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    Three Rivers just received the following letter that was written to the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners from Mike McHaney, Public Works Director regarding his recommendation to NOT vacate County Road 577. The entire letter and attachments can be found under Downloads, Boundries and Landuse Committee.

    October 23, 2015

    Jefferson County Board of Commissioners
    66 SE D Street, Suite A
    Madras, OR 97741

    RE: Three Rivers Landowners’ Association Petition to Vacate a Portion of County Road 577

    Honorable Commissioners:

    The attached Exhibit A is a petition requesting Jefferson County to vacate a described portion of County Road 577 indicated in the petition attached as Exhibit 1.

    The submitted petition to vacate a portion of county road conforms to the requirements of ORS 368.341(3)(A through G) excepting (e) the names and addresses of all persons owning any real property abutting public property proposed to be vacated. There is a property owner abutting the road not listed. Allow me to file the following report as required by ORS 368.346(1).

    The owner of the property for the proposed vacation is Jefferson County. The location of the road is in the S.E. 1/4 Section 26, T.11 S, R.11E, W.M. Exhibit A.

    County Road 577 is well documented in Jefferson County records. The evidence includes dedication deeds, Jefferson County maps, surveys, and air photography.

    There are several concerns that complicate the decision to grant the petition request or deny it. Jefferson County permitted a home to be built and located within the right of way of County Road 577 and is currently owned by the Brant family. The road could be realigned at a considerable expense given the topography of the location. Additional public right of way would also have to be obtained to accomplish the realignment. Absent approval of the vacation petition, this will remain an issue for the county unless the road is realigned.

    On May 28, 2013 the DeMonte Family Trust received approval of a subdivision in accordance with a Measure 49 claim authorization . Please see Exhibit B for location of subdivision. County Road 577 goes through the center of the subdivision to the western border of the Three Rivers subdivision, onward to the terminus at Lake Billy Chinook. Mr. Ralph DeMonte has stated that the inability to access Lake Billy Chinook on County Road 577 “would tremendously devalue our project and marketing opportunities”.

    Mr. DeMonte has indicated that he will apply for a permit to improve the county road right of way within the Three Rivers boundary.

    The petitioner states the portion of County Road 577 proposed to be vacated does not meet Jefferson County road design standards, is not safe for vehicular traffic and cannot be made safe. It is true that the portion of road proposed to be vacated does not meet Jefferson County road design standards. Currently there are no Jefferson County roads that 100% meet the road standard. The road standards are a goal we are trying to achieve with incremental improvements to the county roads as our financial situation allows. A road maintenance policy for county roads is adopted yearly describing and determining how limited road funds are allocated. The petitioner states that AASHTO (American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials) site distance requirements at the intersection of S.W. Lakeview Drive and County Road 577 cannot be met. I believe with minimal clearing the site line requirements for recreational roads per AASHTO standards, Exhibit 5-13 page 407 Geometric Design of Highways and Streets 2004 edition, can be met. Please see Exhibit C.

    I have also attached sight line profiles that demonstrate the minimal amount of work necessary to acquire the required sight distance for 25 mph. Please see Exhibit D.

    Although County Road 577 has been rarely used in the past, there is no vacation of county roads by implication under Oregon Revised Statutes.

    In the recent past, the DeMonte Family Trust and Three Rivers Landowners’ Association attempted to negotiate an alternative legal access for the DeMonte Family Trust to access Lake Billy Chinook. The negotiations between the two parties were unsuccessful and no agreement was obtained.

    In summary, there are several different issues associated with granting the petition to vacate or not to grant the petition. The fact is the DeMonte Family Trust proceeded for approval of a subdivision fully expecting to access Lake Billy Chinook on County Road 577. Additionally, at times property owner Herb Anderson uses the road to access his property. The road has been a county road since 1914 and inside the Three Rivers Recreational Area since the conception of Three Rivers. Absent an alternative access agreement that would satisfy Three Rivers Landowners’ Association, DeMonte Family Trust, and Herb Anderson, I do not find the petition to vacate a portion of County Road 577 in the public interest and would recommend not vacating the proposed portion of County Road 577.

    Mike McHaney
    Public Works Director

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