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Volume 11, Issue 11
November 2013


Saltzman Road realignment options

The northern extent of Cedar Mill is usually considered to be Thompson Road, but what happens north of that concerns most of us who travel to Bethany, PCC, and beyond.

A group of neighbors (Saltzman Solutions) has been meeting to discuss ways to get the county to deal with the problems of Saltzman Road south of Laidlaw. The steep, curvy and narrow roadway has become ever more problematic as development brings more people to the north. The anticipated urbanization of Area 93 to the east, which will become part of Washington County on January 1, 2014, and the rapidly-developing North Bethany area, will only increase traffic on this sub-standard road.


Three suggested options for the "thrill-ride" portion of Saltzman Road. Click map to view a full-size PDF file Talks with county road people and concerned developers are ongoing. The ultimate solution may be different, and the above cost estimates are very rough.

matrixThe group's research turned up some interesting facts. A 2004 Staff Report in conjunction with Ordinance 626 (an ordinance to improve Saltzman) noted: "The existing alignment is substandard in terms of both vertical and horizontal geometry. Sight distance at the current Saltzman/Laidlaw intersection is inadequate and would be very difficult to address. The bridge on Saltzman near Laidlaw is substandard and poses a safety hazard." The Planning Commission subsequently voted to defer identification of a preferred Saltzman alignment south of Laidlaw Road until staff had developed some recommendations for the system north of Laidlaw.

Development is proceeding north of Laidlaw, and yet nothing has been done about the alignment. A development application for a parcel west of Saltzman, just before it starts to plunge into the “thrill-ride,” has increased pressure to determine the alignment so that the development won’t preclude a desired outcome.

The group showed up in force to the Transportation Plan Open House at the joint meeting of CPO 1 and 7 on November 5. The county prepared maps showing three alternatives, indicating the pros and cons, and with estimated costs (see map and table below). On the maps at the meeting, Option 3 was labeled as the "Preferred Alternative."

Stephen Roberts says, “We anticipate that one component of the Transportation System Plan (TSP) update will be a staff recommendation on a preferred alignment for Saltzman Road.  Ultimately, the Board will pick the final alignment.  The outcome of this process is intended to remove this as a Study Area and identify the preferred solution in the TSP.

“Moving forward, the preferred solution can then be partially required as a condition of development approval, and/or compete for public funding for implementation.  At this time, there is no identified funding source for improvements to Saltzman.  

“We'll be getting the alignment alternatives up on the TSP site ( soon, and there is a tool to submit comments on the website.”

Saltzman Road – South of Bayonne Lane

When the southern end of Saltzman was improved several years ago, we were promised that the improvements would eventually extend at least to Thompson. There is very little land remaining to be developed in that area, so it's unlikely that it could be paid for by development. Here's what the county now proposes:

Bayonne Lane to Bauer Woods Drive

  • Project would extend the 3-lane improvement from Bauer Woods Drive to Bayonne Lane
  • Improvement is needed in addition to the improvements options north of Bayonne
  • Includes road widening with bike / ped facilities, drainage improvements, and landscaping
  • Cost includes right-of-way and engineering
  • Total project length: 1 mile.
  • Cost Estimate: $8,000,000.

This project is not currently included in any work plan or budget. We're not sure if it's likely to be included in the 2035 update.



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Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291
© 2013