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Trail Controversy Continues
Environmentalists on bikes invade farm country.

Rural Yamhill County residents have been tangling with some of their county commissioners over the development of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail. Opposed by many in the rural areas, the proposed trail represents to them an encroachment by wealthy, liberal, urban folk into their area of commerce and, like many public recreation projects, looks good on paper, but may not be worth the problems it brings.

Yamhill County Chief Counsel Sadlo has lost his fifth out of five appearances before Oregon’s Land Use Board of Appeals. Each time he is sent packing, commissioners Kulla and Olson send him back for more. With legal options likely exhausted, the pair of commissioners have now commissioned a $139,000 planning exercise with Alta Planning as an apology to the Friends of Yamhelas Trail for failing to infringe on the private property rights of adjacent farms. The Friends are disappointed they didn’t get the trail they wanted at taxpayers’ expense. Additionally the commissioners are planning to give the Friends $9,000 of COVID-19 relief money. Oregon has 180 state parks, many with safe cycling opportunities that don’t threaten farmers livelihoods and they have great views. Alta Planning hosted Zoom meetings recently which prompted one property rights advocate, Billie Matthews, to comment.

The trail proposal is the result of a $139,000 grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Department of Land Conservation and Development. The proposed trail would be 100% parks related and funded by Yamhill County. Proponents of this trail have and continue to put forward a number of claims that have been publicly disputed. The balance of power is about to change on the Yamhill County Commission, as Commissioner-Elect Lindsey Berschauer is sworn in next month. This could make a difference on this.

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2020-12-07 16:38:12Last Update: 2020-12-07 17:59:03

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