A team of sixteen members of Oregon ASLA, joined by nine members of the Student Chapter of ASLA at the University of Oregon, gathered in Carlton, Oregon on November 13th and 14th for a design workshop for the Yamhelas Westsider Trail, a proposed multimodal transportation corridor in Yamhill County.
Over 50 local residents, business owners, elected officials and agency staff worked directly with the Oregon/UO ASLA team to develop conceptual plans that will guide the future development of the trail. The team solicited input to develop design ideas for elements of the trail including trailheads, wayfinding signage, property access, and connections to key destinations. The workshop concluded with an public open house for the landscape architects to present their design proposals and solicit feedback from the larger community.
Yamhill County and the non-profit organization, Friends of Yamhelas Westsider Trail, are leading efforts to develop the trail. The design workshop was part of a collaborative planning process funded through a technical assistance grant from the National Parks Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (NPS RTCA). Carlton-based winery Ken Wright Cellars hosted the workshop and their barrel room provided an inspiring backdrop for our work.
About the Yamhelas Westsider Trail
The 17-mile long railroad corridor is located in the heart of Oregon’s wine country and provides a link between four cities, two counties and several regionally significant recreation sites, including Henry Hagg Lake and Wapato Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Yamhill County 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, and Oregon Parks and Recreation on the proposed acquisition of the abandoned Union Pacific Railroad right of way from Hagg Lake to OR 99W, near McMinnville.
“The trail will provide a safe, off-street facility for people walking and biking to work, students attending Yamhill-Carlton High School, recreational cyclists and for other local trips in Carlton and Yamhill,” said Yamhill County Commissioner Stan Primozich. “This is a needed investment that has the ability to transform our community.”
The first phase of the project will acquire up to 9 miles of the railroad right-of-way using $1.7 million of Federal Transportation Enhancement funds through a grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation. The acquisition would preserve the rail corridor in one single public ownership. Yamhill County and the Friends of Yamhelas Westsider Trail are actively pursuing additional grant funds to develop the alignment, creating the first regional alternative transportation corridor in the Yamhill Valley.
NPS RTCA Partnership Brings Opportunities
Oregon ASLA participated in the workshop under ASLA’s partnership with NPS RTCA to help communities plan, design and manage their natural, cultural and recreational resources.
Since 2000, ASLA chapters across the country and NPS RTCA have worked together to support dozens of community-led natural resource conservation and recreation projects. This unique partnership, first tested in the Pacific Northwest, expanded opportunities for ASLA chapters and National Park Service staff across the county.
NPS RTCA staff will work with Yamhill County and the Friends of Yamhelas Westsider Trail to assemble the drawings and information into a concept plan document that will be published in 2016.
“Community leaders from Yamhill County have led the development of this project over several decades and provided the necessary support to secure the federal transportation funds to acquire the rail property,” said Wayne Wiebke with the Friends of Yamhelas Westsider Trail. “We are excited to be where we are today, developing ideas to guide the design of this future trail.”
Yamhelas Westsider Trail Design Workshop
November 13-14, 2015, Carlton, Oregon
Oregon ASLA: Elizabeth Auvil (Alta Planning + Design), Brian Bainnson (Quatrefoil), Tim Bono (Walker Macy), Arica Duhrkoop-Galas (The Office of Stangeland and Associates; University of Oregon), Gregg Everhart (Parametrix; Everhart LA, LLC), Kate Forester (Herrera Environmental Consultants), Tamra Lehuta (Meier Architecture + Engineering), Aaron Maples (Walker Macy), Arjen Meeuswen (PLACE), Maureen Raad (ESA Vigil Agrimis), Sterling Rung (PLACE), Jean Senechal Biggs (Portland Bureau of Transportation), Shannon Simms (Mayer Reed), Pam Symond (City of Eugene), Robin Wilcox (PLACE), and Alex Zatarain (Stemmler Design).
UO Student Chapter ASLA: Kayla Byrne, Casey Howard, Alison Lewis, John Maxson, Krisztian Megyeri, Peter Obermeyer, Keegan Oneal, Nancy Pierce, and Callan Roemer.
NPS RTCA: Dan Miller and Shawn James
Yamhill County: Jayne Mercer and Brett Henry
Friends of Yamhelas Westsider Trail
Special thanks to our hosts, Ken Wright Cellars.