McMinnville’s streets are a blank canvases and one resident says the situation is creating a dangerous journey for motorists.
“Street lines are disappearing all over town and the city isn’t replacing them,” said Bonnie Morris. “The situation is getting dangerous. I’ve been driving for Med-Ride for four years. I’ve witnessed many instances of near collisions, because the lines aren’t there and people don’t know where their lane is.”
McMinnville officials have allocated no funds for street lines.
“We don’t have money in the budget to stripe all the streets,” said McMinnville Public Works Department director Frank Southard. “There are some streets that probably need stripes, but we just don’t have money in the budget. I can only work with what I’m given.”
Morris says she started noticing the absence of street lines when the city repaved in her neighborhood.
“When they repaved Couch Street, they didn’t repaint the lines. I thought that was strange,” said Morris. “Then they repaved Mullican Street and didn’t paint the lines back on it either. When they did Hobson Street, they never painted its lines. On some streets the city hasn’t paved, you can see faint reminders of the lines. They are so faint they are practically useless.”
Morris recounted several near misses between motorists and at least one that could have resulted in a road rage incident, all stemming from the lack of street lines.
“South Spring Street, beside First National Bank, is a one-way street, but if you’re coming from East Colville, there’s a little section that is two-way traffic. You can come in from East Colville, but you have to immediately turn right to go into the Farmers Market and the back of the bank. All of that paint is gone, except for the white line where traffic is supposed to stop.”
On a turn from East Colville onto South Spring to do just that, she came face-to-face with an angry motorist.
“He had come down South Spring and was parked at the intersection of East Colville. He barely left enough room for me to get by him. He started screaming at me from his truck, telling me that it’s a one-way street. The center line that would have let him know that it’s a two-way street right there.”
Morris says that situation happened during the day. However, most situations have been at night and during times of inclement weather when visible lines are even more important.
“If the city lacks money to place lines on the street, why did they spend $10 million renovating the Civic Center?” asked Morris. “Motorist safety is far more important than recreation.”