By News-Register staff • 

Carlton council will resume talking about ODOT project

Carlton’s City Council will meet Tuesday to resume discussing about the state’s plans for rebuilding Highway 47 through town.

The city was in the midst of difficult deliberations about Highway 47 in March when the coronavirus emergency upended civic life and social distancing regulations were enacted.

The council canceled a public discussion set for March 17 that would have been the third major public meeting on the topic. A pair of meetings aimed at downtown business owners was held in February.

The Oregon Department of Transportation plans to rebuild the section of Highway 47 that runs through downtown Carlton. It had announced the 2023-24 project would rebuild the pavement and sidewalks, add curb cuts and replace parking spots with bike lanes.

After hearing significant public protest, ODOT project manager John Huestis said the standard bike lanes probably could be eliminated, leaving parking in front of businesses.

Huestis also said an alternative route was possible. Instead of redoing downtown, the state could reroute the highway north on Pine Street, then west on Madison, reconnecting with 47 on the north end of the city.

This could be done without disturbing downtown shops during the construction phrase, he said. Winery businesses on the Pine and Monroe route objected, saying it would ruin their companies.

At the public meetings, many people spoke in favor of both proposed projects. Huestis said ODOT would need to receive a clear answer from the city council by early April if Carlton wanted to pursue the reroute.

Since the cancellation of the March 17 meeting, City Manager Dennis Durham said city hall has received numerous emails about the projects that were forwarded to ODOT. “Most downtown businesses and residents favor the realignment,” he said.

Durham said he’s been pleased with the input from residents, both by email and in person. Council members also have worked hard, talking with business owners and community members to gain more information, he said.

“It’s a really difficult decision, but Mayor (Brian) Rake and the council have been very diligent,” he said. “When the council is comfortable about making a decision, it will, whether that’s April 7 or later.”

Council members will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, for a work session and at 7 p.m. for a business meeting, both via a teleconference. Directions for joining the conference will be posted on the city website, www.ci.carlton.or.us.

For more information, go to the website or call 503-852-7575.

 

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