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Bypass proposal draws little support in Washington County

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Rep. Richard Vial breaths new life into a long-sought-after proposal for a new highway west of the metro area.

A proposal to jumpstart the long-sought-after but elusive Westside Bypass highway has picked up a proponent in freshman lawmaker Rep. Richard Vial.State Rep. Richard Vial

But his proposal is meeting lukewarm support, or outright opposition, in Washington County, which lies at the heart of the ambitious scheme.

Vial is a Republican whose district includes Sherwood, King City and Tigard's River Terrace area. His House Bill 3231 would allow cities and counties to create a special district to do the planning, and to figure out the funding, for a new freeway that would loop around the west side of the Portland metro, taking traffic off Interstate 5 south of Portland and then reconnecting with a highway — perhaps Highway 26, north of Hillsboro and Forest Grove — somewhere in Washington County.

The bypass also could be the state's first toll-funding highway.

There is no map for the proposed highway, though Vial has said it could loop from Interstate 5 (heading south-to-north) and run roughly through the middle of Washington County, around Newberg and the Beaverton-Hillsboro area, before crossing the Columbia River into Clark County, Wash.



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