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Gov. Kate Brown, Rep. Kurt Schrader will speak at event in Woodburn



Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader will speak in Woodburn later this month, at an event commemorating the completion of the Woodburn Interstate 5 Interchange Project.

Billed as a ribbon cutting, that portion of the event looks to be largely symbolic, as the expanded interchange is already open to the public (and indeed, never actually fully closed).

Nevertheless, Lou Torres, a spokesman for Oregon Department of Transportation, said there is real significance to the event and what it represents.

“It’s a time for us all to celebrate the completion of a project that we first started talking about many years ago,” he said. “This is an important highway project, not just for Woodburn, but for Marion County and the whole region.”

He said the participation of the governor, as well as Schrader (whom Torres called a “strong supporter” of the interchange), shows how consequential the project really is.

“I think she recognizes this is a huge project for the interstate corridor,” Torres said of Brown. “I think she sees that it has great potential for economic development and other real benefits in the community.”

The complex $70 million project included a reconstructed and expanded interchange over I-5, incorporating a partial cloverleaf design, a new transit/park and ride facility, widening along Highway 214/219 and several sound walls.

After officially breaking ground in July 2013, construction was initially slated to continue through fall 2016, but thanks to some unusually cooperative weather and the efficient work of the project’s contractor, K&E Excavating Inc., it remains on schedule to wrap up a year early.

The project was funded primarily through the state’s Jobs and Transportation Act of 2009. The city also committed $8 million to the cause, an obligation ultimately lowered to $6.8 million through in-kind assistance to the project.

The ribbon cutting ceremony, which is open to the public, will be at 10 a.m. Sept. 14 at the Woodburn Memorial Transit Facility.

State legislators and senior ODOT officials are also expected to be in attendance along with representatives of the city.

According to a release from the city, Woodburn Mayor Kathy Figley will be out of town that day, but Council President Frank Lonergan will speak on the city’s behalf.

Tyler Francke covers all things Woodburn. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-765-1195.