Prineville considers Ninth Street options

City looking at two choices to ease traffic on Third Street

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: December 20. 2006 5:00AM PST

PRINEVILLE – A consulting group presented the final analysis of the socio-economic impacts of rerouting Prineville’s Ninth Street to a group of about 30 local residents and planners Tuesday night.

The city’s assistant manager, Jerry Gillham, said the report by ECONorthwest has convinced him that two options stand out as best for both the city and the community. At the next City Council meeting Jan. 9, Gillham said he will present the two options and ask the council to make a decision.

The city is hoping to create a “northern arterial” route through Prineville to take pressure off of Third Street by punching through Ninth Street to Laughlin Road. The two options that Gillham highlighted as preferable to accomplish that goal are cutting diagonally from Deer Street up to 10th Street, which would displace three homes, or extending Ninth Street through part of the property currently occupied by the Wagner’s Price Slasher grocery store.

“I believe that in working with the owners of Price Slasher we can work out an agreement that would take this arterial through this property and still keep Price Slasher there,” Gillham said.

In his presentation Tuesday night, Bob Parker, senior planner with ECONorthwest, said that the city could make an exception on coding for the Price Slasher property to reduce the parking requirement, allowing it to stay. Gillham also said that a slightly more southern reroute along Ninth Street could also save the business.

Another option for the route would have cut down from Ninth Street to Seventh Street, but Parker said that alternative would have had the greatest negative impact on a residential neighborhood.

Parker added that ECONorthwest’s socioeconomic impact analysis revealed that the area around the intersection of Ninth and Main streets has a higher proportion than the city overall of one-person and single-parent households, renters and elderly renters. That means that the neighborhood has a “larger share of lower-income households and households without transportation,” Parker said.

Several of those in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting questioned the costs that ECONorthwest included in its analysis. It concluded that the Seventh Street option would cost $930,000; the Price Slasher option, $1.26 million; and the 10th Street option, $300,000.

“Your numbers appear to be off by an order of magnitude,” said Don Wood, a Prineville resident.

Parker said that the numbers included in the analysis represented the cost of acquiring displaced properties and did not include construction estimates. Gillham added that the acquisition costs should offer the City Council a sense of which option would be more expensive than the others.

“They give the council a ballpark idea that, if they go with this option, it’s going to be the least expensive, probably, in the long run,” Gillham said.

The City Council had made a preliminary decision in January to extend Ninth Street through Price Slasher’s property, but also called for the socio-economic analysis to be done.

Suzanne Wilson said she has been trying for six months to sell her house on Court Street, which could be affected by later stages of the arterial project. She said homes near her recently sold in a matter of days, but potential buyers are now asking her whether the property will be displaced in the future.

“I have a beautiful yard, and I don’t want to live there with trucks going down my backyard,” Wilson said.

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