Chairman Struck opened the public hearing and noted that this plan covers the period from 2002 to 2007. He then introduced Interim County Engineer Ed Hoyle.
Interim County Engineer Hoyle stated that he was a county employee from 1978 to 1995. He noted that in his tenure in the Road Department that Klickitat County did few road improvements as the county had very limited funding. Now the county has revenues from the regional landfill, but there is still a backlog of needed improvements. Mr. Hoyle added that the purpose of these public hearings is to solicit public comments as a guide in helping the Board of County Commissioners in selecting and planning improvements. He noted that even though changes can be made at any time, there is an effort to keep planning intact for the next two to three years as the Road Department must put in place engineering, environmental processes and right-of-way acquisition. He stated that there is a geographical focus so that materials such as crushed rock can be concentrated for greatest efficiency. Mr. Hoyle noted that Klickitat County is responsible for a total of 1084 miles of county road: 432 miles of paved road, 519 miles of gravel and 133 miles of dirt road. He added that local access roads, which do not qualify for most federal and state funding, have been prioritized and are being paid for with landfill dollars. He noted a large map in the chambers with roads on the six-year plan having been color-coded. In answer to a question from the audience, he stated that financial aspects are not the only consideration and human need and population factors figure into the decision making process.
Chairman Struck expressed his thanks to recently retired County Engineer Jim Miller for his aggressive approach to the road plan and then opened the public hearing to the public:
Mark Baughan of 536 Turkey Ranch Road, Goldendale, noted that there were large contingents of citizens from both Old Mountain and Turkey Ranch Roads in attendance. He thanked the county for the reconstructive improvements already made, but suggested that these improvements will be lost and will need to be duplicated if the road isn’t hard surfaced soon. He also presented a petition with 54 signatures from residents of Turkey Ranch Road and the surrounding area.
Sig Skowron of 704 Turkey Ranch Road said that improvements to his road are "getting torn up".
Karr Lewis of 355 Old Mountain Road, Goldendale, said that he has gotten three flat tires in the last month traveling on Old Mountain Road, even though his tires are fairly new. He also stated that the grader operator needs to be instructed to bring the loose gravel out to the center of the road.
John Crock of 708 Dooley Road, south of Centerville, stated that he is representing Louis Costner and other neighbors not able to attend. Mr. Crock stated that the construction of an additional cell phone tower will increase traffic and accompanying dust.
Joseph Bradwell of 1212 Ownby Road, Goldendale, stated that the unpaved portions of Old Mountain Road are unsafe as there are sections too narrow to allow oncoming traffic. He asked if the Board had made an onsite visit, and Commissioners Thayer and Frey replied that they had.
Bill Garren of 1053 Knotty Pine, Goldendale, said that he appreciates that part of Old Mountain Road that has been hard surfaced. However, the part that is not, is being graded improperly with the "fines" being pushed to the edge and berms being created across driveways. He added that the road is narrowing.
Jack Bisson of 244 Old Mountain Road said that he lives on a curve and notices many parts that have fallen off of vehicles. He added that the boulders need to be removed and some dirt added to the road to help the surface consistency.
Alice Bartoo of 567 Buckskin Lane suggested that Old Mountain Road should now be paved from the present end of the paving to its intersection with Ownby Road.
Russell Bartoo of 567 Buckskin Lane stated that Klickitat County should take over that part of Old Mountain Road that is still private (Buckskin Lane to Box Canyon Road).
Marian Pace of 608 Turkey Ranch Road remarked that it has taken nine years for a culvert to be installed (at her driveway) and added that her road shakes vehicles "to pieces".
Bob Butts of 546 Turkey Ranch Road said he has been a resident for 24 years and though he appreciates the improvements made so far, the grading hasn’t been good as fines are being pushed to the side. He asked why Cedar Valley Road was seal coated when Turkey Ranch Road residents have been here longer. He added that the Road Department used to sand Turkey Ranch Road, but have now been told that they won’t sand gravel roads despite the fact that there is often four inches of ice on the surface. He concluded by suggesting that the county could save money by hard surfacing those roads that have been reconstructed, rather than wait and have them deteriorate.
Lori Montour of 7 Seely Drive presented a petition from those county residents who use Garrison Road. She noted that the number of residents is increasing, with a lot of recreational vehicle traffic on the unpaved portion of Garrison Road. She added that the road returns to poor condition only a few days after it is graded and suggested it be hard surfaced.
Terry Scott of 445 Spring Creek Road, Goldendale, said he supports the present road plan, noting that Spring Creek Road is the number one priority with connecting West Winterstein Road also a high priority. He asked that these roads not be downgraded.
Jim Miller of 665 Garner Road, Centerville, offered general support for the present road plan. He asked that the county not forget the 3rd and 4th generation families who have been driving on dirt roads for the last century.
Stephanie Gonyeau of 740 Turkey Ranch Road said the she wants her road hard surfaced and complained that the ruts are so deep that it makes even walking difficult. She added that grading seems to occur right before it rains instead of after.
Toni Reita of 724 Turkey Ranch Road said that she appreciates the improvements to the road but that the improvements will not last until the scheduled time for it to be hard surfaced (2003) because it is so hilly.
Dwight Ellis of 724 Turkey Ranch Road stated that the hairpin turn just before Mill Creek is very narrow and when ruts are graded, they are merely covered up. He suggested that the hard surfacing of Turkey Ranch Road should be moved up to save the improvements already made.
Steve Richardson of 3 Barber Drive, Goldendale, said that the unpaved section of Old Mountain Road is in such poor shape that no one drives the speed limit of 35 MPH. He also noted the fatal accident at the intersection of Old Mountain and Badger Gulch Roads.
Jeff Teal of 570 Hearthside Lane, Goldendale, expressed his support for improvements to Turkey Ranch Road and said he appreciates the road plan process.
Alita Quantrell of 543 Turkey Ranch Road said that if hard surfacing of Turkey Ranch Road isn’t done until 2003 more rock will be used. She also asked that fog lines be painted on Knight Road as this would be very helpful in the winter. Chairman Struck replied that fog lines are expensive and Commissioner Frey said the cost is about $200 per mile.
Rebecca Eames of 603 Turkey Ranch Road wants improvements to her road as soon as possible as it "beats our car to death" and there is a bad dust problem.
Jan Stevens of 331 Old Mountain Road stated that the condition of her road is a problem for those residents who are disabled, and noted that she uses oxygen. She added that it is frightening that emergency vehicles can only go about 5 MPH.
Diana Pafford of 1280 Ownby Road said that many new families now use Old Mountain Road. She stated that she had to replace all four tires on her vehicle last week because one tire was destroyed by bad road conditions. She asked that further improvements to Old Mountain Road be made sooner than the four to six years it may now take. She added that many bad drivers use Old Mountain Road and it would help to have more patrols by law enforcement personnel.
Steve Stevens of 331 Old Mountain Road doesn’t understand why Old Mountain Road is no longer on the road plan when roads such as Box Canyon Road are on the plan and don’t service as many people. He stated that the dustiest and most rutted section of Old Mountain Road is where all the people live. He added that over 200 people use this part of the road and improvements need to be completed in two to three years.
David Mason of 719 Turkey Ranch Road said he wants the county to reconsider how roads are prioritized, suggesting some roads on the six-year plan shouldn’t have a high priority. He stated that his car and truck have both needed major suspension repairs because of poor road conditions.
Robert Thornton of 382 Old Mountain Road said that he could not get an emergency vehicle to come to his home after he suffered an accident last year. He added that the road is so unsafe that school buses won’t travel his part of the road.
Herman Schultz of 567 Spring Creek Road said that in a two-day period he has counted 320 vehicles using his road, many of them going too fast. He also stated that the grading is not done properly as there is now loose gravel on the sides of the road that is in some places two feet higher than the road surface.
Minnie Brim of 505 Browns Road, Goldendale, also remarked that loose gravel builds up on the sides of Turkey Ranch Road. She then related the great difficulties a tow truck was having pulling a school bus back on the road last winter. She questioned why gravel roads are not sanded when the ice can become so thick.
Joanne Walling questioned the training that grader operators receive.
Jasper Chambers said he supports the Winterstein Road project. He also suggested that the grader operators were simply following instructions by moving the loose gravel off to the side in the summer and then grading the material back to the center of the road in the wet part of the year.
Commissioner Thayer agreed with Mr. Chambers, stating that the fines are removed during the dry season, then put back on the road surface in the winter.
Chairman Struck noted that all those present had been given the opportunity to speak and reminded those gathered of a second chance to comment on the road plan at the continuation of this public hearing tomorrow, September 5th, 2001 at 6:30 P.M. at the Lyle Lions Community Center in Lyle.