Letter: Without defined need, St. Helens would build roads to nowhere
The Spotlight reported about the meeting in the St. Helens City Council chambers on Tuesday night, Jan. 16, having to do with the road connections from Highway 30 to the St. Helens waterfront. I was not there, so I will rely on what was told to me by some who were there and the Spotlight article. The meeting was a process of misinformation, not what was said — for that was the details — but for the purpose of describing what is needed. A road, passage, highway is a living thing, not just pavement on the ground. A road goes from here to there for a purpose, it is needed to transport goods, people and commerce.
The problem with the discussion is that we do not know what is at the end and what must pass over this road. The waterfront, as requested by the citizens, has been changed by the City Council from a business center/waterfront to a condo pad. When the city put out a request for proposals to developers, only one replied. Evidently when knowledgeable developers saw the "framework plan" it was not a workable project, or it could be that when the City Council reduced that amount of footage by limiting the build height, it killed the project. Maybe the fact that such a small number of residents could cause the project to be changed made them think no plan was safe, and this scared off developers.The possible presence of the toxic waste dump that the council has proposed next to the waterfront has had to large a negative impact.
Now, if the toxic waste dump goes in, the road that connects Highway 30 to the site would have to handle about six trucks an hour, 24 hours a day, for 20 years if the estimated waste volume is to be removed from Portland. If the waste was to come in by barge no road is needed. If the waste comes in by train, the Highway 30, Gable Road and Old Portland Road crossings would be affected, and that would also change the traffic flow. If the toxic waste is used to fill in the lagoon, that large piece of property cannot be built on, so there will be no traffic coming to that area — meaning no road is need.The problem of the sewer plant location will also remove useable ground, which also will eliminate job-creating businesses. With no people coming or going, there would be no need for a road.
St. Helens City Council has wanted to bring in a tire reclamation plant which put out toxic gases and does not produce any oil, did bring in a battery reclamation plant that became a superfund site, has stated that it wants the toxic waste dump, and brought in a marijuana grow facility. It has also not wanted a vocational training and marine repair facility or an educational center. Until it is known what can be on the waterfront site and what is going to be on this site, there is no need to design a road, connector or highway that will not do the job needed.