Sound wall will impact all of West Linn
As you may know, ODOT has been working on the I-205 widening project for a year and a half. However, ODOT has just come forward with a proposed sound wall. Most people knew nothing about this proposed sound wall until very recently.
ODOT has sent out less than 100 notifications, but there are 233 voters due to fact that rental units get a vote from the owner and one from tenent. It will take more than half of the 233 voters to oppose the wall to stop it. How can we reach that number if only 100 people know that they get to vote on it? This "vote" appears to be rigged.
There are approximately 27,000 residents in West Linn who have not been given any information about the sound wall. Our local elected officials and local newspaper, the West Linn Tidings, were unaware of this proposal and the two scheduled back-to-back meetings on this topic.
There was a very low turnout at the meetings because there was such poor public outreach. The second meeting had only three people who held a vote in attendance, due to the lack of transparency. The people at the meetings asked for more time; the vote of the 233 people was set for March 23. The community needs to know about the many potential issues (not just the sound component) that involve us all.
The practicality of a 12- to 18-foot wall, on top of an already existing natural rock sound wall, between 60 and 70 feet high in sections C and D, doesn't make sense.
When I asked about the noise readings for section D I was told there was no testing done; only a noise simulation of increased sound. I asked the guy who did the readings, "Were you in section D, and what did it sound like?" He said, "Yes, it was quiet." We have been asking for the noise readings before the meeting and have yet to receive them.
Other concerns are about the animal traffic that flows from the Willamette River, through our neighborhoods, into Camassia Park and up into Wilderness Park.
The deer are enjoyed by all and a wall of this height and size would cut them off from our parks. Also, firefighting would be much more difficult with a wall keeping the first responders from the flames. Camassia Park had a bad fire in 2013 and a wall would have impeded efforts to stop it from spreading.
Another concern is that a concrete wall is a barrier that could attract homelessness and bring with it garbage and crime. As I've been talking with people along the proposed wall route, I've found out that there already is homelessness from West A to Sunset streets, and the 10th Street exit. So, it is likely that this would happen.
This wall stretches well into Camassia Park, which is susceptible to wildfires and home to a recent one as noted above. Homelessness would only increase the risks.
Please ask ODOT for a postponement of the vote, more public outreach, and actual readings of the sound levels at the affected homes in sections A, B, C, and D on the ODOT map.
Thank you for your time and attention.
Steven and Sharla Alexander are residents of the Sunset neighborhood in West Linn.
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