First, we thank you for your support. Your letters, e-mails, attendance at Focus Group meetings, Open Houses, Board of Commissioners’ meetings, and countless other workshops, seminars, and related gatherings clearly demonstrated the wishes of the community. We also extend a special thanks to those who provided financial support, delivered testimony, collected petitions, delivered flyers, made phone calls, displayed signs, and helped in many other ways throughout this past year. We are proud of the effort that was made and the way the campaign was conducted. We are deeply disappointed by the Board’s decision.
Malinowski and Schouten Support 3not5
At the February 22 Board of Commissioners’ meeting, three motions were acted upon by the Commissioners. First, Greg Malinowski moved that the Board approve a 3-lane design built within the existing right of way and including sound walls. This motion was defeated with Chairman Duyck and Commissioners Rogers and Terry voting against. Malinowski and Schouten voted in favor.
The second motion was made by Dick Schouten to delay the project until new traffic data is available later this year or early next year. This motion was defeated when the same three Commissioners voted against it. Schouten and Malinowski voted in favor
The third motion, made by Commissioner Terry, was to adopt Alternative 2A. This design was called a compressed 4-lane design and it does provide some reduction in the amount of right of way that must be taken from the east side of Bethany Boulevard. This design does include sound walls for both sides of the road. There are turn lanes at Bronson, Avondale, Oak Hills, Telshire, and West Union. As a result, only about 500 feet of the more than 4500 feet of roadway conforms to Cross Section A-A included with the information provided Commissioners. The balance transitions from a 4-foot median to a median the width of a turn lane (an LUT staff member said the turn lanes will be 12 feet wide rather than the standard 14 feet). This design has more in common with a 5-lane design than with a 4-lane roadway. It appears that a minimum of 16 feet of additional right of way will be required along the east side for most of the roadway. Approximately 500 feet will require a minimum of 8 additional feet of right of way. Additional right of way for approximately 400 feet will vary from 8 to 16 feet because of the varying width of the center lane/ median. The drawings are available on the project website www.whpacific.com/bethanyblvd/ Go the Current Project Drawings tab and select Alternative 2A 11×17 Sheets.pdf . Also, see Alternative 2A (narrow-shifted 4-lane Section A-A pdf for Cross Section A-A.
The question now is – Will LUT try to modify the right of way requirements for Alternative 2A as they proceed with final design?
The Bigger Issue!
During the past year, we learned a number of things about the operation of Washington County Government. One experience stands out as uniquely questionable. For nearly a year, residents have asked numerous questions about the data used by the Department of Land Use and Transportation to justify a 5-lane Bethany Boulevard. The answers given varied from “The data came from Metro”, to “ I don’t know where the vacant land is for infill housing but its out there” to “TAZ (transportation analysis zone) data is complex . . . difficult for citizens to understand”. With the advice of legal counsel, 3not5, Inc. agreed to hire a highly qualified regional transportation consulting firm to review the County’s data. The first five firms contacted declined to submit a proposal because they were unwilling to challenge the County. The sixth firm contacted is a well-respected regional firm with an office in the Portland area. They entered into a contract with our legal team and began to execute the contract. When the consultants contacted the Department of Land Use and Transportation they were repeatedly asked why they wanted to pursue this project. The manager of the firm’s local office decided that for “business reasons” his company would not complete the contract because their opportunity for future contracts with Washington County would be jeopardized.
Why would LUT attempt to intimidate reputable engineering-consulting firms? If the County’s data are valid why would they be concerned about a reputable firm reviewing their data? Wouldn’t it be excellent public relations on the County’s part to have a “second opinion” confirming the County’s position? Is the purpose for employing consulting firms to obtain their best recommendations? Or is the purpose to have the consulting firm build a case for what LUT has predetermined to be the outcome? Why should taxpayers pay millions of dollars annually for anything less than the best work the consultants are able to produce? It appears that the only way citizens groups will be able to obtain believable traffic studies is to employ, at considerable greater expense, an out of state firm that has no interest in future contracts with Washington County. I believe that this is a far larger issue than the convoluted decision about the widening of Bethany Boulevard to something called a 4-lane roadway that will look like and drive like a 5-lane road. Claremont, I apologize for the damage this decision has done to the prospects of preserving your beautiful, tree lined boulevard. We would have loved to have a similar roadway through our neighborhood. On the positive side, we have two commissioners who understand how we expect our government to serve the public good. Hopefully, we will be able to find at least one more.
President 3not5, Inc.