Tag: Gillespie Corners

Sweet Lorane Community News, June 25, 2020

Fern Ridge Review
Creswell Chronicle
Sweet Lorane Community News
June 25, 2020
By Pat Edwards

Beginning 06-24-2020

Drivers coming to and leaving Lorane to the north will need to plan for a little extra time these days. The Lane County Territorial Highway Project has finally begun in earnest and Phase One—the realignment and straightening of the curves at Stony Point (also spelled “Stoney Point”), about 3 miles north of town, is expected to continue through the summer and into the fall.

The entire project involves the stretch of Territorial Highway lying between Gillespie Corners and the community of Lorane and will be done in four phases over the next 3 years. Stony Point is the most critical and urgent part of the project, so it comes first.

Historically, early roads in the area, built by the first white settlers, usually traversed the sides of foothills. This was done because of the better drain-off on the hillsides during wet weather. Since gravel was not used until later years, the dirt roads in the flat lands became quagmires during rainy periods and dusty in the summer.

The Stony Point section of Territorial Road took a different route before 1920. As the original road started to ascend, its route cut farther east and went through the properties at the top of the hill and came out just south of the entrance to Territorial Lane where it continued on to Lorane as it does today.

Stony Point’s current route, climbs the hill leading into Lorane and has been a series of sharp, sweeping curves. But for several decades now, the road bed on the, then, state-owned highway, began slipping in three places. ODOT would arrive on an increasingly frequent basis to fill it with more gravel and pavement which, in turn, would once again slip off into the field below. The road is narrow and there were no shoulders going around those curves. The fog lines are right on the edges of downhill drop-offs on the west side and steep banks border the east side of the road.

During the last 20 years or so, traffic has been increasing, due to the popularity of our local wineries and access to the shortcut to the southbound I-5 freeway. Territorial Highway has become a popular route for bicyclists, too, so when the State of Oregon agreed to trade the oversight of Territorial Highway to Lane County for Beltline Road in Eugene, the county put a priority on realigning the road for safety’s sake. A large grant was obtained for the project and June 2020 was set for it to begin.

According to Lane County’s Summer 2020 Project Update, Phase One will soften the sharp curves of Stony Point and widen the road with shoulders and guardrails. The road will be stabilized to prevent future landslides and a retaining wall will be installed across the largest slide area. Flexible mesh (geotextile) material will be used to reinforce the soil. The new road will be built on top of the reinforced soil and the retaining wall.
During the construction, one lane of gravel road will be open for “bi-directional” travel and flaggers, pilot cars and temporary traffic signals will be used as needed. Lane County advises that bicyclists use alternative routes as the work zone will be steep and hard to navigate on a bicycle.

The county is hoping that Phase One will be completed by late fall 2020 so that Phase Two, between Gillespie Corners (where Lorane Highway meets Territorial Highway) and Easy Acres Drive, can begin on time next spring or summer in 2021. That section will address the frequent flooding we have during rainy winters that goes over the road as well as softening the curves in that area where accidents are common.

Phase Three, scheduled for 2022, will take out some of the sharp curves between Easy Acres Drive and Hamm Road, at the north end of Stony Point, and all phases will widen the road considerably with generous shoulders.

The final phase will finish up between Stony Point, to the south, and Cottage Grove-Lorane Road in 2023.

For those of you traveling in our area, please be aware that construction will be on-going for quite some time and expect delays. And, most of all… please drive carefully. Help us keep our family, friends and neighbors safe during this time.

Sweet Lorane Community News, February 7, 2019

Fern Ridge Review
Creswell Chronicle
Sweet Lorane Community News ,
February 7, 2019
By Pat Edwards

By the time you read this, Jim and I will have returned from our 4-day visit to Anthem, Arizona to visit our youngest daughter, Kelly, and her husband Justin Fontaine. Since my submission deadline takes place while we are away, I’m submitting this short column ahead of time…

The gears have begun to turn on the proposed realignment of Territorial Highway between Gillespie Corners and Lorane. The Oregon Department of Transportation is proposing to pay Lane County $30 million over several years to take on the ownership of Territorial Highway which has, until now, been a state highway. Much of the proposed money will be used on a safety project to straighten the curves and widen our section of Territorial where there are no shoulders or areas suitable for passing the increasing number of bicyclists who ride it in the good weather months.

The county has already taken steps to outline a plan to survey a new alignment of the section that will include and address the long-term problem of the Stony Point curves and the geological shifting and sinking of the pavement itself. It’s long been a safety concern for all of us who drive that stretch on a daily basis… especially since trees were cut last year to make way for new power lines and the edges of the pavement leading up the hill are not protected by guardrails.

The Lane County Board of Commissioners was to meet last Tuesday to vote on the arrangement, but because I am writing this early, I won’t be able to include that information in this column.

Our own Karen Pidgeon, a professional artist who, with Alix Mosieur, gave us our beautiful mural, is one of 25 artists whose work is featured in the Eugene Love Show, a non-juried art exhibition that examines “the concept of love.” Karen’s piece, titled “Wolves at Play” is one of those being used to promote the event. You can visit the exhibit that will take place in downtown Eugene just off Kesey Square (located on Broadway and Willamette) in the lobby of the Broadway Commerce Building.

Here’s a reminder about some of the upcoming events I’ve mentioned in past columns:
Sunday, February 10, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. at the Fern Ridge Middle School: The Celebration of Life for former Veneta mayor, Sandy Larson; Sunday, February 10, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. at the Fern Ridge Middle School.

Friday, February 15, from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m.: The Eta Theta Rho Girls Club’s free Parents’ Night Out for Lorane and Crow parents… free childcare!

More details on both of these events can be found in my January 24, 2019 column that’s posted on my website at https://allthingslorane.com/category/newspaper-columns.

I hope you enjoyed your snow while Jim and I were enjoying our Arizona sunshine.

Sweet Lorane Community News, March 22, 2018

Fern Ridge Review
Creswell Chronicle
Sweet Lorane Community News
March 22, 2018
By Pat Edwards

Surprise, surprise! I got up this morning and headed for the utility room to feed our cats. I prepared the food for Xena, our outdoor cat, and promptly opened the door to the covered back deck where she eats and was greeted by a blanket of white. I hadn’t even looked out the window yet, so I was totally caught by surprise. That’s what I get for expounding on the approach of spring in last week’s column!

Today, I’m absolutely stymied as far as a column is concerned, so I’m going to give you an excerpt from my book, From Sawdust and Cider to Wine, about the former Lone Cedar School.

A Bit of Lorane History – The Lone Cedar School

Lone Cedar School

“School District #184 was formed in 1916 because it was difficult for the children living near Gillespie Corners to attend either Green Door School to the south or Hadleyville School to the west. They were a considerable distance from each, and no school buses were in operation at the time.

“The Lone Cedar School was located across Territorial Road from the forks of Simonsen Road near Gillespie Corners. The land was donated for the school by Jesse Hooker and Marcellus Gillespie, and the school house was built in 1918. Classes were held in a one-room woodshed on the property for a couple of years before that, however.

“The school was named for a large, beautifully shaped cedar tree which still stands today between the forks of Simonsen Road. It no longer is beautifully shaped, however, thanks to the Columbus Day Storm that hit the area in 1963.

“…In 1920-1921, Thomas Clark taught the 16-student school. Students that year included Reta Hooker, Juanita Gillespie, Anna Rothauge, Emma Rothauge, Elmo Simonsen, Robert McCay, Anna Lee McCay, Charles Simonsen, Orville Powell, Ellen Cowan, Everett Runk, Roy McCay, Freda Hooker, Jessie Simonsen, Hazel Powell and Arvid Rothauge.

“Arvid Rothauge had a vivid memory of teacher, Tom Clark. The Lone Cedar teaching job was Clark’s first. When the school superintendent hired Clark the spring before he began, the students were warned about the teacher who wouldn’t let any of them get away with any foolishness.

“Because Clark had spent the summer in Alaska, the students were not given a chance to meet this “superhuman” teacher until the first day of school. Much to their surprise, Tom Clark was a ‘wiry, spindly sort of chap,’ shorter than many of the older boys in school. Before any of them could get any ideas about trying to put something over on their teacher, however, Tom Clark drew the four biggest boys in the school aside on the school ground and offered them a challenge. He lay down on the ground and told the boys to try to figure a way to keep him from getting to his feet.

“‘We thought we’d have some fun with the teacher,’ said Arvid, ‘so we all got squared away – one on each leg and arm. We had him sewed down just to a fare-thee-well, you know. We weren’t supposed to hurt him, though.’

“When the boys told him that they were ready, he literally burst up from the ground, tumbling boys all around him.

“‘He never had any trouble with us after that, and everyone liked him from the start.’

“…The school district #184 consolidated with the Lorane School District #36, and the school was closed in 1940.” (From Sawdust and Cider to Wine, 2006)