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I-205 trail could pose fire risks

The Barrington Heights, Hidden Creek Estates and Tanner Woods Neighborhood Association (BHTNA) has passed a resolution urging the West Linn City Council to include in its master trail plan the five conditions to be met prior to building the Interstate 205 trail as approved by the West Linn Planning Commission during its meeting of Oct. 16.

These conditions recognize the extreme fire hazard presented by the ODOT right of way property next to I-205 between 10th Street and Sunset Avenue on which the city wants to build this trail.

Firewise.org and the 2012 Clackamas County revised Community Wildfire Protection Plan acknowledge that wildfires can send embers up to 5 miles to ignite new fires. Given the fuel load and fuel types (ladder fuels and high fire mass) on this hillside, its southern exposure, prevailing north winds in the summer and extraordinary dryness during the fire and trail hiking season, we urge fire risk mitigation of the hillside by ODOT, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, Clackamas County, West Linn and the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODOF) — whether the trail is built or not. These five conditions to be met before building the I-205 Trail are: 1. Fire risk assessment 2. Fire suppression plan 3. Risk mitigation plan (and execution of this plan) 4. Safety/crime prevention plan 5. Fire safety maintenance planIn 2012 alone, our state suffered 446 human-caused wildfires. Wildfire embers can travel up to 5 miles to ignite new fires. These embers are the most frequent cause of fires. Thus, there is a definitive urgency to the need to address fire suppression on the I-205 right of way property in West Linn. (See 2012 Clackamas County revised Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) at clackamas.us/emergency/ccwpp.html). The I-205 corridor is within 5 miles of the several other high-risk areas identified by ODOF, Clackamas County and TVF&R, see the CWPP, thus, the need to address this threat becomes even more urgent, whether the I-205 trail is constructed or not.

The BHTHA urges the above-mentioned stakeholders to meet with the BHTNA and begin the mitigation of this long-term threat to our city, as recommended by the West Linn Planning Commission.

Steve Garner is president of the Barrington Heights, Hidden Creek Estates and Tanner Woods Neighborhood Association.



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