By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Commissioners order rural roadway cleared

Yamhill County commissioners have given rural Yamhill resident Esteban Diaz 15 days to remove trucks, trailers and lumber from the county’s Krono Rd. right of way.

If he fails to heed the order, as he has a series of previous county orders, the commissioners have directed the property be removed and placed in storage at the owner’s expense. Should he fail to cover the cost, the county could resort to placing a lien against his property, assuring eventual collection.

Neighbors on Krono Rd., a one-lane gravel roadway branching off from Cove Orchard Road just north of Yamhill, came before the county board Thursday. They complained the Diaz vehicles and lumber are hindering their access to their own properties, compromising roadside culverts and ditches and threatening emergency fire and medical access.

They said ditch and culvert blockage is creating dangerous driving conditions, as is blockage of the roadway itself. The road sometimes becomes totally impassable, they said.

Neighbors said they would prefer to have a positive relationship with Diaz, but need him to clear the right of way so everyone can use it freely.

County officials have already spoken with Diaz about the problem on multiple occasions.

Failing to secure voluntary compliance, they issued a formal order demanding he clear the right of way by Oct. 26. When he failed to do so, they mailed another demand letter Oct. 28.

County Public Works Director John Phelan and County Engineer Bill Gille told commissioners it appeared Diaz had made some effort. But they said Diaz still had trucks and trailers parked in county right of way, and other items remained untouched as well.

Diaz was advised of the hearing, but did not attend.

In mid-October, he e-mailed the county to say he was willing to discuss the issue and try to resolve it through mediation. He proposed widening Krono Road, which his neighbors said Thursday they neither need nor want.

In addition, he said he felt “uncomfortable” dealing with Phelan, citing an Oct. 12 confrontation in which he accused Phelan of assaulting him as he stood his ground in front of Phelan’s vehicle videotaping a county visit. He supplied the video, which shows Phelan might have bumped against him as he stood in the road blocking the way.

In a subsequent e-mail, Diaz sought assistance from the land-use watchdog group Friends of Yamhill County, saying, “My family farm and forest is under attack by Yamhill County due to outrageous harassment from my nearest neighbors.”

In other e-mails, he has complained of being singled out. He said other neighbors have also encroached on the easement, citing as examples a row of 4-foot posts and a 2-foot stone and concrete wall.

He also complained that no surveys have been undertaken to precisely locate the easement boundary lines.

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