Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

School district closes in on approval for N.W. 167th Place bus depot

The Beaverton School District is moving ahead with plans to expand its school bus depot, located near Northwest Cornell Road, from 45 vehicles to 180.

On Wednesday, the city's Facilities Review Committee gave school district officials a list of things to do to get the project off the ground.

'The city presented us the draft staff report, which was fine with us,' said Dick Steinbrugge, the school district's executive administrator for facilities. He said although there were several conditions listed, none was significant.

At issue has been the expansion of the district's bus facility at Northwest 167th Place.

According to the city's Web site, (www.beavertonoregon.gov, at the Beaverton School District Transportation Support Center FAQs link), the district has submitted two applications.

One is a design review to construct the 180-bus parking lot and build a 228-car parking lot. It also asks for a minor addition to the existing buildings, landscaping, a screening wall and other improvements.

A second application is to determine the number of parking spaces that are needed at such a facility.

Both applications are complete and a decision by the city's community development director is expected no later than June 28.

However, city officials say a decision most likely will come in May.

In the past, the Five Oaks/Triple Creek Neighborhood Association Committee has expressed concerns about traffic congestion and environmental issues.

School district officials have said that two separate traffic impact studies show that once Cornell Road is expanded to a five-lane roadway, the number of buses won't have a disproportional impact on traffic flow.

In addition, air quality and noise studies both fall into federal and state standards, according to the district.

Five Oaks/Triple Creek Neighborhood Association Committee Chairman Dave James said the association recently sent a letter to the school district saying it wouldn't have a problem signing off on bus facility plan the district had mapped out in 2005.

At that time there was a proposal for fewer buses and a different plan for a wall surrounding the facility.

'We've had no response from the school district,' James said about the letter. 'That was about six weeks ago.'

In 2002, Beaverton's City Council rejected a plan for expansion. However, the district submitted a new application to the city in February, which contains no new buildings and therefore is reviewed by city staff with a final decision made by the planning director.

James said the association in the past has suggested alternatives for other location sites such as vacant land at 160th Avenue and Tualatin Valley Highway and along Cornelius Pass Road on the north side of the Sunset Highway.

Meanwhile, Washington County Citizen Participation Organization No. 7 is urging the Beaverton School Board and administrators to consider options and think outside the box when it comes to the expanded bus depot.

This week, the CPO, which covers Washington County's Sunset West, Rock Creek and Bethany areas, sent a letter asking the district to think of solutions to decrease the need for a bigger bus depot.

Mary Manseau, chairwoman of CPO 7, said while the issue didn't generate lots of discussion at Monday night's meeting, the group agreed to forward the district three recommendations including:

--Creating a task force to meet with TriMet and review possible partnerships between the two agencies. 'A plan to provide bus service to most high school students - and possibly middle school students - should be addressed.'

--The selection of pilot schools to implement a 'Safe Walking Routes to Schools' program. That would include mapping pedestrian routes, identifying needed safety improvements and working with local jurisdictions to make safety improvements.

The plan is one being pushed by Oregon's Active Community Environments Coalition pushing to get more students walking to school as a low-cost way to promote badly needed daily physical activity.

--Have the district review school boundaries, encouraging every child who can walk to school to do so.