Derailed

 

I was pleased to see “Derailed,” the piece on the Yamhelas Trail project (July 2021). Leah Sottile did a very nice job on the whole sad, sordid mess. It is mind-boggling how such a positive project, popular (except for a select few), could get derailed (pun intended) by said select few.

What is all the more exasperating is that there is such a need for off-street options for walking, bicycling and horseback riding. Bicycle trails are rare here, and the few that exist are not connected, forcing one to take the streets. Road cyclists use the wonderful, curvy, narrow but very busy roads around here, and it is dangerous. 

Another sad aspect is that the valid concerns of the adjacent landowners can be — and from all appearances — were going to be dealt with. This right-of-way is no different than all the roads around here, similarly adjacent to private property. There are no restrictions on any for agricultural or horticultural practices. I’ve been sprayed and dusted on several occasions, including while riding a road motorcycle. Just part of the deal. 

As Sottile pointed out, it has become far more than just a rails-to-trail project through some beautiful countryside. As with seemingly every possible issue in this country of late, it has turned into a political flashpoint. Sad.

Craig R. Busskohl
McMinnville, Oregon

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