By Don Iler • News Editor • 

Decision expected tonight on roundabout

The McMinnville City Council is expected to decide tonight, Dec. 8, whether to go with a traffic light or roundabout at the intersection at Fifth Street and Lafayette Avenue in the Northeast Gateway District.

Upgrading Fifth Street is one of the major projects to be financed out of the street improvement bond passed by voters in November 2014. At last month’s council meeting, the council was presented with two options for the intersection, and asked city staff to compile additional information to guide it in reaching a decision.

In a report to the council, the staff lays out the pros and cons of pursuing the roundabout alternative instead of falling back on a traditional signaled intersection.

Cons included the extra half-million-dollar cost; the expansive footprint, which would cut significantly into the Cook School site; the need to detour Lafayette Avenue traffic during construction; and elimination of access to Lafayette from Seventh Street.

However, roundabouts are typically safer for both motorists and pedestrians, and tend to foster a smoother and swifter flow of traffic. For those reasons, the city is looking to add one on Hill Road when it turns its attention to McMinnville’s west side.

The council initial reaction to the idea was favorable.

In other business, the council is scheduled to:

n Hear from Fred Stemmler of Recology Western Oregon. Recology may eventually need to direct McMinnville’s trash somewhere besides the Riverbend Landfill, and that would require construction of a transfer station, presumably on its Orchard Avenue site.

Riverbend is owned by Waste Management Inc., which collects trash in Newberg and Dundee in addition to receiving trash from Portland Metro operations and Recology operations in the Willamette Valley and North Coast locales.

The company has been pursuing expansion at Riverbend for many years, but remains bogged down in the land use process.

It is doesn’t achieve a breakthrough soon, it risks running out of room, forcing a shutdown. And Recology wants to be ready in the event it needs to look elsewhere.

Recology submitted plans for development of an Orchard Avenue transfer station last year. It placed them on hold when the latest Riverbend expansion plans won county approval, but those plans have now been remanded by the state for reconsideration.

n Hear a request from Online Northwest that it eliminate density requirements for telecommunication franchise agreements.

n Appoint new members to the city’s budget and historic landmarks committees.

The council is scheduled to meet in informal dinner session at 6 p.m. and formal business session at 7 p.m. at McMinnville Civic Hall. Both are open to the public.



Why do they think they need a light or round about? I have gone through that intersection twice every day this week and have not yet seen a car waiting to get on Lafayette Ave from 5th Street. I think this is one of those "we've got the money, so let's spend it" situations.

Horse with no name

That's a heck of a research project you ran there kona. Don't know why we need all those elected officials having meetings and different people talking with each other, citizen input. Just typical guvmint spending money huh. Ya know I've seen it with traffic backed up down the side streets and the gracious drivers on Lafayette Avenue not letting anyone out caused everybody is stressed from the traffic, that must have been an anomaly. Maybe we should just take a poll on every infrastructure issue over a certain dollar amount and get rid of all that guvmint waste. The roundabout will be a great improvement, and yes sometimes it's inconvenient to change but that's how things can get better.


You said, "Just typical guvmint spending money huh." "that must have been an anomaly".



For the driver with a specific destination and a finite amount of time to spend reaching it who unwittingly finds him/herself trapped on Fifth Street at Lafayette Avenue, a roundabout (or any traffic control device) at that intersection would be a godsend.

For the driver with nowhere to be and all day to get there, the status quo is no doubt preferable. Pesky suggestions to improve traffic flow become wanton waste, indicative of government run amok.

When a driver firmly believes he or she is the only one using the streets, the needs of others are irrelevant.