Off-road vehicle rule dies in Dayton

The proposal perished Monday when a tie vote failed to move it forward.

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DAYTON -- A controversial proposal to allow off-road vehicles to travel on Dayton city streets died a quiet death Monday when the City Council failed to approve the first reading of the ordinance.

Because Mayor Craig George was absent, Council member Merle Jackson served as mayor pro tem, leaving six members to vote.

The vote ended in a tie, with Charlie Button, Jim Cooper and Terry Herrin voting yes, and Christine Broughton, Kathy Berg and Bill Graham voting no.

Although a large crowd attended the meeting, there was little comment prior to the vote, because Jackson asked that comment be restricted to new information or position change.

Because the Council did not approve the first reading, it will not move forward, City Clerk Trina Cole said this morning.

Earlier this year Columbia County commissioners passed an ordinance allowing ORVs to use Eckler Mountain and Maloney Mountain roads to access the Umatilla National Forest.

That ordinance is not directly affected by the city's decision, Commissioner Chuck Reeves said this morning. "If people can figure out a way to access it (the roads), and there are ways, they can utilize it," he said. ORV users can pay a parking fee on private land that is available, or use the snow park area to begin their rides, Reeves said.

The council unanimously approved an ordinance to borrow $65,000 from the cemetery endowment fund to pay for improvements in the alley between Clay and Main streets between First and Second streets. Part of the funds will also help pay for a pedestrian crossing safety enhancement for a new signal system at Main and Second streets.

The council took no action, meaning there were no objections to liquor license applications by the Touchet Valley Arts Council and the Dayton Historical Depot Society for a special occasion, and applications by Charles Cramer of Abacus Wine and Anne Higgins of Shell Service and Food Mart for liquor licenses.

Carrie Chicken can be reached at cec@innw.net or 522-5289.

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