A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

What’s this, you ask? And the answer…

Written May 24th, 2024 by Hasso Hering

Taking a look across the road at the construction project at 815 Ninth S.E. on Thursday, May 23, 2024.

Several times in the last few weeks, people have asked what’s being built on the left side of Ninth Avenue in Albany as you come off the eastbound overpass. You can look it up, of course, but I’ll save you the trouble.

What’s being built there is a one-story “marijuana dispensary” of about 2,200 square feet.

“Don’t we have enough of those?” someone asked me Thursday when I told him. The answer is apparently not.

I wrote about this address in May 2022, when the city planning division was considering a site plan for the project. The city approved the plan, and a building permit was issued this March.

The property is owned by Peter E. Brock, of Sherwood.

The permit does not show an estimated valuation for the building. It does show an astonishing amount of fees, a total of $115,701.80.

The total includes $105,851 in transportation systems development charges.

Most of that, some $90,000, is the fee the city charged for street improvements included in the city’s Transportation System Plan. The rest of the street fee, about $15,000, is presumed to reimburse the city for projects already funded and constructed.

As for the $90,000 portion of the street fee, it was based on a peak-hour trip generation calculated for marijuana businesses by the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE).

It seemed high to city officials too, so they offered the developer the option of developing a local trip rate based on a similar local use. But the result was even higher than the ITE figure.

“As a result, we continued with use of the ITE rate for development’s fee calculation,” Albany transportation systems analyst Ron Irish told me in an email.  “The reason that the TSDC fee was high for the cannabis store was that it is a use that generates a lot of trips and associated impacts during the PM peak hour on the street system.”

This, I am sad to report, was likely the last explanation we are going to get from Mr. Irish. He is retiring, and Friday was his last day on the job for the City of Albany.

Over nearly three decades Ron has been a huge help to me — and everybody else — in understanding all manner of  issues involving streets. I’m going to miss his unflappable manner and his expertise. (hh)

18 responses to “What’s this, you ask? And the answer…”

  1. Ray Kopczynski says:

    “Over nearly three decades Ron has been a huge help to me — and everybody else — in understanding all manner of issues involving streets. I’m going to miss his unflappable manner and his expertise. (hh)”

    Ron’s demeanor and expertise has been huge for the city over the years. I shall miss him, but he’s earned the right to “graduate.” :-)

    • hj.anony1 says:

      Cue “Shadle” to call you both “arseholes”.

      Side note, I doubt nobody will complain here in the comments about this overcharge due to it being such as it is.

  2. Jeff B. Senders says:

    I worked with and against Ron for many years as a downtown parking representative with the Albany Downtown Association. His perspective on parking availability was different than the Merchants. Having said that, while we sometimes disagreed, he was willing to work with us. Ron never once raised his voice–a few “eye rolls” at the worst. So happy retirement Ron, and stay in touch.

  3. Hartman says:

    Why is it that Hering rails against small businesses struggling to open an operation? For decades, Hering championed business of all statures because, as a conservative person and a believer in the Constitution, he felt the need to support our founding fathers in their belief that the government should get out of the way. However, where it comes to cannabis, Hering seems to drop any hint of support. Shocking and hypocritical are the words that come to mind.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      “Rails against?” Where? How?

      • Gordon L. Shadle says:

        After Hartman’s rant I went back and re-read your reporting several times looking for journalistic bias against “small businesses struggling to open an operation”, in particular “cannabis” operations.


        When we read your NEWS stories, we as readers apply our own set of biases and understanding those biases is important because they color how we consume what you write.

        My conclusions: Hartman needs to do some self introspection.

  4. david pulver says:

    as for too many dispensaries?? each one is paying for permits, rent, power, water, taxes, garbage, internet, security systems, etc. +employee wages. nah- we dont need any more businesses like that in this town.

  5. William Orleman says:

    All other notes aside we now have the cash for the potholes on 6th Ave SE

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      Besides downtown, their priority is Geary between Pacific & Queen and 14th between Waverly & Geary. To hell with maintenance that might keep some streets from looking like yours as soon. Your street is too far gone to spend money on until you can do a complete rebuild.

      When you have a Mayor/City Council that buys a bank, only to demolish it, is looking to sell City owned lots to the Cumberland church group below market value, decides an upgrade to the water/sewer dept. software is needed……..

  6. Hpeg13 says:

    How many more dispensaries are needed? How many more houses and apts or “condos”, Mexican food or Asian inspired foods are needed?

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      As many as the free-market will support…

      • Bill Kapaun says:

        Because of your greed for other peoples money.

        As described in ORS 475B.345 the City of Albany hereby imposes a tax of three percent on the retail sale price of marijuana items by a marijuana retailer in the area subject to the jurisdiction of the City. (Ord. 5873 § 1, 2016).

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          Obviously, that hasn’t deterred another business owner who perceives an opportunity to be had. Ain’t America great? :-)

    • Abe Cee says:

      If we have enough dispensaries we won’t notice all the issues in town.

  7. TLH-ALB1 says:

    That’ll be 4 such businesses within about 100 yards of each other…the neighborhood is about to be greener. What the city coffer’s won’t to allow to be a little more green. Might as well, as they allow the “high rise ghettos” to be built…you gotta have the avenues available to self-medicate from the misery the city builds upon. We need a liquor store and pot shop on every street corner. Welcome to ‘hood…


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