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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Bike lane will link Wallowa Lake and Joseph

Bike lane will link Wallowa Lake and Joseph

A much welcomed amenity is coming to Wallowa County.

The Oregon Department of Transportation has proposed an $8 million bike lane between Joseph and Wallowa Lake and it has received the support of the county, Joseph city, and local economic development organizations.

The expansion of the two-lane Highway 351 between Joseph and Wallowa Lake, commonly known as the Wallowa Lake Highway, has top priority from the state, Joseph Mayor Dennis Sands said.

A letter of support had signatures from the Joseph Chamber of Commerce, Wallowa County, Wallowa Lake Homeowners Association, the Wallowa Lake State Park, Northeast Oregon Economic Development District and the Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce.

Phase one of the project would be widening the road between Joseph and the Wallowa Lake County Park and stage two would start at the county park and continue south to the Wallowa Lake State Park.

Sands said if the grant is awarded the city would be notified in either January or February 2013 and the project would be completed in 2015 or 2016.

“It would have impact for Joseph and the whole county.  Almost every RV that goes to the lake has a bike on it. It would be nice to have a safe route from the lake to  Joseph,” said Sands.

In the June 7 meeting, The Joseph City Council also voted unanimously to approve a resolution for a letter of intent to be sent to the Department of Transportation for additional funding to improve Wallowa Avenue from Main Street.

In another move to improve the city’s infrastructure, Sands presented an inexpensive option to fix the city’s paved streets –– many of which are riddled with potholes.

The city is considering the purchase of an “asphalt zipper,” which would improve streets at the lowest price possible, said Sands. The machine chews up old asphalt, lays it down, compacts it, and water is sprayed on it to seal.

Sands said La Grande uses one and they have been satisfied with it. The asphalt  zipper would cost $100,000 with payments over seven years.

“In two or three years we could have a lot of these streets done,” said Sands.

Ryan Hook, city public works manager, said the repairs should be good for 15 years.

“If it works consistently, it’s worth the money,” said Hook.

There is also a consideration to split the cost and use of the zipper with the City of  Enterprise, reducing the payments to half the cost. The cities are discussing the possibility of entering into a memorandum of understanding, said Sands.

During the fire department’s report, Chief Tom Clevenger said the causes of fires at The Little Store last month and one at a trailer house 100 feet away were suspicious.

Yet after thorough investigations from Oregon State Police and the state fire marshal, no causes were determined.

Alpenfest, a Bavarian festival set for late September, was approved to have street  musicians, an exemption to the sandwich board restriction for three days, and one block of Pine Street off Main blocked off for vendors during the festival.

Jason Crenshaw of the Joseph Charter School requested and was granted permission for a trailer to be parked at the recycling center off the Imnaha Highway for can donations.

The school has scheduled a trip for students and chaperones to Washington, D.C., next summer and can donations will help defray the $2,000 per person cost. 

The trailer will be locked and have a small hole to easily deposit cans but reduce the risk of litter around the trailer.

The collection will end in March of 2013 when the deposits for the trip are due, said Sands.

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