Crook County Court judge and commissioners decided to sign an option to purchase agreement to realign the intersection of Powell Butte Highway and Alfalfa Road Wednesday.
   The decision comes after the county was unable to garner right of way needed to follow through with the November 2005 recommendation of the Powell Butte Highway Committee to remove land, to improve sight distance at both Shumway and Alfalfa Roads.
   The county plans to acquire approximately seven acres from a private party so that a corner may be constructed to American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials standards.
   The agreement will allow destination resort developer Eagle Crest/Brasada Ranch to realign Shumway Road within its own boundaries - to increase the number of saleable lots.
   Crook County Counsel Dave Gordon said during the meeting that under the memorandum of understanding agreement, funds for the project will come mostly from developer Eagle Crest/Brasada Ranch, contributing about $137,000 of the $152,000 land acquisition cost. The county will pay $15,000 toward property acquisition. Construction will be completed and paid for by Eagle Crest/Brasada Ranch and could cost as much as $500,000.
   Commissioner Lynn Lundquist said he did not want to endorse a plan that does not fix the intersection of Shumway Corner and Powell Butte Highway along with Alfalfa Corner and Powell Butte Highway. Lundquist argued some funds may be reserved from money paid previously by Brasada for future improvement for such a project if the Alfalfa Corner construction were sufficient for safety but not built to AASHTO standards.
   He said many people's concern with the corner is sight distance. This could be improved by "shaving" the corners instead of a complete realignment, thereby saving funds.
   "This is an issue of fiscal responsibility," Lundquist said. "The community wants something done about the sight distance on that corner, they don't care what it is."
   However, county counsel asserted only Alfalfa Corner could be addressed at this time.
   "This particular document does not concern Shumway," Gordon said. He added the road from Alfalfa to Shumway to the Brasada Ranch entrance would be redone to county standards, at little to no cost to the county as Eagle Crest/Brasada Ranch has agreed to resurface it.
   "I don't know why we would hold this up," Commissioner Mike McCabe said, adding that failure to address the issue now could result in the project being bumped back another year.
   The court voted 2-1 in favor of the agreement, with Lundquist saying he was not against the realignment, but would have required more information to vote in favor of it.
   A willing seller has been identified at the Alfalfa corner, however, currently there is no identified willing seller at Shumway.
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