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Scappoose group begins transportation plan overhaul

Even light rail could factor into the discussions


by: SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: KATIE WILSON - The Scappoose Transportation Advisory Committee expects to discuss a variety of issues over the coming months, including the possibility of installing traffic lights at the intersection of U.S. Highway 30 and Johnson's Landing Road.The Transportation Master Plan for the city of Scappoose is due for an overhaul.

The last plan was adopted in 1997, the same year Bill Clinton was elected for his second term as president of the United States.

A new Transportation Advisory Committee has formed to brainstorm and home in on how traffic — of all varieties — will move through the city in the future.

“We have to figure out how our transportation system will work,” City Manager Jon Hanken said. That includes bikes, pedestrians, mass transit and commercial railroad.

The committee had its first meeting in December and will meet again Feb. 20. City Councilor Donna Gedlich, co-chair of the group, said she’s looking forward to getting focused on the task at hand.

“It’s a very important committee because of what our purpose is,” Gedlich said. “It’s time for an update.”

The first meeting was essentially a time to cover the history and goals for the committee members, making sure they clearly understand their roles, she said.

The process will be guided by a consulting firm, which will help the committee with detailed analyses to find potential traffic hotspots. The Oregon Department of Transportation has paid the $150,000 bill for the two-year process, Hanken said.

Around the table will be several community members, representatives from ODOT, the state and, down the road, consultants to provide expert insight to the issues the committee is likely to face.

The committee’s aim is to consider how traffic will flow through Scappoose in the future, considering where and how growth could happen in the area and factoring in current and future land use developments such as water, sewer, parks and other forms of transportation.

“Transportation means more than just cars,” Hanken said. Even light rail may make it into the conversation, he said.

The group is expected to identify potential problem areas where development has created logistical snafus or where issues could surface down the road. It will take about two years to complete the process, starting with several open houses to accept public input and ending with the adoption of a formal plan.

The committee will meet six or seven times as the plan is developed, Hanken said.

Once the committee is satisfied with a version of the plan, it will then go to the Scappoose Planning Commission for adoption before moving on to the City Council and finally, the state for approval.

“Every step along the way is subject to an appeal,” Hanken said.