On September 7th, nearly 200 residents of the North Marion County/French Prairie area gathered at the Donald Fire Station for a community meeting to raise concerns over the safety of our roads – and our local officials heard us. We need to use this opportunity to gain the momentum to get our local leaders to take action and help us protect lives!

The commuter traffic coming and going from the Newberg area has impacted east/west along McKay/Ehlen Roads and also south into St. Paul and beyond. Not only has traffic made it very difficult on local residents and farmers, but it has turned North Marion County into the most dangerous traffic area in the entire county.

We all know how much the new developments at the Donald/Aurora interchange have impacted our roads. Now we have recently learned more about two major impacts on our roads that will open in 2017:

First is the Newberg/Dundee By-Pass, which ends at Hwy 219 (rather than 99W). Depending on how commuters and truckers respond, it appears that McKay/Ehlen Road to the Donald/Aurora interchange could now become the new “regional by-pass” to connect Interstate 5 with the Newberg/Dundee By-pass. This project is scheduled to open in late 2017 and may likely create thousands of new car and truck trips per day!

Second is the new Willamette Valley regional fertilizer depot at the intersection of St. Paul Highway and Butteville Road. Although we support agricultural uses that support our local ag industry, the impact of trucks going to and from the facility will be significant. But most importantly, local citizens were not informed or encouraged to participate in how to deal with the traffic impacts of this new facility. The approval of this facility is behind us, but raises the issue that we need to make sure that any new applications go through a more complete review process.

In addition to these two developments that will increase traffic along the I-5 Exit 278/Ehlen Rd/Yergen Rd/McKay Rd corridor, Wilco/Hazelnut Growers of Oregon has begun site preparation for a 119,912 square foot building to replace the HGO plant in Cornelius and consolidate operations at Donald to include nut processing and shipping, as well as processing of finished consumer hazelnut products and a retail operation. This will drive additional significant traffic.

At the present time to comprehensive Traffic Impact Analysis has been completed the considers the growth of the last ten years plus these three new developments, and no traffic mitigation is being discussed.

We want to build a positive process and lay out a “safety agenda” before the next decision has to be made. Out of the community meeting, we created the SAFETY FIRST AGENDA to recognize the challenges and identify solutions. Now we are asking you to sign and return a petition of support. Let’s work together to build momentum for creating safer roads for all of us!

This petition is being mailed to every address in north Marion County. If you didn’t receive it, you can download it below. Remember, we are a small population but are disproportionately impacted, so we need every local resident to sign the petition and return it to us. You may use the enclosed return envelope to return your petition.

Thank you for your support.