Replace Kellie Menke, McMinnville City Council, Ward 2

Kellie Menke was elected to represent citizens of northwest McMinnville. But in hearings for four housing developments off NW Hill and Baker Creek roads, she did a better job representing two developers and high-density special interest groups.

The three main areas citizens asked the city to protect their policy rights in were:

1) Citizens said Baker Creek Road Can’t Safely Handle the Additional Traffic Volume:

The Westside Density Policy of the city Comprehensive Plan and the city Transportation Systems Plan both specifically identify the NW Hill and Baker Creek road area as one area of town that should remain lower density.  One main reason given was that Baker Creek road would struggle to handle the additional traffic generated by multi-family dwellings.

Verbal and written testimony emphasized that BCR – the only east/west thru street for a mile – already is congested/unsafe during school year rush hours. Citizens testified that the rush hour mess at intersections with Westside Road and Highway 99W should be addressed before adding more traffic volume. City planning staff argued that BCR has plenty of remaining capacity.

Citizens hired a regional traffic company. Its two-day traffic study showed daily traffic volume almost three times higher than the volume numbers city planners were using. Apparently, the city was using a study done in a non-school month when Hill road traffic was often diverted around BCR.

BCR is a "minor arterial" rated to handle 20,000 vehicles per day. Our study averaged a little over 8,000 per day. The four new developments will add 8-10 trips daily per dwelling unit, plus, don't future plans call for a school and more development off NW Hill towards Fox Ridge?

Simple math shows that BCR traffic volume likely will exceed design limits in the near future. Unfortunately, our study missed one technical step in planning rules, so the city just ignored it. Councilor Menke could have requested a short delay for new independent study; instead she ignored the citizen-paid test and voted that night to approve Baker Creek North

2) Citizens Requested Better Access for Oak Ridge Meadows Residents:

The heart of Oak Ridge Meadows is about 400 yards north of the Baker Creek Road/Shadden Street intersection. In 3 hearings, citizens clearly showed: (a) Stafford was extending Shadden Street to within 125 yards of Oak Ridge Meadows in Phase 1 (already in construction); and (b) Stafford had given Premier Development permission to extend Shadden Street into Oak Ridge Meadows.

Stafford and city planners ignored the availability of Shadden Street, instead naming a dead-end road into the Baker Creek basin as a second access road. Apparently, gaining future access to the Baker Creek basin was more important to them than Comprehensive Plan policy promising easy access.

With Pinot Noir Drive as the only functional access street for up to 10 years, Oak Ridge Meadows will function as a 100-plus-lot cul-de-sac.

Councilor Menke was on the committee that developed McMinnville’s 2010 Transportation Systems Plan, which discourages cul-de-sac developments and limits them to 18 dwelling units. Maybe Oak Ridge Meadows “technically” isn’t rated as a cul-de-sac because of that dead-end second access route, but tell that to 600-700 residents of Oak Ridge Meadows, Compton Crest and Oak Ridge who must share access off Baker Creek.

3)  Citizens Cited Future City Liability From Baker Creek Basin Developments:

Baker Creek Basin probably only flooded every 500 years or so in the past. But McMinnville has used the basin as storm drainage for over 30 years. Storm flows from hundreds of homes surrounding the basin now cause flooding every few years. We thought the city would thank citizens from Crestbrook, Compton Crest and Oak Ridge for sharing flood pictures from three of the past five years.

Instead, planning staff aggressively called our pictures and testimony somehow false and misleading. We hired an award-winning Portland engineering firm to conduct a hydrology test, which confirmed our pictures and concluded that building in the basin will likely cause problems in the future because storm flow volume in the basin will continue increasing in direct correlation to the number of new developments that take place along the Baker Creek and Berry Creek basins - which extend several miles westward.

How did Councilor Menke respond? As she voted approval with no modifications, she basically stated that we were a group of NIMBYs opposed to change.

That isn’t true; I love positive changes. I think one positive change for northwest McMinnville residents would be to elect a councilor representing their interests, not those of high density/infill special interest groups.

Paid for and submitted by Mike Colvin, McMinnville

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