Coastal residents cite poor pavement conditions, safety issues for bicyclists, and congestion in Portland as transportation issues

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Coastal residents urge ODOT and lawmakers to "maintain what we have"

June 24, 2024

For more information, contact Kevin Glenn, 503-910-5965

TILLAMOOK -- On Tuesday, June 18 state lawmakers traveled to Oregon’s North Coast to hear about transportation challenges and needs along the north and central coast. Dairy farmers, rural transit agencies, freight companies, local officials and community members shared their concerns, priorities and ideas for solutions to help legislators build a transportation funding package in 2025. 

A common theme: The desire to better maintain the infrastructure we have in order to better connect our communities, support our economy, and keep all travelers safe. 

ODOT, along with transportation agencies across the state, is facing structural funding challenges that impact the agency’s ability to deliver core services, such as maintenance of roads and bridges. The Legislature’s Statewide Transportation Safety and Sustainability Tour is an opportunity for legislators to see what Oregon's transportation system looks like across the state—and meet with local residents and partners to discuss their vision for sufficient and sustainable funding to better maintain that system. 

ODOT partnered with the Tillamook County Transportation District, Tillamook County, the City of Garibaldi and the Port of Tillamook Bay to show lawmakers some of the distinct transportation challenges facing the region. The group drove to Garibaldi and along Oregon Highway 6 to better understand the safety and maintenance issues in the area—including limited pedestrian and bike routes, frequent landslides and floods, aging infrastructure and increasing traffic from tourism.

Lawmakers and agency leaders pose for picture in Garibaldi, Oregon during legislative tour in Tillamook.

Members of the Oregon Legislature join state, county and city officials for Tillamook tour.

Along Highway 6, landslides and floods are happening with more frequency, and these restrict access for community members and first responders and lead to poor, unsafe pavement conditions. Frequent slides coupled with aging bridge infrastructure also threaten the movement of industry, closing the highways or creating long detours when bridges are deemed incapable of handling the weight of large vehicles. 

At a public hearing led by the Joint Committee on Transportation, Heather Zwald-Taksdal, co-owner of Zwald Transport Inc., advocated for ODOT to stabilize the embankment along Highway 6 and to prioritize the transportation projects already promised in House Bill 2017. 

“I would urge you to prioritize completing the existing projects along Portland’s key freight routes, for example OR-217, I-205 and I-5 through the Rose Quarter,” said Zwald-Taskdal. “These are key trade routes for our local, regional, and international economies and the current bottlenecks on each of these major highways means trucks spend more hours idling, increasing air pollution and impacting the bottom line who depend on these routes to move goods. These projects were already initiated way back in 2017. It’s long past time we move them forward.” 

Others shared their desire to see better and safer routes for bicyclists and pedestrians so that students and those who walk, bike and roll don’t have to use unguarded shoulders along busy highways. 

“I’m an avid cyclist and have been for 40 years. I no longer ride 101—I won’t go into the number of times I felt that I would end up in the woods,” said one public commentor advocating for a mixed-use path to connect Tillamook and nearby Netarts, Oceanside and Cape Meares. Several commentors referred to the narrow highways and lack of shoulders that create dangerous conditions for bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers. 

The influx of traffic from the region’s growing tourism industry drives local economies and causes safety and congestion issues on narrow, deteriorating roads. 

“Our crews live and work in these communities, they send their kids to school on these roads and have parents traveling to health appointments. They work across three counties to keep our roads in serviceable condition,” said Savannah Crawford, ODOT’s Region Manager for the area. “Without these critical personnel, we would see severe impacts in our ability to service all of the challenging terrain we see in the northwest portion of Oregon.”   

The next tour stops will be in Albany on July 16 and Eugene on July 17. Both events will include a public hearing from 5-7:00 p.m., and the public is encouraged to attend and provide comment. 

“We look forward to continuing to support this legislative tour for Oregon lawmakers to hear from communities in every corner of the state,” said Director Kris Strickler. “Working together, we can identify sustainable funding solutions so that we can provide the essential maintenance and safety services Oregonians deserve.” 

Details for the tours can be found on the Joint Committee on Transportation’s page: Transportation Joint 2023-2024 Interim - Oregon Legislative Information System (