Elected officials and city staff from West Linn, Oregon City and Gladstone, in coordination with Clackamas County, have formed a committee to advise Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) on how an I-205 toll could impact surrounding communities.
Currently, ODOT plans to toll I-205 from Stafford Road to OR 99E as a means to ease traffic congestion and raise revenue. Residents and local leaders worry the planned tolling will strain smaller local roads by causing traffic to divert off the freeway.
Ellen Rogalin, community relations specialist for the county, explained that ODOT plans to consult with regional stakeholders on the effects of tolling throughout the project.
"As regional stakeholders, we and the cities thought that, rather than provide a variety of input to ODOT, it would be best if we commented together about the impacts of diversion from tolling in our part of the region," Rogalin said. "Right now it's important to work together on the topic with a unified local voice. As ODOT does its work, this committee will provide input on any findings they may have about traffic diversion, where current diversion occurs when drivers leave I-205, etc."
Rogalin explained that West Linn, Oregon City and Gladstone were chosen to participate in the committee because they are adjacent to the proposed tolling area and most likely to see the immediate impacts of traffic diversion.
"The Clackamas County Coordinating Committee (C4) — made up of elected officials from the county and cities, as well as representatives from unincorporated communities, and from transit, sewer, water and safety districts — will also be updated and engaged in this discussion as many jurisdictions could face impacts due to diversion," she added. "Members will work with their city councils and county commission, and touch base with other cities that expect to see impacts of diversion from I-205 tolling."
The group, which Rogan called an ad-hoc committee that will meet as needed, is still in its beginning stages. At a meeting Monday, May 11, the West Linn City Council nominated Councilor Jules Walters to serve as its representative to the committee.
"Tolling I-205 in the manner they're proposing is not the most healthy approach," West Linn Mayor Russ Axelrod said at the meeting.
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