(First in a million-part series.)
A reader writes:
Any idea on what this pink stuff is over off of king salmon exit near the power plant? It looks very pink and very moldy?!
Took this photo yesterday.
The short answer is: No, your Lost Coast Outpost has no idea what that pink stuff is. But my bet is that one or more members of the Lost Coast Outpost community can crack the nut. Picture below!
Go to it, people! What is this pink stuff?
Humboldt County Superior Court Calendar: Tomorrow
No current incidents
The Oregonian: Last sawmill to close in Josephine Co. Oregon
This is part three of the Lost Coast Outpost’s three-part series on the Willits Bypass. While every effort was made to ensure this story is unbiased (both sides had the opportunity to rebut the other side,) it should be noted that reporter Kym Kemp’s father and grandfather worked for Caltrans and she is married to a Caltrans project manager.
Today’s focus will be on the reason to put in the bypass. Gary Hughes of EPIC will rebut the agency’s position.
FOR: Point 1. The bypass will improve interregional traffic (Through traffic will move past the town without running into multiple stoplights, etc.)
The pros and cons on this issue are at the heart of the controversy over the bypass.
Caltrans’ main reason for building the Willits Bypass is to improve through traffic. Caltrans officials point out that Hwy 101 narrows as it approaches the intersection with Hwy 20. This, as well as local traffic, driveways, stoplights, etc., causes delays. The current average travel time through the project is 18.3 minutes, according to this document hosted by the Mendocino Council of Governments. The document says that projected times for the same trip without the bypass by 2028 is 32.3 minutes. However, the current project will allow the same trip to be made in 9.4 minutes. The agency believes this is a significant improvement for through traffic.
However, Gary Hughes of EPIC believes that Caltrans’ central goal is flawed. Speeding through an area in a shorter time is not a value he shares. He writes:
I think this gets to one of the fundamental issues of reform of the agency, and a reform of the concept of Level of Service. […] For Caltrans, destinations do not exist. It is only about how fast you can drive past a place, never about what it means to be there or arrive there. Willits is a destination, and is a part of our North Coast community. What is the justification for an unnecessary four-lane highway to bypass the town where we eat lunch, do shopping, go to the bank, get online to get work done, make phone calls, play in the park and give our kids a break from the trip?
There are two more major issues that Caltrans argues provides support for the desire to put in the bypass.
FOR:Point 2.The bypass will improve air quality in the valley.
According to Caltrans, one of the valued side effects of building the bypass is improving the air quality in the Little Lake Valley. The agency points out that
…diesel truck exhaust is known to have an effect on health, and diesel trucks produce even higher levels of emissions in stop and go traffic. Because children’s lungs are still developing, they are at a greater risk for developing health problems related to diesel exhaust than are adults.
The Mendocino Air Quality Management district supports the bypass because of air quality issues. Bob Scaglione, Senior Air Quality Specialist and Acting Air pollution Control Officer, wrote:
The Air District supports and encourages the Willits Bypass project, primarily because of the benefit of the significant reduction in air contaminants from idling vehicles and their impact on the local community.
Diesel particulate emissions have been identified by the Air Resources Board as a Toxic Air Contaminant, capable of increasing risks to human health. One of the factors of concern to the District is the affect [sic] of idling vehicles, especially heavy on-road trucks. The nature and constituents of diesel exhaust change during the idling process, producing greater levels of NOx, Particulate, and CO emissions at idle than an engine at full load. Research information at ARB’s web site indicate that particulate at idling is produced in greater quantities at much finer particle size per cylinder cycle than a normally operating engine. This allows for the particles to stay airborne longer and impact a larger portion of the surrounding community.
However, Gary Hughes of EPIC disagrees vehemently. He writes,
This is pure greenwash with no real factual basis. Caltrans has never done a real greenhouse gas emissions (GGE) study concerning this project. There is no body of data developed by the agency to back this claim up. Some folks from the Air Resources Control board made a statement to this effect, but they have NO STUDIES specific to Willits around this issue. This is an unfounded statement. It also ignores the thousands of dump truck loads that will be necessary for construction of this project—by some estimates, it could take decades of reduced traffic in Willits …. to compensate for the air quality impacts of the construction itself.
Furthermore Hughes believes that there won’t be much reduced traffic in Willits anyway. He once again argues that Caltran