Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Boring roads back in the spotlight

Access to highway is topic of Tuesday's CPO meeting


There’ll be a lot of road talk in Boring next week. A gathering of local residents and transportation officials in the region will gather Tuesday night to discuss their differing opinions.

The city of Gresham is planning an industrial park in east Gresham that eventually would change intersections and roads in the Boring area.

Some Boring residents aren’t happy about the situation so there will be a question and answer period as a major part of the Feb. 5 Boring Community Planning Organization (CPO).

Invited to the meeting are representatives of the city of Gresham, Multnomah and Clackamas counties and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The eventual, unfunded project (perhaps 15 or 20 years in the future) is a freeway-style interchange at 267th Avenue and Highway 26. The interim project is to revise two intersections, restricting access to the highway at 267th Avenue and Stone Road.

Jilayne Jordan, community affairs for ODOT, said the project’s main reason is industrial development in Springwater.

CPO Chairman Steve Bates says it is confusing to hear different messages from officials of the same agency.

At the Jan. 10 open house on this project, John Wolf, an ODOT transportation engineer, said the project would improve safety, quoting statistics that show crashes increase when signals are put on rural highways.

Don Hamilton, an ODOT information officer, cited an example with statistics from the intersection at Highway 26 and Orient Drive to show a 1,900 percent rise in rear-end crashes after that signal was installed near Sandy.

Bates says he’s still confused with the different statements.

“It was stated (at the open house) that modifications for Stone Road and 267th are necessary because of urbanization,” Bates said.

“Yet, when asked why Stone Road cannot be signalized, it was stated that Stone Road is a rural intersection that does not meet the criteria for signalization. While these statements came from two different people, they are indeed confusing and contradictory.”

Jordan looks at the problem in a different way, saying the intersection at 267th is at capacity now.

“There are so few gaps in traffic on U.S. 26,” she said, “that while you’re sitting there at the (267th Avenue) intersection it often takes a long time to find a gap where you can turn left or cross the highway.”

ODOT’s current purpose, she said, is to “get ahead of development” and improve the intersections.

“Ultimately, we’d like to build a full interchange at 267th, but nobody has 30 million dollars — so this (current project) is an interim solution.”

Bates and a number of other Boring residents want to continue access to Highway 26 at Stone Road, and they think a signal there would be the best choice.

Jordan said that choice was researched and denied in 2005 by Gresham.

“First of all,” Jordan said, “we have national criteria that we use to determine when a traffic signal is a good fit at an intersection.”

Jordan said neither of these intersections (Stone or 267th) meets the criteria.

But Bates says federal criteria aren’t binding; they can be overridden at any time by any state.

Bates also said ODOT was choosing only statistics that supported its views.

“ODOT seems to be manipulating statistics to justify their plan,” he said. “For example, they have failed to notify the public that this section of Highway 26 is twice as safe as comparable highways across the state.”

That information, Bates said, was found in ODOT’s documents about the interchange project at 267th.

These and other topics on Boring roads/highways are on the CPO agenda.

The two-hour CPO meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, at the Boring Fire Station near Highway 212 in downtown Boring.

For a graphic presentation of the proposal, visit oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION1/Pages/US26Springwater.aspx