Ponderosa Ridge Updates
Ponderosa Ridge is a 85 acre development project adjacent to the Skyline West neighborhood between Ponderosa Avenue and the fire station on 53rd St. The developer is the Holt Group of Vancouver, WA. 52 acres will be be used for 274 lots for a mix of townhouses, duplexes and detached single family homes. 33 acres will be left for open green space along the existing bike path connecting to Martin Luther King Jr. Park. NW Ponderosa Avenue will be upgraded and NW Fair Oaks Dr. will be extended from Skyline West to connect to 53rd St
Approval by the City Council was given Nov. 6, 2017. Work on the project is slated to begin in the spring of 2019.
This site will be updated periodically with notices about the project.
June 3, 2023: Schematic of Phase 2 of Ponderosa Ridge and Concept Sketch of the re-built Fair Oaks Extension (presented at 2023 SWNA Annual Meeting)
July 29, 2020: Neighborhood meeting to discuss sidewalk on Fair Oaks
The builder has scheduled a required neighborhood meeting to discuss their proposed change in the location of the side walk along Fair Oaks by Foothill Dr. before submitting it to the City. Here is a link to their notice and map of the area being discussed. AKS Engineering says that,
"The purpose of this online meeting is to provide a forum for surrounding property owners/residents to review and discuss the project before the application is submitted to the City. This meeting will give you the opportunity to share any special information about the property involved. We will attempt to answer questions that may be relevant..."
This meeting is to take place on Wednesday, July 29, at 6 PM as an on-line Zoom meeting. You must register ahead of time to be invited to the meeting by Zoom. Install the Zoom app on your computer and pre-register at https://www.aks-eng.com/ponderosa-ridge/. Here is a link to their instructions.
June, 2020: Noise abatement wall.
A noise abatement wall is going up along Ponderosa Avenue. SWNA has asked about this wall. It is part of the 1995 plan approved by the city and can't be changed without reopening the whole plan to review. The city is aware that this process inhibits changes in plans as the times change, but has not come up with a solution. Meanwhile the erection of a 6 ft masonry wall goes ahead. This has several purposes: to block noise, add privacy, keep kids and pets out of the street... Future plantings other than blackberries should make the appearance more appealing.
April, 2020: Ponderosa Avenue reopened.
Ponderosa Avenue has reopened to traffic. There will be partial lane closures from time to time and continued use by construction vehicles, so expect occasional delays. The Fair Oaks extension will remain open for the time being, but is slated to be closed and revamped later in the project.
September 12, 2019: Safety Measures being implemented on Fair Oaks.
The Ponderosa Ridge development team sent out this communique about safety measures being implemented on Fair Oaks Dr.:
"Here’s an update about safety features:
• Flashing caution lights will be installed on Walnut to alert drivers nearing the Fair Oaks intersection to slow down.
• Safety barrels will be installed along Fair Oaks.
• Reflective white vertical markers at the roadway edge are being installed on Fair Oaks.
• The center line of Fair Oaks will be marked with yellow lane indicators.
• A white fog line will be added to Fair Oaks. This work is dependent on weather and subcontractor availability.
On Monday and Tuesday next week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., informational coordinators will be available to answer questions at both the east and west ends of Ponderosa Ave. Going forward, traffic flaggers on Ponderosa Ave. will offer clear directions to motorists who require local access to Covey Run, Deer Run and 60th St. There will be no cut-through traffic for the neighborhood to the west. Those vehicles will need to use Fair Oaks.
Road construction is inconvenient. We appreciate your concerns about accessing your homes, as we improve NW Ponderosa Ave. We’ve worked to accommodate your concerns and ask for your patience and understanding as we make improvements that you will be able to enjoy for years to come."
September 6, 2019: City will use Fair Oaks to plow snow on Skyline West streets
The Safety Committee inquired about snow plowing in Skyline West this winter. Mary Steckel, Public Works Director, responded,
"(The city) would plan to use Fair Oaks to plow Skyline West streets in a snow event. We would do this in accordance with our Snow and Ice Response Plan that prioritizes the response efforts based on the type of event. I only add this because neighborhood streets throughout the city have a lower priority than main thoroughfares, transit routes, and the street to the hospital.
If the snow event is such that we can't make it up Fair Oaks, we have already talked with the developer about a Plan B, which would be to reopen Ponderosa for enough time to let our plows through."
August 24, 2019: Ponderosa Ave. to close on September 16 for 6 months.
The developer sent a mailing stating that Ponderosa Ave. is expected to close in mid-September after the Fair Oaks extension is paved, passes city inspection and is opened. Ponderosa Ave. will likely remain closed for 6 months. The bike path is expected to reopen the week of September 9.
July 8, 2019: New stop signs coming to Skyline West.
Announcement about new stop signs being installed in Skyline West from the Roads Committee,
"...future changes to traffic in Skyline West have increased concerns about road safety. You will recall that we conducted a neighborhood survey and many of you identified intersections that currently present hazards. Following that, at our request, the City of Corvallis completed a traffic study of Skyline West and highlighted the need for improved visibility in a number of places, as well as the need to add markings at many intersections. Resulting roadside vegetation removal by the City and Skyline West residents has improved visibility and walkability along our roads. The study also recommended installation of stop signs at many intersections within Skyline West to reduce speeds and accident risks. The City's work has been done with the support and consultation from the Skyline West Roads and Safety Committees.
In the coming weeks, installation of the stop signs will commence, with Corvallis Public Works crews installing posts and signs at most of the currently unmarked intersections:
In related traffic work, Public Works has already installed reflectors on the Ponderosa Ave mid-stripe at the Ponderosa Ave-Royal Oaks Dr intersection, in an attempt to reduce the number of drivers who cut the turn from Ponderosa to Royal Oaks too sharply They are also working on getting necessary approvals to relocate the 35 mph sign just past that intersection heading east to a point east of the 20 mph curve in the road."
June 16, 2019: Safety and Roads Committees raise concerns about the new intersection.
The chair of the Roads Committee David Brooks wrote to the city about concerns with the timing of construction of the new intersection at Fair Oaks and Walnut. He wrote,
"We are not convinced that the traffic study did a complete job assessing the Fair Oaks / Walnut intersection. In addition, we disagree with your understanding of a key conclusion of the study. Therefore we continue to urge the city to review and revise construction plans for this intersection.
Regarding your understanding of a key conclusion: the study concludes that a northbound left turn lane on Walnut is warranted “in conjunction with Ponderosa Ridge Phase 2 site occupancy and/or extension of the NW Fair Oaks Drive between NW Walnut Boulevard and its existing terminus to the west (whichever occurs first).” This is summarized in bullet point #4 in the cover memo and supported by the analysis in Appendix L.
Your assertion that left turn lanes on either Walnut or Fair Oaks are not required prior to construction of Ponderosa Ridge Phase 2 is inconsistent with the findings. The study clearly concludes that the turn lane is necessary as soon as the intersection is functioning.
Regarding the incomplete job of the study: we are not convinced that the study recognized a number of factors that make Fair Oaks / Walnut an inherently dangerous intersection. Two issues we do not see considered in the study:
1) At the intersection with Fair Oaks, Walnut Boulevard traffic is traveling at 45 mph (all other intersections in the study have maximum 35 mph speed limits); and during the temporary phase the majority of morning traffic exiting Fair Oaks will be turning left (across southbound traffic that is speeding up)—creating especially hazardous conditions.
2) During any period of long delays on Ponderosa and during the closure of Ponderosa all of Skyline West traffic will exit through Fair Oaks. The volume of resulting traffic will be greater by a factor of 5 as compared to any of the existing, un-signalled intersections with Walnut.
The approach you propose (responding to concerns once the temporary connection is made and the intersection is operational) is likely to put residents of Skyline West—and traffic on Walnut Boulevard—at considerable risk. We remain convinced that, in addition to the left turn lane for northbound traffic, a traffic light is the appropriate and necessary traffic control measure at this intersection. If a traffic light is not feasible at this time, a left-turn lane from Fair Oaks is necessary to reduce delays at the intersection. In addition, the 45 mph speed zone should be moved south in order to make this a 35 mph intersection.
Skyline West Roads Committee Chair
June 14, 2019: John Krochta offers a historical perspective on the approval process,
"A development plan for the land, currently being drastically sculpted by the Ponderosa Ridge developer, was approved in 1996. The development was then called SunCrest, and it was to occur in 4 phases. The first 2 phases were carried out within several years of the 1996 approval, but the development stopped short of phases 3 and 4.
More than 2 decades later, the undeveloped SunCrest land was purchased by the developer of the current Ponderosa Ridge. The on-going development of Ponderosa Ridge 1 and eventual development of Ponderosa Ridge 2 are modifications of the original SunCrest 3 and 4.
The surprising element of the approval of the development plan for Ponderosa Ridge 1 and 2 is that it was allowed to proceed under the SunCrest approvals of 1996, rather than having to start over again to gain approval from the Corvallis Community Development Department, Planning Commission and City Council, in light of current rules, regulations and norms. The City Attorney made this judgement from interpretation of City Code, an interpretation that was questioned by many Skyline West residents who gave testimonies on the interpretation, as well as on concerns about environmental, traffic safety and other impacts, to the Planning Commission and City Council."
June 12, 2019: intermittent lane blockage on Ponderosa.
Intermittent blockage of a lane of Ponderosa Ave. by large trucks has been reported to the Safety Committee. John Krochta, Safety Chair, has been in touch with Kham Slater, inspector with the City of Corvallis. He has been on-site and is working with the builders to minimize disruption of traffic flow. His comment was, "traffic concerns on Ponderosa are going to be a challenge that the contractor is going to need to stay on top of – we will keep reminding them and monitor when we are out there. But input from local residents is appreciated, let us know of any ongoing problems."
May 10, 2019: e-mail about clearing along the bike path.
"You may be wondering about the clearing that has been going on close to the multi-use path that extends from MLK Park to Ponderosa Ave. We inquired about this with the Community Development Department and learned the following:
* The clearing satisfies part of the “minimum 25 ft firebreak” required around the perimeter of the Ponderosa Ridge development.
* Unfortunately, part of the firebreak crosses into the riparian area along Lamprey Creek.
* City Staff have been coordinating with crews to minimize disturbance at stream crossings, and crews have been using hand clearing rather than equipment in sensitive areas.
* Root systems are being left intact to prevent an erosion control issue. There will be ongoing inspections during rain events as the project proceeds. If a problem is identified, the contractor will be asked to address it.
* City Staff will be monitoring protected areas along with other drainages and wet areas during Ponderosa Ridge construction.
* The City inspectors appreciate having our additional eyes on the ground as the project proceeds. If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know, and I’ll forward them to our contacts in the Community Development Department."
Skyline West Safety Committee, Chair
May 1, 2019: construction on the Fair Oaks extension begun.
April 16, 2019: E-mail from the Safety Committee to Skyline West residents:
"Hello Skyline West Residents,
Construction on the Ponderosa Ridge development will begin soon. The Skyline West Neighborhood Association (SWNA) Roads and Safety Committees have been monitoring the situation through regular contact with the City. We continue to be concerned about the impact of the development on our neighborhood, including its effect on Skyline West traffic and our safety in case of an emergency. The following is the most recent information we have received regarding timing, sequence and safety precautions.
Start of work on the Fair Oaks Drive connection is presently scheduled for the end of April, with completion of an interim, paved Fair Oaks Drive connection in September. (The recent rainy weather may delay the schedule.)
Start of work on the Ponderosa Ridge property south of Ponderosa Ave will be started in early May. The developer is required to leave both lanes of Ponderosa Ave open for traffic until Fair Oaks Drive has two useable lanes. (The recent rainy weather may also delay this schedule.)
Until completion of the interim Fair Oaks Drive, both lanes of the existing Ponderosa Drive will always be open to traffic during construction activities south of Ponderosa Ave. Work on reconstructing Ponderosa Ave (leveling, widening, bike lane, sidewalk) will not begin until the completion of the interim, paved Fair Oaks Drive connection. A permanent Fair Oaks Drive will be completed later.
The Corvallis Fire Department has required fire breaks at the perimeters of Ponderosa Ridge property, to limit movement of any fire into adjacent neighborhoods. (A detailed description of the fire breaks is attached.)
The construction site is required to have fire extinguishers at all times. In addition, the construction site will have a water truck to keep the site wet for dust control. The truck will be at the site either continually or alternating with other site(s).
Additional information on construction plans, including the City’s answers to a number of our questions, will be posted on the SWNA website https://skylinewest.org/. We will continue to stay in contact with the City about the Ponderosa Ridge development, and we will send updates as new information is available."
SWNA Roads Committee, Chair
SWNA Safety Committee, Chair
April 16, 2019: Questions to Paul Bilotta, Corvallis Community Development Director, about the Ponderosa Ridge development and his answers about what constitutes interference with traffic on Ponderosa, firebreaks, etc. Read more
Feb 2, 2019: from the City of Corvallis
"Secondary Access to Fair Oaks Prior to Ponderosa Construction-
A secondary access via NW Fair Oaks to Skyline West shall be established prior to initiating construction on NW Ponderosa Avenue. This secondary access shall be a minimum 20-foot paved section with 3-foot gravel shoulders. Two lane access via Fair Oaks or Ponderosa shall be maintained at all times, unless otherwise approved by the Fire Marshall."
From the Ponderosa Ridge website:
The Fair Oaks connection project received its permits in fall 2018, and pre-construction work is beginning in spring 2019 and construction in June. Developers have hired AKS Engineering & Forestry LLC. Needed tree removal has been approved by the City. The project will augment and protect more than six acres of riparian habitat. This includes planting more than 8,500 native trees and shrubs to offset tree removal. In addition, a fire break of 12 feet will be created around the property to address wildland fire protection.