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Yamhill County Parks & Recreation News Releases

Yamhelas Westsider Trail Proposal

Yamhill County Parks has been actively working with the Friends of Yamhelas Westsider Trail, citizens, local businesses, and partner agencies (including the Cities of Carlton, Yamhill, McMinnville, and Gaston, Washington County, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, etc.) on the proposed acquisition of an abandoned Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way from Hagg Lake to OR 99W, near McMinnville. The 17-mile long railway corridor is located in the heart of scenic Oregon Wine Country and provides linkages between 4 cities, 2 counties and several regionally significant recreation sites. The acquisition would preserve the railway in one single public ownership and address multiple transportation needs, including pedestrian, bicycling and future rail service. For information about the proposal, please visit the following website:  http://yamhelaswestsidertrail.org/.

The project is identified in the 2009 Carlton Transportation System Plan (TSP) as a priority pedestrian and bicycle priority improvement project. The path will provide a safe off-street facility for commuters, school trips, recreational use and other local trips in Carlton and Yamhill. Yamhill County adopted an amendment to add the Yamhelas Westsider Trail to the current Yamhill County TSP in December 2012. The current TSP, originally adopted in 1996, includes a policy objective of pursuing the conversion of abandoned rail lines to trails that connect with the County's trail/bikeway system. Yamhill County’s TSP update, scheduled for adoption in 2014, includes the Yamhelas Westsider Trail. The project is also consistent with policy objectives provided in the 2003 Yamhill County Parks and Open Space Master Plan, as well as the 2009 Yamhill County Agri-Business Economic and Community Development Plan, which indicates the need for transportation infrastructure and amenities such as trails, to further support agri-tourism economic development efforts. Washington County indicated the project will be included in their TSP during the next update in early 2014. The project was identified as a needed community development infrastructure project in the 2012 Mid-Willamette Valley Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and is consistent with CEDS goals and objectives to promote livable communities through improved access to recreation opportunities.


  • Yamhill County was awarded a $1.4 million dollar acquisition grant from ODOT's TE-OBPAC.  The county is currently working with ODOT to complete the requirements for the acquisition, which includes the following steps: (1) conceptual (15%) design, (2) National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) clearances and Categorical Exclusion (“CE”) Closeout, and (3) right-of-way acquisition and Federal Highway Administration (“FHWA”) certification. For the TE-OBPAC Grant Program, the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners approved $143,780 (10.27%) in matching funds. Additionally, a private citizen who owns three tracts of the former right-of-way in Carlton has agreed to donate these tracts to Yamhill County to become part of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail. Since the grant award is not sufficient to purchase the entire 17-mile-long railroad corridor, this Phase 1 project may acquire up to 10 miles of right-of-way. Acquisition is anticipated to occur in the fall of 2014.Yamhill County and the Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail are actively pursuing additional grant funds to purchase the remaining corridor.
  • Yamhill County has submitted a grant proposal to ODOT’s ConnectOregon V program.  Funding for this grant program is anticipated to be available in late 2014 and Yamhill County has requested funds to develop Phase 1 of the trail and supporting infrastructure upon completion of the TE-funded acquisition project.

Rogers Landing Boarding Floats
Yamhill County Parks is proposing replacement of the existing wooden boarding floats at Yamhill County Parks’ Rogers Landing Boat Launch (Newberg, OR), which are currently experiencing a significant amount of rot and have reached the end of their intended lifespan.  The current condition of the floats’ framework will not allow for basic repairs to be made, and Yamhill County Parks’ staff continues to monitor the floats.  There is a chance that sections of the boarding floats may need to be removed or closed to public use in the coming months, should their condition reach a point where they present a hazard. 
In the spring of 2013, Yamhill County Parks submitted a grant application to the Oregon State Marine Board’s Boating Facility Grant Program for the replacement of the boarding floats, and Yamhill County Parks is pleased to announce that our grant application was approved for funding.  Over the last year, Yamhill County Parks has been working with Oregon State Marine Board (OSMB) facility designers, and as a result, Yamhill County Parks will be replacing the existing floats with a new OSMB-designed, aluminum-frame-style boarding float.  It is anticipated that the new design will have a lifespan that is twice as long as the wooden floats.  The project will be funded by the OSMB Facility Grant Program ($45,100), Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Sport Fish Restoration funds ($210,300), and a local match ($25,000 cash and $9,050 labor).  The total project cost is estimated to be $289,450.  The new designs are currently being tested, and it is hoped that the final designs will be approved in the coming weeks.  It is hoped that the new floats will be constructed and installed in late spring or early summer 2014.  Contractors who may be interested in bidding on this project can anticipate Yamhill County Parks posting a RFP in late January or early February 2014. 
Yamhill County Parks is asking that boaters be patient as this project proceeds and to be prepared for possible boat launch lane closures (notices will be posted onsite, as we get closer to the install date).  Yamhill County Parks would also like to ensure that boaters are aware and prepared for possible closures of the boarding floats, should it be determined by staff that the condition of the floats presents a safety hazard.
Yamhill County Parks would like to thank the Oregon State Marine Board, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners for funding this priority project.  Should there be questions about this project, please contact Yamhill County Parks.

Reservations at County Parks – New Policies Effective 4/18/13

During the summer months, the reservable areas within the county park system are booked almost every weekend from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Typically these reservations are for a multitude of activities, including: weddings, family reunions, company picnics, and other gatherings. Most reservations occur in Ed Grenfell Park and Lafayette Locks Park. A new reservation policy was adopted on 4/18/13 (Board Order 13-228), to ensure continued compliance with Yamhill County Ordinance 619 (aka the County Parks Ordinance), better refine administrative oversight of parks reservations, and to prevent potential conflicts or issues with reservations impacting other park users and the surrounding neighborhood. The following are some of the key changes:

1. Only the following park sites are available for reservations: Ed Grenfell Park’s picnic shelter, Lafayette Locks’ picnic shelter, and Charles Metsker Park. (Note: Access to Metsker Park is for organized youth and adult groups for the purposes of outdoor education and research only.) For all other park sites, written requests must be submitted to Yamhill County Parks at least 30 days in advance and are considered on a case-by-case basis.

2. The possession and consumption of alcohol at Charles Metsker Park is prohibited.

3. A reservation fee has been established for Charles Metsker Park ($25 per day for up to 50 attendees and $50 per day for events in excess of 50 attendees); however, all or part of the reservation fees may be waived for Charles Metsker Park in return for a Parks-approved service project at a Yamhill County Park. Note: Service project must be approved by County Parks prior to event. To formulate the waiver, hours worked x hourly rate = in-kind donation to cover fee.

a. Also, a refundable $25 deposit is required for checking out the key to the park.

4. Cancellations

a. Full refunds will be made for cancellations made with at least 1 month’s notice.
b. For cancellations made between 1 month and 10 days prior to the reservation date, half of the reservation fee will be refunded.
c. Cancellations given less than 10 days prior to the reservation date are not eligible for a refund.

For more information, please read B.O. 13-228.



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