More public debate and discussion coming up on plans to begin shipping private land logs to the Orient, mainly to China. Plans involve big trucks loaded with logs coming through town from the north on Highway 101 and into town from the east on Highway 20. Trucks will be turning south onto SW Moore Road, down the hill to Bay Boulevard – left on Bay and on to the International Terminal about a quarter mile to the east.
Many residents and some businesses in the area are opposed to the logging trucks using Moore Road, claiming the neighborhood has grown into a pretty quiet residential area since log shipments died out in the 1990s. They’re concerned about sharing the road with fully loaded log trucks weighing 40 tons coming down hill at them. They’re also concerned about truck noise and diesel exhaust pollution and what they claim is a threat to pedestrians, including school children.
Supporters of the re-emergence of the use of the International Terminal as a log export facility contend that Moore Road has always been a designated truck route and that the port’s existence preceded the residential growth in the area. They claim there wasn’t a single bad accident in the many years Moore Road was used as a logging truck route and with a re-alignment of the Moore/Bay Road intersection at the bottom of the hill, the route will be even safer. Supporters contend, and is confirmed by the Port of Newport which owns the terminal, that the voters of Newport agreed to float a large tax override to overhaul the International Terminal docks which will be paid for using proceeds from the log shipments.
The Logging Truck Project Task Force, which has been holding public meetings on the issue over the past few months, recently told the Newport City Council that they are now focusing on trying to find another Highway 20 to the International Terminal route farther to the east. But ODOT and Newport City Community Development Director Derrick Tokos have been cool to the idea advising that an alternate route would be very expensive and that sight distances along Highway 20 are often marginal at best.
At any rate, those are some of the issues that will be discussed next Tuesday night, March 19th, 6pm, at Oregon Coast Community College, Room 140. The public meeting will start with introductions, presentations by various panel members and then moderated statements and questions from the audience with local civic leader and author John Baker facilitating the proceedings.