The controversy continues over the proposed Yamhelis Westsider Trail. Yamhill County Commissioners listened to public testimony for almost two hours today (thursday). Just before noon, commissioners voted two to one to amend the county’s Transportation System Plan to include the county’s purchase of the trail right of way.
That is raising objections from several property owners along the trail claiming the county does not have clear title to the former railroad property right of way. An attorney for one landowner, claiming the right of way was abandoned and can not be reactivated.
County counsel Todd Sadlo disagreeing, saying the railway has been paying taxes on that right of way and talking about selling into the county as far back as 2012.
It’s clearly a matter headed for a court test as both sides are entrenched into their arguments.
at the end of the day, commissioners voted two to one to apply for two grants…one from ODOT for 110-thousand dollars and the other from Travel Oregon for 56-thousand-250 dollarsto help pay for a trail master plan.
The swing vote was the newest commissioner Rick Olson. Olson agreeing with commissioner Stan Primizich that applying for the grant is not the same as authorizing the trail, and if the trail is not built the money can be returned. Olson saying he believes in openness and wanting the public to discuss the issue, and master plan discussion could be a forum to discuss trail concerns.
Commissioners Mary Starrett disagreed, claiming it’s not right to continue using county staff time and money, or applying for state money, on a project many farmers and ranchers don’t want, and a project in which the right of way is questioned.
The attorney representing the landowner says the trail is not ready for completion, one of the requirements for the grant.
farmer Ben Van Dyke says it will cost 47-hundred dollars more per year for one farmer and one crop for the extra staff to watch out for trail hikers as farm machinery crosses the trail, which could be crossing the trail every five minutes.
Trail proponents tout increased tourism and thus dollars into the local economy.
still commissioners Primozich and Olson voting for amending master plan for trail right of way inclusion, and applying for those two grants.
you can view the video by going to KLYC.US or KLYCRADIO on FACEBOOK.