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Safeway Shopping Center owners reject additional driveway to ease traffic flow around 220-unit complex near highway intersection

PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - Entry from Safeway parking lot onto Molalla Road (Highway 211) is one of the concerns Woodburn city councilors expressed regarding a nearby proposed annexation and apartment complex development., Woodburn Independent - News  Traffic concerns weren't fully resolved, but the annexation of the 8.6 acres for an apartment complex near the Woodburn Safeway was solidified.

Woodburn City Council gave the annexation a final nod on May 24, which in turn helped pave way for a 220-unit complex not far from the intersection of highways 99E and 211.

The council tentatively agreed to the annexation on March 8, but requested that the developer, Ivanov Construction, work with Safeway to see if they could iron out some traffic concerns. Chief among the ideas was to see if Safeway would consider adding a driveway exit farther east of the current one to address congestion in the area.

Mark Grenz, an Ivanov Construction representative, said they approached the Safeway Shopping Center owners PacTrust, but the additional driveway idea didn't fly.

A letter from PacTrust Vice President Andrew R. Jones said:

"At PacTrust we are aware of the challenges created by the increases in traffic since the center was built twenty years ago. We are also interested in finding solutions and implementing them along with our private and public partners.

"We have reviewed the data and design options and provided the information to our major tenant, Safeway. Our conclusion is that we cannot support the proposed design due to the negative impacts on internal circulation and retail operations."

While there may have been some hope that the PacTrust and Safeway would be more receptive to the idea, it wasn't a deal breaker for the tentative annexation approval.

"In March it was a 'tentative' vote, so it was required to come back," Woodburn Community Development Director Chris Kerr said. "Last night (May 24) it was unanimously approved, so it is finished and approved."

PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - Entry from Safeway parking lot onto Molalla Road (Highway 211) is one of the concerns Woodburn city councilors expressed regarding a nearby proposed annexation and apartment complex development., Woodburn Independent - News  Council President Robert Carney thanked Grenz for honoring the city's requests in working toward resolving potential traffic and congestion in the area.

"You took it about as far as any reasonable person could take it," Carney said. "Although you were rebuffed, it was a good attempt."

The councilor also itemized a number of other positive attributes in the project that underpinned its approval: the developer's monetary contribution to ODOT to help planning at 99E and 211/214; development of amenities such as a community building, swimming pool, hot tub, large playground area, walking path and intentions of maintaining trees and an arboreal area.

"This project does generate a significant amount of financial resources to be provided to the city," Grenz said, referring in part to the financial resources afforded to ODOT to address congestion and transportation issues near the proposed complex and intersecton.


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