News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Commissioners deny road name change

A request to change the name of Stellmacher Drive southwest of Albany was rejected Tuesday, Dec. 5 by Linn County Commissioners Roger Nyquist, Sherrie Sprenger and Will Tucker.

Robert Clausen, who lives in a home on the road and whose family has a long history with the area, would like the name changed because in his opinion it is difficult to spell and no Stellmachers own property there anymore.

Clausen said he understands the historical value of keeping the name, but noted that his family played a big role in that local history as well, including rescuing a Stellmacher from flood waters by boat many years ago.

Clausen suggested names such as SW Starlight Drive, SW Moonlight Drive, SW Midnight Drive and SW Twilight Drive.

He said the road was known at one time as SW 30th, which would be his preferred new name.

County Roadmaster Wayne Mink said Linn County has not changed a road name in the 24 years he has worked here and according to county code, the primary reason to change a road name is for the “health, safety and well-being” of Linn County residents.

The county no longer names roads after families.

Mink said letters submitted to the county did not support the named change proposal. 

The common theme was there is no need for a name change and changing the name would lead to unnecessary confusion.

A name change would require considerable staff time to change databases at the Road Department and for the GIS (Geographic Information Systems) department, which would have to make changes on all county map systems.

GIS Director Steve Barnett said it could take from 18 to more than 30 months for mail and package delivery shippers to catch up with the new road name as well. 

It could take years for computer programs such as Google Maps, to make the appropriate changes because this is considered a rural area.

All of the commissioners agreed to deny the request, but Chairman Nyquist added that he believes the issue should have been settled before it got to the Board of Commissioners. Nyquist said the county code is clear on what would constitute an applicable name change.

Nyquist asked that county review its policy on this matter and suggested the county refund Clausen’s $355 application fee. Commissioners Sprenger and Tucker concurred.

In other business, the commissioners:

Announced there will be an Elected Officials meeting at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 6, at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center.

Approved an easement across John Neal Park for the Lyons-Mehama Water District, which is replacing an undersized and aging steel potable water reservoir on McCully Mountain.

Reappointed Trey Woods DO, Michael Kissell, Danny Freitag and John Tracy to the Ambulance Service Area Advisory Committee.

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