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St. Helens awarded grant to fund transportation improvement plan

The city of St. Helens will likely receive a $175,000 grant to create a detailed transportation plan to improve access from Highway 30 to the city’s waterfront property along the Columbia River.

St. Helens was one of 15 cities in Oregon to receive grants ranging from $75,000 to $200,000 from the Transportation and Growth Management Program grant, which is supported by the Department of Land Conservation and Development and the Oregon Department of Transportation, according a press release sent out Wednesday, Aug. 17.

Funding from the grant will allow St. Helens to create a document called “The St. Helens Riverfront Connector Refinement Plan,” which would outline the city’s plans to create a “cohesive, multi-modal, inviting loop through the downtown, the waterfront, and US 30,” project proposal documents state.

Shelly Snow, a communications officer for ODOT, said that while the city requested a certain dollar amount for the project, the final amount awarded may vary. Projects are often reviewed in detail to determine how much funding each project actually needs before final grants are awarded.

All waterfront redevelopment plans presented by the city and the city-contracted consulting agency, Maul Foster Alongi, have included street connector improvements in the downtown area and along the waterfront, as well as discussions about how to improve direct access to the area.

In January, the city released an economic analysis report showing the fiscal benefits of improving road access to downtown. The report was released after the city conducted a

jointly funded $35,000 study of the transportation connection with the Port of St. Helens in 2015.