Kings Boulevard Extension Proposed Again

Road construction sign.
Road construction sign.

Corvallis City Council will hold a public hearing Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m. to revisit their previous decisions to deny extending Kings Boulevard beyond its existing forested hillside terminus north of Timberhill Shopping Center. Some in the community have raised concerns over the proposed boulevard extension crossing paths with the Corvallis Fault – something to consider in our earthquake-prone Pacific Northwest.

OSU geology and geophysics professor emeritus Robert S. Yeats wrote, “The hearing must include testimony about the Corvallis Fault, one of the largest faults in western Oregon, which crosses the proposed extension in at least two places.  The fault is well located and has been mapped in detail by OSU Prof. Chris Goldfinger.  It underlies one of the buildings of Crescent Valley High School, continues through Chip Ross Park and a residential neighborhood west of Chip Ross and north of Walnut Boulevard, then through Philomath and into the Coast Range south of Highway 34.”

If the fault is active, it hasn’t been proven. Whether or not the fault is subject to destructive earthquakes is unknown.

“Standard professional practice calls for mapping the fault where it is in contact with post-glacial sediments.  If the City and potential developer can show that young sediments overlie the fault without being offset, then it would be safe for development to proceed,” Yeats continued.

“Ignoring the fault in development plans would endanger the lives of hundreds living in north Corvallis, especially those in the development planned for the Kings Valley Extension.  If engineers and planners with the City are uninformed about fault hazards affecting building permits, then we are willing to assist in setting up a program to evaluate the danger of earthquakes on the Corvallis Fault.”

Corvallis City Council originally voted to deny the application to extend Kings Boulevard through the 11-acre site on Jan. 19, 2016. The Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals, LUBA, issued an order remanding the case back to Corvallis City Council on June 15. Another public meeting was held Aug. 1. On Nov. 28, LUBA sent back the city’s decision a second time. The Feb. 6 public hearing is expected to consider the existing decision and accept additional public comment.

A map of the Corvallis Fault can be found on Benton County Sheriff’s Office website at co.benton.or.us/sheriff/page/earthquakes. For more information about the Corvallis City Council public hearing, visit https://archives.corvallisoregon.gov/public/0/edoc/855283/cc%20remand%20II%20notice%2001.13.17.pdf.

By Matthew Hunt

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