LAKESIDE — A group of Lakeside officials met with Coos County Commissioners at a work session meeting Tuesday to discuss the possibility of allowing ATVs, all-terrain vehicles, on its roadways.
If approved, ATV operators will be permitted to travel on their vehicles from Airport Way to South Eighth Street toward downtown Lakeside. The new routes would allow for operators to easily travel from nearby trails into the city’s center.
A driver turns off U.S. Highway 101 headed toward Lakeside on Saturday. City Manager Andrew Carlstrom presented Thursday a plan called “Operat…
With mixed reactions on the matter, Lakeside city officials and commissioners talked over the pros and cons of granting access on city and county roads to ATVs.
Coos County Commissioner Bob Main pointed out the economic benefits associated with allowing ATV access into Lakeside's downtown area. He listed a possible storage garage and gas station for ATVs as ways businesses can take advantage of the new clientele.
While most in attendance at Tuesday's meeting agreed that Lakeside's economy would receive a boost, concerns were also raised regarding road damage, noise level issues, traffic congestion and riders not adhering to traffic laws.
“You’re going to have a lot of enforcement work to be done,” said Coos County Commissioner John Sweet at the meeting.
With a few exceptions, such as those carrying Ocean Shore permits, which allows for qualified disabled individuals to operate an ATV on certain roadways, paved and two-lane gravel roads have historically been closed to ATVs.
Last year, the Oregon Legislature passed an ordinance, SB 344, allowing for ATVs and snowmobiles to travel lawfully on state highways through specific routes designated by an advisory committee under the Oregon State Parks Department (OPRD).
Under the new state ordinance, ATVs are now allowed to cross highways at an intersection or at a place that is more than 100 feet from a highway intersection. Operators must yield the right of way to other vehicles on the highway and its crossing must be made at an angle of 90 degrees to the direction of the highway.
In August, OPRD's ATV Highway Access Committee approved an application for an ATV highway access route from Spinreel Dunes Access to a Highway 101 overpass about 12 miles north of North Bend.
While the new law only pertains to state highways, if the city of Lakeside and the county allow access to its roadways then the two routes would be able to connect.
“I’m all for what we can do for our economy,” said Lakeside Mayor James Edwards at the meeting. “But, I agree with a lot of you that there would be some problems. I’m willing to put it on the table if people want to talk about it.”
A public hearing will be scheduled sometime in February to discuss the matter further and allow for public comment.