Semi-truck parking still OK in Stanfield

<p><strong>Semi-trucks fill up the Pilot truck stop near Stanfield Friday afternoon. The Stanfield City Council is exploring its options for regulating semi-truck parking on certain city streets.</strong></p>

Semi-truck drivers will not be banned from parking their rigs on Stanfield streets, after all.

Following testimony from various semi-truck drivers Tuesday night, the Stanfield City Council agreed an alternative solution should be found.

Leading up to the meeting, several community members complained to the city about noise stemming from refrigeration units on the trailers of semi-trucks, as well as safety issues related to people seeing around tractor-trailors when pulling out of their driveways on Coe Avenue and into traffic. At its previous meeting, the council pondered banning semi-truck parking on Coe Avenue and Highway 395, which are the only streets that trucks are able to park because of weight restrictions on other streets.

On Tuesday, more than a dozen residents, who are either truck drivers or who have family members who are truck drivers in the community, told the council how banning semi-truck parking on city streets would create a hardship for them.

Stanfield resident Julie McBean said she and her husband specifically purchased a house in Stanfield because they would be able to park their truck in front of their house on Coe Avenue.

“We bought the house on Coe street so that it would be convenient,” she said. “It would be an extreme hardship on my husband if he had to find a parking place when he has an opportunity to come home.”

McBean said her husband’s only other option is to park at the Pilot truck stop and gas station, which rarely has open spaces. Plus, she would have to pick him up from the truck stop to take him home.

“Walking is not an option,” she said. “(Highway) 395 through town can be very busy before it drops down supposedly to 30 miles an hour through the city.”

Stanfield resident Don Morgan agreed banning truck parking would create a hardship. He said the tractor of his semi is the only vehicle he owns to get around, and parking at Pilot is not viable.

“You cannot find parking out there at the truck stop,” he said. “That place is packed by 6 o’clock at night.”

Morgan said he would also have to figure out how to get all of his gear home and back to his truck if he parked at Pilot.

“I’d have to try and take all of my food, my gear and walk home,” he said. “It is two miles from the truck stop. Then, the next day when I get ready to leave, I’d have to pack all that stuff back down there. You are talking several hours for me walking down there. We don’t have the sidewalks that make it safe for us to walk over there.”

During the last council meeting, members asked City Manager Blair Larsen to look into possible alternatives for semi-truck parking. Tuesday, he said semi-truck parking at Pilot is, at best, limited.

“They have 120 spaces, and they are full most of the time from 3 p.m. until 6 a.m.,” he said. “Their average occupancy is about 95 percent of capacity, so they are up there pretty high.”

Larsen said he also checked into using a piece of state-owned property on East Locust Street for truck parking, but he has not received a response.

He said a man who is building a truck repair shop northwest of Pilot told him his business, when open, might be another consideration.

“There will be additional parking constructed there, but that is kind of in the future,” he said. “I don’t know exactly how long that will be.”

Larsen said city officials did not intend to ban truck parking everywhere within the city, just on Coe Avenue. He said people would still be able to park on their own property, including in their driveways.

After hearing from the people who would be affected by the ban, council members agreed they should keep exploring other solutions that would benefit everyone, including possibly a residents-only lot where Stanfield resident truck drivers could park their vehicles at night.

Truck drivers at the meeting also appeared open to the idea posed by council members of only allowing semi-truck tractors to be parked on city streets, and not the trailer.

“Our yard is in Hermiston,” Morgan said. “I could very easily drop my trailer there and then bobtail back, but if I’m coming in late, a lot of times I don’t want to go into Hermiston and spend the 15 to 20 minutes dropping my trailer and then come back, but that is very doable.”

McBean said her husband never brings his trailer home.

“Our company provides secure lots for us so we just bring our tractor home,” she said.

Larsen said he liked the idea as it would solve part of the noise problem and the safety issue as people can see around a tractor more easily than they can a tractor and trailer.

“That might be a middle ground,” he said. “That is a possibility.”

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