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Cedar Mill News
Volume 4, Issue 1


January 2006

Merritt Orchard Park Trail

Neighbors of Merritt Orchard Park continue to question the process of selecting the route and the configuration of the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District (THPRD) trail planned to extend from Cedar Hills Boulevard through the various Peterkort developments and across Johnson Creek and ending up on Washington Street. “We’re not saying that there shouldn’t be a trail there,” says Tom Posey. “We just don’t think that THPRD has been fair by not involving the affected neighbors during the planning process.” Posey lives on Washington Street and a segment of the planned trail will run close behind his property and between his house and a neighbor’s along an easement to reach the street.

We ran an article in the December issue about the planned trail and its effect on the neighbors. Many of the neighbors had installed improvements on THPRD property, unaware that they were encroaching. They were notified by letter last summer that they would have to remove them and at this point they have all been removed, except for Posey’s landscaping on the easement and at the rear of his lot. (A photo accompanying the article mistakenly labeled improvements on a neighbor’s lot as encroachments – they were legally on their property.)

The district held a meeting on July 21 to discuss the encroachment situation, and plans for the trail were on display, according to Steve Gulgren, THPRD Superintendent of Planning and Development. Because the trail was being built with money collected from the developers (System Development Charges, or SDCs) the trail had to be built to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. This calls for wheelchair-accessible facilities.

The district holds that the ADA standards call for an asphalt path. They also say that the path needs to be eight feet wide to accommodate a small pickup truck that might enter the park to do maintenance such as clearing fallen trees. Thus the ten-foot easement between the homes will contain an eight-foot asphalt path.

Tom Posey stands on his property, orange-topped stake marks the right-of-way margin

Posey and his planning consultant, Ben Schonberger of Winterbrook Planning dispute that the district needs to create truck access from Washington St. The bridge over Johnson Creek would be eight feet wide and paved, and the neighbors contend that maintenance vehicles could access the park from the other side of the creek in the Peterkort Woods townhome development.

Posey and Schonbert have also offered an alternative route for the trail that would take it farther from the rear of Mr. Posey’s property. The district has rejected this suggestion saying that the “shortcut” would exceed the 8.3% maximum grade required by ADA; would not achieve the 22’ minimum centerline radius used for the rest of the trail, which they say is needed for a vehicle to maneuver around the corner; and might increase “cut/fill impacts” to existing trees.

At their November meeting, the THPRD Board of Directors rejected Mr. Posey’s request to alter the path through the easement. They asked Gulgren to see if the trail could be moved further from Posey’s property, but W&H Pacific planners, who developed the original trail plan for THPRD, found it was only possible to move it three feet further away. Posey doesn’t consider that to be sufficient to protect his privacy. The district has also suggested that any further modifications to the trail plan would be at Mr. Posey’s expense.

It’s unclear at this point whether the district will continue to discuss the possibility of changes with Mr. Posey and his consultants. Under an extension granted by the THPRD board, Posey has until February 6 to clear the landscaping from district property. Many of his Washington Street neighbors have rallied to support his position. Stay tuned!


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The Cedar Mill News
Published monthly by the Cedar Mill Business Association, Inc.,
P.O. Box 91177
Portland, OR 97291-0177

Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
12110 NW West Rd
Portland, OR 97229