Last November, the proposed bike path between Corvallis and Albany met resistance from the landowners whose properties the path would cut through, and they banded together and hired an attorney to represent them against the county. In February of this year, the planning commission rejected a county bid for a conditional use permit to begin building a section of the path due to the controversy surrounding the plan. The county, disappointed, withdrew its application for a ConnectOregon grant to help with the path, which could have potentially contributed $2 million towards the project.
Moving forward, the county has decided to approach this project in a slower and more methodical way, and is trying to determine public interest and support for this project before even discussing land acquisition for the path. In a recent news release, the Benton County Board of Commissioners announced that they are asking for public input on the project, pushing back the process of planning possible routes for another year. In light of the resistance to the original proposed path, they have hired an outside consultant to evaluate possible alternative routes along the corridor.
The county is also conducting a two-part survey of Benton County residents to get public opinions in Corvallis and Albany before any decisions are made. A telephone survey is taking place currently
(Nov. 19-23), and an online survey will be conducted from Nov. 23 to Dec. 7. Once the results are tallied and analyzed, the county will consider beginning the public process relative to possible routes for the pathway. If the county does decide to move forward, route planning could begin as early as next fall.
To complete the online survey, visit CorvallisAlbanyTrailSurvey.
By Jeriah Bowser