West Linn, Oregon City mayors push back against I-205 tolling plan

Two cities are joining forces to push back against the plan to create tolls on Interstate 205.
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 6:38 AM PST
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CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. (KPTV) - Two cities are joining forces to push back against the plan to create tolls on Interstate 205.

West Linn Mayor Rory Bialostosky and Oregon City Mayor Denyse McGriff say their cities’ questions to the Oregon Department of Transportation about the project have gone unanswered for years, and they say they can’t get on board until they get the information they’re asking for.

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Under the plan, drivers crossing the I-205 bridges over the Tualatin River and Willamette River would pay tolls. It would be all electronic, with cars still moving at highway speeds.

ODOT says the money raised would go toward other traffic improvement projects. City leaders wish that money would fund local projects, and they’re concerned people in West Linn and Oregon City will feel the brunt of the change.

“Everybody is going to be affected by this. Unfortunately, the biggest impact that is going to happen with this program is going to fall squarely on the communities of West Linn and Oregon City,” said Mayor McGriff.

“I think the key is that we’re frustrated with ODOT,” Mayor Bialostosky said. “They seem to be ignoring cities and our comments about mitigation and things like that. I have not been able to find a single instance where something has changed in the tolling plan as a result of local government comments.”

During Tuesday night’s meeting, local leaders talked about creating a coalition involving more cities to work on solutions. They talked about bringing in Gladstone, Milwaukie and Canby.

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Local leaders also discussed taking legal action, but said they didn’t know if that was possible.

Under the current plan, tolling could begin as early as next year.