Residents, Industrial Property Owners Clash over Trucks on 13th

Are trucks allowed on SE 13th Avenue between Sequoia Parkway and Ivy? Based on last week’s Canby City Council meeting, the answer is…no?

Trucks and other commercial vehicles routinely use 13th between Sequoia and Berg Parkway to access the Pioneer Industrial Park on the east side of town and bypass Highway 99E through Canby. In fact, until recently, City Administrator Rick Robinson said he and other city staff thought 13th Avenue was a truck route.

It wasn’t until a Tofte Farms resident presented evidence to the city that Robinson realized he was mistaken, and 13th is actually not designated for use by trucks. They also say the city made an agreement with Tofte Farms when the subdivision was being developed, to the effect that trucks would not be permitted on that stretch of 13th.

Robinson and Public Works Director Jennifer Cline verified this internally and found the resident was correct, at least about the designation in the city’s transportation plan: 13th Avenue is not a truck route.

That means that any through truck traffic using 13th could be cited by Canby police, though it has never been the city’s practice to enforce this.

But, OK, here’s where it gets really confusing. Buzz and Pat Weygandt, Bob Zimmer and other property owners involved with the development of the industrial park said the city made earlier promises to them, in which they agreed that 13th could be used for trucks. Here’s Bob Zimmer, discussing those negotiations.

So, now the city has a problem. Residents in the area want the trucks to go elsewhere, citing the safety concerns created by the neighborhoods, schools and parks that line 13th. The Traffic Safety Commission is also recommending the existing ban on trucks be enforced.

On the other hand, industrial users — including the half-dozen or so new projects in various stages of development — want to continue to have access to the routes they’ve been using, for over a decade in some cases.

Whether it’s officially designed a “truck route” or not, they feel the city has always permitted or even encouraged its use by trucks, and to step up enforcement now would be an act of bad faith.

Councilor Tracie Heidt summed it up.

The issue actually before the council Wednesday was not whether to allow trucks on 13th; it concerned only some clarification to the city’s traffic code that would allow for signage and enforcement on any non-truck roads in Canby. But it brought to a head the obvious disagreement between the city’s residents and industrial users, simmering just below the surface.

Councilors asked staff to bring the matter of a truck route designation on 13th back before them for a more meaningful discussion as soon as possible. That meeting is expected in December or January. We’ll keep you posted.

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