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Construction on 80-mile trail will start in three years in Banks after successful environmental study

COURTESY PHOTO - The Salmonberry Trail will span from Banks to the Oregon Coast, built atop old railroad lines. Construction of the 84-mile Salmonberry Trail from Washington County to the Oregon Coast is expected to begin in about three years and will likely start in Banks, according to Dennis Wiley, Salmonberry Trail project manager.

More specific planning will start on the Willamette Valley segment early in 2018, Wiley said, bringing property owners, businesses owners and local government officials together for committee meetings.

Wiley, an employee of the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation, gave an update at the Salmonberry Trail Intergovernmental Agency annual board meeting Tuesday, Oct. 3, in Tillamook.

An environmental study turned out better than trail planners expected, he said, revealing that soil along the trail route, which was once home to active railroad lines, has about the same level of contamination as any average area and there were no hazardous materials found, Wiley said.

Planners were prepared for much higher contamination levels, he said.

Tests revealed low levels of certain heavy metals, oil residue and chemicals from creosote-soaked railroad ties, but not at a level that requires remediation. Trail construction will top the soil with dirt, gravel and/or pavement so will cap and contain any contamination, Wiley said.

The next meeting will focus more on the Willamette Valley segment of the trail and will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, at the Banks Fire Station, 13430 N.W. Main St.

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