A group of local business people and residents are meeting this Saturday to explore ways to deal with plans that could put over 100 logging trucks a day down Moore Road, turn east on Bay Road and into the Port of Newport’s new Industrial Terminal. Teevin Brothers, one of Oregon’s largest log exporting firms, plans to begin routing fully loaded logging trucks to Newport and have those logs shipped to the Far East starting in late Spring.
Dee Shannon, who has been a primary organizer of the group says logging trucks and residential areas don’t mix. Shannon says her condominium and hotel property will be hurt by the dramatic increase in truck traffic on Moore and Bay Roads. “Less visitors means lower incomes for everyone in Newport, one way or another,” she said. “We think that the city and port task force addressing traffic safety concerns doesn’t get to the main point – the trucks don’t belong on Moore road.”
However, Port of Newport officials have stated repeatedly in the past that Moore Road was built to truck traffic standards and with modifications to the intersection of Moore and Bay Roads, the trucks and the motoring public can be accommodated safely. They say log exports were an industrial mainstay in the Newport area for decades but ceased in the mid-90’s. In short, industrial access to the terminal was here first. Task Force members have also stated that Moore Road is seen only as a temporary route until a permanent one can be established and a funding source for it can be obtained. No one has ventured a guess as to how long that might take, but top officials have stated that the Terminal Task Force is now focusing on ascertaining where that alternative route should be constructed and how to pay for it. The say obtaining large grants through economic development sources and state lottery proceeds are part of the mix.
But Shannon says she’s not convinced. She observes that “Once Moore Road is handling the log truck traffic and the log operations are in full swing, there will be little incentive for the city or the port to follow through on their commitment to establish a permanent alternative route which is likely to be very expensive. We want the port and the city to get moving on the real route first and not disrupt our neighborhoods and businesses with large, loud logging trucks.” Shannon adds, “Everybody is for economic development and more jobs, but unless we do this project right, its benefits will be severely reduced by its damaging impact on the community.”
Shannon says her group, “Citizens to Save Newport,” invites anyone in the public interested in the issue to attend their next meeting scheduled for Saturday, January 5th, 10am at The Landing, located at the intersection of Moore and Bay Roads. Come in through the lobby and it’s the meeting area right upstairs. Their number is 541-574-6777.