavement. Newport resident and longshoreman Yale Fogarty said the community needs more family wage jobs and that the port must have income to pay off the $16 Million in bonds passed by the voters in 2006 that authorized the renovation of the International Terminal. Resident Warren Chopp also mentioned he doesn’t want his property taxes to rise if the port doesn’t generate enough revenue to pay off those bonds.
Meanwhile, other opponents tried to testify against the project but were gaveled silent by Mayor Sandra Roumagoux who claimed they weren’t directing their comments to what was under discussion. Since testimony was to be directed at the only question cited by LUBA, the Running Springs intersection, opponents’ comments about traffic, pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers using the Moore and Bay Road intersection, were not admissible. Opponents concerns about those factors were not cited by LUBA in their ruling. Attorney Malone’s letter to the council hinted strongly that those concerns are still very much in play and could be the subject of another appeal.
The council vote to declare the Traffic Impact Analysis fully “repaired” per LUBA’s request was unanimous. Teevin Brothers’ Eric Oien said if all goes according to plan, construction on the new log yard could get underway this Spring with the first logs being loaded aboard ships headed to the Orient by next October.
Alcan Timber told News Lincoln County this week that they are also planning to ship logs overseas from the Newport terminal but that they’re holding off until everyone’s certain that the final green light has been given. Alcan did not comment on which route they would use to get their logs to Newport.
Correction: News Lincoln County earlier reported that Teevin Brothers had received a large state grant in order to build a road to facilitate log hauling in the Umatilla area. Eric Oien of Teevin Brothers corrected the reference saying that the Port of Umatilla had received the grant, not Teevin. We regret the error.
Oien called it an Immediate Need Grant from the state that was granted very quickly in order to capitalize on a new log export opportunity in Eastern Oregon. Whether such a grant might be won by the Port of Newport for an alternative access way to the International Terminal has yet to be seen. However, it’s been said many times that ODOT considers Highway 20 to John Moore Drive and the Bay Road as a time tested route used extensively in the past for just that purpose. The old terminal shipped a lot of logs overseas through the mid-1990s, then tapered off due to the deteriorating condition of the terminal, which has since been rebuilt.