Truth about the Yamhelas Westsider Trail: Concerns, Solutions, and Links

Concerns about the proposed trail

Many people have tried to voice concerns about this proposal at Yamhelas meetings which have resulted in one message: “Come see me in private afterwards.” leaving our concerns unanswered. An open microphone is never offered. When people finally become bold enough to request to speak, the conversation is quickly quelled with “we’ll answer your questions when we break up in small groups”. Why no public hearings?

We would like our concerns to be mitigated, and feel shut-down.  This website is a place to respectfully and publicly discuss our concerns. Not all people are opposed to the trail, but all are opposed to this style of meetings and treatment towards people with valid concerns.


Email us at or message the Facebook page stopthetrail.


Can Mr. Primovich elaborate on the economic boom for the county? How many parents would let their child ride or walk from Yamhill to Carlton to go to school? Why not private ownership of the trail? As a taxpayer I don’t want to subsidize a homeless campground and a place for tweakers to hang out and get high. I am willing to bet none of the trail organizers have land bordering the trail or live near it so they won’t be effected by trail crime or issues. All taxpayers should be concerned about this project will require a constant influx of tax money with no end in sight.


1. What if the Exclusive Farm Use (EFU) zone requirements cannot be mitigated after the Ag-Impact study, as was the case in Benton County? And they had to give the money back? Then we would be stuck with having paid for the land?

2. The path would not go directly to Yamhill, but by Fruithill at Hwy 240, which is not in Yamhill. How few Y-C students would really use this?

3. Safety? There have been only two bicycle deaths on the Mac-Gaston stretch of Hwy 47: one near Wilcox Drilling in 2014, and one near Carlton around 1988, unless someone can show another.

4. ODOT (under “ConnectOregon”) is paying the two-million-dollar purchase price and being told that the Legal Process requirements are being met when they are not: There has been no official public hearings where minutes are recorded and mitigation documented; 2nd: the Agricultural-impact study has been excluded from the feasibility study.

5. Connecting McMinnville to Cornelius Phase 2: the homeless will camp in all pockets of woods and barns on private property, as they do now to farms at Cornelius.

6. The Banks-Vernonia trail has caused stolen irrigation pipe, stolen tractor batteries, naked activity in the crops we EAT, horse-riding tresspass, lots of lost dogs, and broken car windows. This is in mostly forest, that starts 9 miles in the boonies from the nearest anything.

7. Listen to audio here where Starrett requests a legally required public hearing under ORS 215.296, and Primozich’s and Springer’s strident reactions. Begins at 0:50:30.


Dear Bicyclists: The Yamhelas Friends group has been working to construct a bicycle trail from McMinnville to Forest Grove for the last three years. I was in a private meeting September 6th between Yamhill County and Farm Bureau. This included county lawyers Todd Sadlo, Christian Boenisch, and county planners Laura Tschabold and Ken Friday to discuss agricultural mitigation process under Oregon law ORS 215.296. It began antagonistically with the phrase “then just sue us” from the county lawyer Sadlo. But as we put our papers away to leave, they broke the news. There won’t be a bike path. It is simply a land-planning move for a future commuter light-rail to get workers to Washington County they said. This is quote “only hypothetically a bicycle path”, said Sadlo. The county has no plans on how to use this property repeated Boenisch about ten times, as if to imply something, and once purchased it could be used for solar panels, said Ken Friday.
I was flabbergasted. I had been asking Yamhill County Commissioner Primozich for a feasibility study for some time but never suspected this.
ODOT has a waiting list of other cyclist projects that are “construction-ready” but being pushed back for lack of funding. If you are a cyclist, equine rider, or trail user, and this concerns you, then please contact ODOT’s OTC board member Tammy Baney, and politely request that she stop Yamhill County officials from compromising the Yamhelas trail by their lack of due-process and wasting ConnectOregon funds.


The Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development has spoken with Yamhill County Planner Ken Friday, explaining that the county needs to amend their TSP (Transportation plan) to include an agricultural-impact study and public comment period, OR the do a Conditional-Use Permit and include the ag-impact study and public hearing. Both have been neglected.  Ken Friday denies this. Stan Primozich says that he does not know if Yamhelas needs an ag-impact study or not, “we will do whatever the law requires” even though its been explained to him be Oregon Farm Bureau and to Ken Friday by the DLCD.

Sept. 8th, 2016 A.D.  James Tomkins from the Sprinkwater trail in Portland testifies before the Yamhill County Commission. He begins at minute 33:43.  Commission Mtg Sept. 8, 2016

Sept. 6th, 2016 A.D.  The county insisted that it will purchase the land first, plan later- pulling permits 2nd only “if the law requires” they said.  They refused to answer if the law requires a permit or not, or an ag-impact study.  BUT Clearly the DLCDC has specified so.  This is Exclusive-Farm-Use-80 land.  They said that purchasing this land is really about preserving the tract for a future railway use as a county commuter line to get worker-citizens to Washington County, and that its not illegal for them to purchase the tract before doing the planning and deciding on how it will be used.  They said that in the mean time it could be used for anything, such as solar panels, grazing, and “only hypothetically a bicycle path.”  “That path would be crossed later” they said. No pun was intended.

Sept. 1st, 2016 A.D.  The ODOT’s OTC vowed to contribute more than a million dollars to build a bridge and two culverts between Yamhill and Carlton last month.  Ken Wright and Stan Primozich both hold voting seats on this board as Yamhill County’s representatives.  Both managed to keep these public hearings surreptitiously for the past three years.  The board was a bit surprised to hear that there was opposition to this path, and that the agriculture permits have not been pulled yet, even after three years of planning.   Even in the TSP (transportation system plan), there should have been an agriculture-impact study permit pulled called a “conditional-use permit.”


People are concerned about unleashed dogs harassing cattle, drug users from McMinnville snooping in unsecured adjacent barns and storage buildings that are isolated and stealing anything metal, or setting livestock hay on fire. Some barns are literally 5 feet or less from this path. Some are concerned about people taking selfies petting cows, as the Yamhelas Friends Charette people did in their promotional video on the county website, or feeding them. How will cows cross between the two pastures on each side of the trail without having an attendant? What about spray buffers and restrictions to hazelnut orchards or lawsuits from people who trespass and get themselves into trouble in a litigous-happy society? Or about safety, drawing cyclists to the area an onto the roadways?




  1. Is this meant to be a community trail for the Y-C school area, or is it meant for tourists?
  2. Why are we told that the land-use-change hearings required by Oregon law won’t occur until after the railroad land is purchased.  Isn’t that lying to ODOT, saying that its all planned out? Here is what the DLCDC of Oregon  has to say.
  1. What if I spray roundup on my property adjacent to the proposed trail?
  2. What crimes statistics are there on these types of trails?
  3. Why is this costing millions of dollars from ODOT?
  4. Adjacent residents: We are concerned about vandalism and trespassers, and people who do not respect private property.  Adjacent landowners believe the trail would be an invasion on their privacy rights and would eliminate the serenity and peacefulness of the country living they have enjoyed for so many years.  Access and isolation and the keys to crime. Will this trail be lined with bushes and brush? There are about two dozen homes in close proximity to this RR grade and several isolated un-secured storage bulidings. Some are within feet of the RR grade.
  5. Fire is of increased concern in the summer. Fires have occurred from cigarettes thrown out of car windows on Hwy 47 in dry grass.  Much of the land is dry wheat or grass-seed stubble in the summer, unlike the Banks-Vernonia trail, which is between a highway and Dairy Creek much of the way, and forest the rest.
  6. On the chemical jug of some sprays it says “Federal Law prohibits use near recreational parks.” Under Agriculture Zoning Laws (ORS 215.203 and ORS 30.930 to 30.947), uses that conflict with the EFU zoning are prohibited.  People on foot moving slowly eating blackberries and walking dogs without a lease will be exposing themselves to strange smells, and dust.  Agriculture is the county’s greatest source of revenue.  This would set up agricultural conflicts, just waiting to happen.
  7. There are concerns about the growing debt and financial commitments at every level: city, county, state, and even federal.  Debts never bring good tidings. What amount of debt, or other financial burden will this bring onto Yamhill County, and what projects are being pushed back to fund this?
  8. Will adjacent property values suffer?
  9. There is the Banks-Vernonia bicycle trail, the I-205 bicycle trail, and the Springwater bicycle trail.  What do the issues of adjacent landowners and Police records have to teach us here?
  10. Transient population:  There is a large population of homeless, many drug users, who tend to take up residence in brushy areas along roads.  Many live the in the brush-rows of Cornelius and McMinnvile.  Will they live on this trail when it connects to McMinnville to Cornelius, as planned?
  11. What will be the tax revenue loss from the sale of railroad property to the county?
  12. What about all the 23 wrecks in the last two years at Gun Club/tracks trailhead crossing?
  13. Will this attract cyclists to our area? Is that safe given our 55 MPH zones?
  14.  Would this trail be classified as a Park? or as a road? This effects spray laws.

March 9, 2016: News: Yamhelas Continues to Forest Grove, Cornelius


R1. This will be open to the local citizens, but its purpose is to promote tourism in Yamhill county.

R2. The ODOT’s OTC vowed to contribute more than a million dollars to build a bridge and two culverts between Yamhill and Carlton as of August 2016.  The owner of the Train Depot Winery and Stan Primozich both hold voting seats on this board as Yamhill County’s representatives.  Both managed to keep these public hearings a secret for the past three years.  The board was a bit surprised in September 2016 to hear that there was opposition to this path, and that the agriculture permits have not been pulled yet, even after three years of planning.   Even in the TSP (transportation system plan), there should have been an agriculture-impact study permit pulled called a “conditional-use permit”.

R3. A federal agent said to call him at the Federal Department of Parks and Forestry for permission to post a sign closing down the trail while you spray roundup. A new ODA rule, going into effect Jan 1 of 2017, will require a 100 foot spray buffer around people.

R4. The path will be wide enough for police cars. However see the 436 crimes documented below at R12.  The Banks-Vernonia 911 calls for the 2015-2016 have been mostly trail users calling 911 for help looking for their lost dogs.

R5.  The land would have to be purchased from the Railroad, then many culverts, fences, bridges, backfill, assfault, small trettles, and parking lots need to be constructed. Yamhelas application for ODOT treasury Yamhelas application for ODOT bridge-construction funding-4-11-16

Despite Oregon State’s funding deficit and PERS crisis, about $1000 million have been set aside for non-automobile transportation projects over the past 6 years of its existance, with 45 million for 2016.  The fund is called “Connect Oregon funds” and is managed by the “MWACT” board, of which each county has two voting members to represent the county citizens.  They currently are Ken Wright, representing the Private Sector citizens, and Stan Primozich, a commissioner.


R6. No. Fences provide privacy in town, but in the country a fence cannot provide that kind of privacy. Many adjacent resident have private crossing easements to access their property, making private property unfencable to both sides of the trail. A locked gate has been proposed. Gates are easy to climb and annoying to have to open and close all the time. Strangers wander onto private property all the time. This posses great risk. In particular the phrase “attractive nuisance” is of legal consequence. An unseen tile-sink-hole in the middle of a field, a ram, bull, or herd of livestock with horns, an old treehouse, old barn full of storage, a fallen barbed-wire fence buried in the mud, combines and trucks stored overnight during harvest, coyote control devices, hunters, are all concerns.  Home burglaries and elder attacks are of concern.



R9. Some people think that debt is equal to slavery.  How in-debt are we already? How much grant funding is the county already relying on for just regular operating costs?


R11.  Property values would be effected to the extent that privacy is eradicated, or that uses such as farming practices are impeded. If a home on a piece of property is near the RR grade and away from the public road, then this trail would slow down its monetary appreciation.

R12.  See the 436 crimes document below.

Trail Crimes USA 1

Trail Crimes USA 2

Trail Crimes USA 3

Trail Crimes USA 4

Trail Crimes USA 5

Trail Crimes USA 6

Trail Crimes USA 7

Trail Crimes USA 8

R13. Tourism.

R14. Its a beautiful trail to ride.  The organizers were busy suing for land that they did not own, and eventually had to buy after they lost the lawsuits at taxpayers expense, unfortunately.  So it finally was finished in 2010. There have been stolen batteries out of farmer’s tractors, stolen aluminum irrigation pipe, and uninvited horse-ridding across farm fields, and one surprise of finding a naked girl whose guy had run off.  The Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation has not consistently maintained the brush that encroaches onto adjacent owners on the edges.  One resident reported that he pruned a 6″ tree growing though the fence and was cited for “damaging state scenery”  The citation was later dropped because the farmer had a contract with the State to keep it pruned themselves that he was able to make when he sold them the land.   When the RR was using the land, it always kept the encroaching growth in order.  Banks-Vernonia Bike Path


R16. No.


R18. Right now railroads all pay their taxes through one federal office because they traverse so many counties. That office then cuts one check for all of the occupying rail-lines’ taxes in each county. Yes, Yamhill County would loose tax revenue.

R19. If people get in accidents, the county can correct the problems as they arise.  Right now ODOT is looking to spend 45 million of ODOT “Connect Oregon” funds.


R21. Ken Wright says that it will NOT be a park.  However Lyell Gardner, President of Friends of Yamhelas, stated in an ODOT application  for funding published Feb. 1, 2016 that it will be a park.  The project was being managed by the Federal and county Parks departments but now the Train Depot winery’s bicycle path is being managed by the Yamhill Parks and Recreation department. If its a park then it would be illegal, because then modern farming methods become illegal on the adjacent properties, violating the EFU zoning.  This is EFU-80 zoned land under the RR bed.

Solutions go here.
If you have an idea or are one of many county citezens who are concerned, please send an email here:

This push-back is occurring in many places around the country:


KATU-March 21,2016-sexual-assault-springwater-bike-trail April 15, 2016 18, 2016

Springwater tentsites of HOMELESS


Appalachian Trail Testimony


Failure of State Rails To Trails in Other instances

March 20, 2016 Gresham bike Trail-sexual-assault-on-springwater-corridor, KPTV (video KATU at top)

National Association of Reversionary Property Owners .fight-over-unofficial-trails-in-southwest-flares-up-again

BicyclistsEventTrashLocalsYardBendOregon -working-with-opposition-and-neighbors

Any new roads built or widened must now have bike lanes, says Oregon Electees.

We need to weigh the benefits of this proposal with its cost. And we need to have OPEN debate, not “come see me afterwards and we’ll talk.” This page is an effort to talk in public. These meetings tend to have more employees and “Friends of Yamhelas” then local land-owners. Why is that? This website is not aimed at opposing the trail outright, it is rather meant to be a place where citizens of this great nation can perform our public duty of seeing if there is a problem here, and taking action if there is a problem.

Please use the email address below if you have a question or comment that you would like incorporated into this website.  We are all people, no matter what our opinion is.  Thank you


News & Updates

  • Public concern for trail proposal

    Many people have tried to voice concerns about a proposal to use Public Treasury monies to purchase and build 17 miles of bicycle path through EFU lands, and private backyards.  Public meetings have resulted in one message: “Come see me in private afterwards.” leaving our concerns unanswered.

    We would like our concerns to be heard, and feel shut-down.  This is a place to respectfully and publicly voice concerns.


A special thanks is owed to all those in the middle of this project, especially county employees, who promote public discussion, and are not afraid of the truth, whatever it may be.  Thank you.

The Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth, so help us God.