Newport Police Chief Mark Miranda reported to the Newport Port Commission Tuesday evening that the city’s first attempt at slowing down westbound traffic entering Newport, to better accommodate arriving logging trucks at the soon to be open International Terminal, has been met with push-back from ODOT. They denied the request. However, Miranda quickly added that such initial ODOT responses are the result of first impressions and that with added documentation and other information contained in an appeal of the initial ruling, he thinks the city has a very good chance of prevailing. He said the request was based on actual logging trucks actually driving Highway 20 under its current configuration, which hasn’t happened yet. Miranda said the city will likely appeal the initial ODOT determination. Miranda also said he will ask ODOT to provide a flashing yellow warning light some distance back from the signal light at Fogarty and Highway 20 to warn traffic coming into Newport that a signal light ON RED is likely ahead of them.
Chief Miranda also commented on ODOT’s initial determination as to the nature of SE Moore Road. He said ODOT does not consider Moore Road a “residential” street which could have an effect on its future speed limits. Miranda says city Public Works Director Tim Gross could conduct a test of traffic speeds on Moore Road by taking the average speed of 85% of vehicles (clocked by radar) to determine if the current 25 mph limit meets ODOT’s criteria.
Meanwhile, the port commission is expecting that the International Terminal rebuild project will be wrapping up this summer in time for what they anticipate will be the beginning of log exports to the Far East conducted by Teevin Brothers based out of Rainier. The port is still in negotiations with Teevin Brothers on a contract to lease part of the Terminal for their export operations which entails one ship load a month, according to the company.