Prineville zeros in on Ninth Street reroute

City Council agrees plan through store lot best option

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin

Published: January 10. 2007 5:00AM PST

PRINEVILLE – The Prineville City Council decided Tuesday night to move forward with an option for rerouting Ninth Street that could displace the Wagner’s Price Slasher grocery store.

The council did not take a formal vote on the issue, but members agreed that a plan for punching through Ninth Street to connect with Laughlin Road was the best of several options for extending Ninth and creating a new east-west bypass through the town.

The decision means that the city will go ahead with planning for routing Ninth Street through part of the Wagner’s Price Slasher property. In 2005, the council was looking at cutting through the Price Slasher lot as the most viable option but chose to conduct an analysis of the socio- economic impacts of six different reroute options before making a firm decision.

“I think we’ve known for a long time that’s how they were leaning, but it’s still hard to take,” Deb Harper said of last night’s meeting. Deb and Terry Harper have owned Price Slasher for about three years.

The recent socio-economic impact analysis led city staff to conclude that two options were most feasible: continuing Ninth Street east through the Price Slasher lot, or curving Ninth up to 10th Street and extending 10th.

The analysis said that the first option would cost $1.9 million in land acquisition and displacement of current residents, while the second option would cost $461,000.

But another analysis of the construction costs of the different routes – prepared by engineering firm H&W Pacific and presented to the council Tuesday night – showed that construction for the Ninth Street route would cost $495,000, while 10th Street would cost about $1.25 million. The 10th Street option would also include functional problems such as including turns wide enough for large trucks.

“From an engineer’s perspective … the Ninth Street option is superior to the 10th Street option, in my professional opinion,” said Barry Johnson, of H&W Pacific.

After hearing Johnson’s presentation, the councilors agreed that city planners should focus their energies on the Ninth Street option in the future. Several added that they would prefer a possible variation on the route, skewing the road slightly south to take up less of the Price Slasher building.

The grocery store is located on North Main Street where Ninth Street currently dead ends.

Assistant City Manager Jerry Gillham said he has been working with the Harpers to come up with a “win-win situation.”

“I’m really excited that we can save Price Slasher and redevelop that site, and I thank the Harpers for working with the city,” Councilor Gordon Gillespie said.

Deb and Terry Harper said they are not sure if they will be able to keep the business in its current location, even if the road curves south to accommodate more of the building. Prineville recently lost $1 million in federal funding for the arterial project, so construction is still several years from beginning.

“It’s going to be tough (to now have) business as usual because our hands are tied – we can’t put any money into expansions or upgrades,” Terry Harper said.

Gillham said the next step in the project is continuing to work with the Harpers to brainstorm different solutions.

In other business, the council decided to start all of its regular meetings on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. in order to hold more workshops.

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