By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Willamina turn lane put on hold

The Freemans objected to a turn lane proposal at a previous meeting, in part, due to health concerns related to Cynthia. They received good news Monday from City Manager Ross Schultz.

“We’ve spent about $2,500 on engineering,” he said. “But staff can find no reason to move forward and get this done at this time.”

In his report to the council, Schultz wrote, “Absent of a traffic study and considering the testimony from surrounding citizens, staff recommends tabling the request until some future time.”

The turn lane proposal calls for it to be placed on the east side of Oaken Hills, between Main and Third streets. Parking would be prohibited on either side of the street. Residences line the west side.

Willamina’s entire K-12 school program is housed on a campus on Oaken Hills. The entire length of the street, from Main to the campus, is heavily used by vehicles and buses before and after school, in addition to when extracurricular activities and other events are held.

The aim of the left turn lane is to prevent traffic from backing up on Oaken Hills as east and westbound traffic streams past on Main.

The city and school district are partnering on the project to some degree, as the district has verbally committed to reimbursing the city for painting costs, according to Schultz.

In other business:

n Bobb Burr was appointed to the council to fill a vacancy created when Gary Hill resigned because council and work duties conflicted. The four-year term ends Dec. 31.

Burr has lived in Willamina 42 years and is a retired pharmacist, who said on his application that he’s interested in the livability of Willamina as a commercial and residential property owner.

He has served on the city’s budget committee and planning commission. He currently is on the Economic Improvement District Advisory Committee, and is a member of the Chamber of Commerce.

Budget committee member Craig Johnson indicated he’s interested in seeking a council position in the future.

n Sarah Frost was introduced to the council by Schultz as the new code compliance officer. She replaces John Kowolik, who resigned.

“I have case files, my research is underway, I’m talking to people and getting settled in,” Frost said.

She plans to do some ride-alongs with Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office deputies who work in the West Valley, and Willamina in particular, and Schultz said he will put her in touch with code officers in other cities.

An inventory will be done related to code compliance issues throughout the city, and the process will begin to correct them, according to Schultz.

n In addition to Johnson, Gregory Kruchok was also appointed to the budget committee.

n The council approved renewing the personal services contract with Berry Elsner & Hammond, LLP, the city’s legal firm.

The council will meet next at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 10.