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Cedar Mill News
Volume 6, Issue 4


April 2008

Citizen Input wins underground utilities

Citizen members of the Murray Road Improvement Project (Highway 26 to Cornell) have been expressing concern that the project plans didn’t include putting utilities (cable, power, telephone) into underground trenches to match what was done for the Cornell project. Underground utilities not only provide safety benefits, but create a more attractive prospect for everyone and easier navigation for pedestrians.

Washington County rarely requires “undergrounding” as part of capital projects because it’s too expensive. Citizens argued that roads within the Town Center deserve special treatment. CPO 1 and the Cedar Mill Business Association, among others, wrote letters to the utilities and the county urging them to work together to accomplish this.

Project Manager Alex Sander announced in early March that, “Certain existing overhead utilities will be relocated underground. The areas where utilities will be undergrounded include the Murray/Cornell intersection, Cornell east of the Murray/Cornell intersection to Dale (where existing utilities are underground), and Murray from the Murray/Cornell intersection south to Highway 26.”

Sander explains, “The costs will be shared by Washington County and utilities. These include trench excavation, vaults, and conduits, and are estimated at $250,000. Utilities further bear the costs of removing poles and lines, and installing new lines. We won’t have a precise cost estimate until utilities and the county complete final plans. The county share of funding is from the road capital fund.”

Sander has been negotiating with the utilities for several months to accomplish this. He says, “Citizen input has been very important. The County does not have regulations or policy guidance providing for undergrounding of utilities in situations such as this (Town Center). In the absence of citizen input, the typical practice would be to keep utilities above-ground because it is less expensive.”

County Land Use Senior Program Educator Anne Madden says, “Alex Sander’s careful listening to the community, his perseverance in working with the utilities, and his ability to line up the various options and their related costs to the county helped all involved arrive at this happy conclusion.”



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