Tag: Territorial Highway Project

Sweet Lorane Community News, February 18, 2021

Fern Ridge Review
Creswell Chronicle
Sweet Lorane Community News
February 18, 2021
By Pat Edwards

Lane County Department of Public Works photo

The Lane County Public Works Department sent out an update on the multi-year Territorial Highway Project that is taking place north of Lorane. Phase 1 of the project, centering around the major restructuring of the dangerous curves at Stony Point was begun in the summer of 2020. The construction was paused in December and will restart this coming May. They hope to complete the Phase 1 section this summer.

Unfortunately, the Phase 2 segment, planned for Gillespie Corners to Easy Acres Drive, has been put on hold until more funding can be found. It involves the raising of the road that frequently floods during the winter and the building of new bridges along that route.

Phase 3, from Easy Acres Drive to Stony Point, is planned to begin in 2023 and continue into 2024. The interim time will be spent in designing, surveying, collecting data and discussions with property owners on how it will impact each of their properties. The county will also host community discussions in the fall of 2022 about the final design, construction schedules and traffic control in that segment.

Phase 4 involves the segment of Territorial from Stony Point into Lorane and will begin after the completion of Phase 3. A more detailed time schedule for that section will be announced sometime in 2022.

We live along the Phase 2 segment and have put off our plans to put in a new perimeter fence along Territorial until the construction was complete, knowing that the property line will most likely be changed anyway and that any new fencing we put in would have to be moved. Now, it looks like it won’t happen for several years, so I guess we’ll be planning a fence project this spring.

All of us who drive along that stretch are disappointed that the flooding problem won’t be addressed for some time yet. We were really looking forward to having that done. According to the county, however, the initial costs they had factored into that segment have risen drastically in the last year and now exceed what they have on hand. New funding in the form of grants is being sought so that Phase 2 can proceed as soon as possible.

Speaking of flooding, we are so grateful that Mother Nature has been reasonably kind to all of us in Lane County this winter. Not only have we not had any flooding at Gillespie Corners, but we have not had to suffer through the ice storm that hit many parts of Oregon north of us. How well we all remember the snow, ice and power outages of a couple of winters ago. Thank goodness we have not relived those times this winter as others in Albany, Salem and Portland have.

Other parts of the country, in places that are not used to snow and ice, have also been suffering through some really damaging winter weather. Much of Texas has been without power for almost a week because of it. Some good friends live in Helena, Montana. They are used to lots of snow each winter, but this year, Connie wrote: “This past week, our highs have been -7 degrees—and our lows are in the -20 degree range.”

Thank you, Mother Nature, for our “home sweet home.”

Sweet Lorane Community News, November 19, 2020

Fern Ridge Review
Creswell Chronicle
Sweet Lorane Community News
November 19, 2020
By Pat Edwards

Lane County’s Public Works Department has issued another update for November on the Territorial Highway’s “Stony Point” project. Here is the text of what was sent to us this past week:

“Lane County’s primary goal this winter is to maintain safe travel through the construction site for all users.

“Construction is still underway at this time but varies based on weather conditions. We anticipate construction will shut down for the winter within the next month.

“The contractor is currently armoring the embankment on the north end of the construction site. There is noticeable road deterioration in this area and the armoring should prevent further decline. A large slide is not anticipated as this area is also supported by the tie-back stabilization system that was constructed early this summer. Additionally, the traffic signal has been moved further north and the length of the single travel lane has been extended to encompass this area.

“County staff and the contractor will continue to monitor the project site throughout the winter to ensure the road stays safe to travel.”

Much of the road through the work area has now been made into a single lane of traffic with either flaggers or a traffic light at each end. This has made those of us driving through it feel much safer as large cement dividers keep us away from the precipitous edges of the road, but we are finding that this week, since the length of the single lane has been extended and while flaggers are being used, the waits have gotten to be 20 to 30 minutes in length before cars at one end or the other are allowed to proceed. Residents who have posted about the long waits on Facebook suggest that anyone planning to go through that area add another half hour to their travel time schedule to ensure they get to appointments on time.
Another comment to that posting helped to explain that the long waits were caused by “the equipment working right next to the road needing to swing out into roadway while working.”
In any case, it appears that the actual work will only proceed for a short while longer before it is halted for the winter. At that time, the wait at traffic signals will be adjusted to shorter periods.

Like so many of you, our family is having to adjust our Thanksgiving plans this year. Those who know us have heard about our big family get-togethers here at our house, but we have decided to sacrifice this year’s celebration of thanks and family to help ensure that we can all be together next year. I’m going to put the big turkey in the oven as usual Thursday morning, and our two daughters, Gloria and Michele, and our son Rob, will come over in the afternoon to help Jim and me with the rest of the big meal. When it’s all prepared, each will take enough food to their own homes to feed their own small family groupings. Before we eat separately, however, all of us will join together with our daughter, Kelly, in Arizona, and other close family members at their own homes by Zoom so that we can say grace together and give our thanks for all that we do have and have been blessed with. We usually hold hands around our big dining room table to say grace, but this year, we’ll be connected in our hearts.
I am going to miss snuggling our babies and reading to our older great-grands as well as visiting with their mamas and papas so much this Thanksgiving Day, but we all feel that it’s something that we need to do, not only for ourselves, but for the health of our communities.

May God bless each and every one of you this holiday season. We are all in this together and if we do what we must now, our future Thanksgivings can return to true celebrations of thanks and love.

Sweet Lorane Community News, October 29, 2020

Fern Ridge Review
Creswell Chronicle
Sweet Lorane Community News
October 29, 2020
By Pat Edwards

I begin this week’s column with a heavy heart. Two days ago, we learned of the sudden and tragic death of a good friend. Life-long Lorane resident, Charles Drullinger, was killed in a farming accident on October 27. Charles and his wife Phyllis have two adult children, Jeff and Jan, who went to the Lorane and Crow schools with our own daughters and son. Jim and I have attended many football, volleyball and basketball games, track meets, school carnivals and programs, 4-H club meetings and other social events with the Drullingers over the years.

Phyllis and Charles Drullinger; Long-time members of the Lorane Grange

Before his retirement, Charles was a department manager for Sears Roebuck when it was located in downtown Eugene before later moving on to work at Jerry’s Home Improvement Center; Phyllis was a pediatric nurse at Sacred Heart Hospital. He was a kind, gentle and quiet man who was deeply respected by those who knew him. Both he and Phyllis have been active members of the Lorane Christian Church for many years—most, if not all, of his life, in fact. Charles, with his best friend, Bob Hing, was an avid sports fisherman, and they spent many years together, drowning worms.

Charles will be sorely missed and my heart goes out to Phyllis, Jeff, Jan and the rest of their family this week.

A lot of progress is being made on the Territorial Highway Project at Stony Point the past few weeks. A traffic light has been installed and a concrete barrier has been erected so that one way traffic can proceed in a single lane around the worst part of the existing road that has no shoulders. What they are calling “the big fill” is showing some progress below where the new, less curvy route is being built. The new arrangement has alleviated a lot of our nervousness in driving in the area where there were not only any shoulders, but where traffic had to be navigated at the edge of steep drop-offs just on the other side of the fog lines. Thank you, Lane County!

Lorane residents have been commenting all week about the thousands of blackbirds and starlings that have been lining all of the utility lines and ground along the straight stretch of Territorial as it passes the King Estate Winery. We discovered that their presence was also related to other comments from many of us that our power was breaking off almost every day for a couple of seconds at a time—just long enough to make us have to reset our clocks each time. It seems that the birds have been attracted to the grapes at King Estate that were not picked this year because of being tainted by the wildfire smoke and ash in September. We’ve been told by Lane Electric that the weight of so many of them sitting on the lines have been shorting things out. Apparently the smoke-flavored grapes could not be used for wine, but the birds didn’t seem to mind at all.

After working on this year’s 2020 Groundwaters anthology (“The Year of Crises” issue) since August, Jennifer Chambers and I have finally been able to send it off to Amazon.com for distribution. The huge project this year contains the work of 79 local writers and poets and many of the stories and poems were about the pandemic, protests, wildfires and general difficulties faced this year by all of us. I offered to donate one to the BRING Recycling “100-year Time Capsule Project” and they eagerly accepted it. It will be buried in the time capsule with other memorabilia from 2020 by BRING and won’t be dug up and opened until 2120. How exciting!