May 2, 2006
Project Manager & Hydrologist
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
1102 Lincoln Street, #210
Eugene, OR 97401
Dear Mr Aitken:
Thank you for taking the time to come to Ashland and speak to the city council about the proposed rail yard clean-up by UPRR.
During that session, you heard the council express its concern about the number of trucks traveling to and from the railroad property in Ashland over a four month period. We are very much opposed to UPRR removing the contaminated soils by truck for the following reasons:
- Despite best practices, the risk of contaminated soils escaping from the trucks along the truck route is very likely and thus a public health concern. It would be irresponsible of us, the elected body, to allow such a risk to our citizens.
- The estimate of 100,000 cubic yards of soil to be removed equals approximately 10,000 truck loads of soil. Even if tandem truck trailer rigs were used rather than individual trucks, it is still close to 50 trucks each day driving through residential streets. The physical impact of the number and weight of the trucks on our local streets will result in significant wear and tear leaving the burden of repair costs with the city.
- Emissions from the large number of trucks over a considerable amount of time will impact our air quality, particularly those areas along the truck route.
- We are concerned about public safety. The volume of truck traffic will result in a traffic increase of 15% or more. Any route from the site flows through commercial and multi family zoning areas where there is a high concentration of pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
- We are concerned about the negative economic impact on businesses along the truck route as well as businesses that are near or abut the railroad property. The large increase in truck traffic will result in increased congestion and likely deter potential customers from making their way to those businesses.
Because of these concerns, we are asking the UPRR to remove the soils via rail car. Using rail cars means the soils would be contained and removed using the direct route on the tracks out of town.
You explained that removing the soils using rail would increase the cost to the UPRR since the contractors must contract with the various rail companies for use of the tracks not owned by UPRR.
While we can appreciate UPRR’s desire to use the least expensive means to accomplish the clean up, our community must live with that decision for a number of months.
On behalf of the Ashland City Council, I am urging DEQ to require UPRR to use rail to transport contaminated soils.
John W. Morrison, Mayor
Ashland City Council
Ann Seltzer, Management Analyst
Bill Molnar, Interim Community Development Director