A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

A bridge district, with Benton this time?

Written February 6th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

A crash-caused traffic jam on the Lyon Street bridge meant drivers could stop and look out the window at the Willamette River on Jan. 29.

North Albany property owners might be interested in Oregon House Bill 2887. It would allow the formation of a taxing district to build a new bridge in the Salem region. And Benton County property owners would help pay.

There’s no reason to get overly alarmed. The bill is unlikely to get any further than a similar measure in 2019 that would have affected not Benton but Linn County. That bill died.

Rep. Paul Evans, D-Monmouth, introduced the new proposal. It was referred to the legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee, one of whose 12 members is Rep. Shelly Boshart Davis, R-Albany.

HB 2887 allows a bridge district to be formed in the “capital city region,” defined as Benton, Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties.  Voters in the region would have to approve the formation.

Once formed, the district could collect property taxes “to plan, finance, construct, operate and maintain bridges over the Willamette River in the capital city region.”

In 2019, Rep. Evans proposed the same bill except that it omitted Benton County and included Linn County in his proposed bridge district. The Linn County Board of Commissioners passed a motion to oppose the idea, and the bill was not heard of again.

Evans had proposed the bridge district after the city council in Salem voted against pursuing plans for a new bridge there.

There’s always talk about building another bridge in the Albany area, too, but talk is all it is. No one is planning to build an additional bridge in the mid-valley, but ODOT will replace the Van Buren Street Bridge in Corvallis in the next couple of years. (hh)

2 responses to “A bridge district, with Benton this time?”

  1. Son of Jacob Jacobson says:

    “Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.”

    William Feather

  2. Albany YIMBY says:

    A bridge over the river in Springhill Dr. right when the road bends to follow the river, and connecting with I-5 between Millesburg and the current junction will eliminate traffic through the city that has no need to go there. Farmland in this new road would need to be protected to avoid urban creep there, of course, otherwise it’d be encouraging sprawl.

    It would also allow for a complete remodel of Pacific, to reduce speed, increase housing density and vegetation.

    That would be fantastic and would allow for


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