Many Oregonians know and love Mt. Angel’s downtown – for the old German clock, the rowdy fun during Oktoberfest and the old-fashioned feel of this small, quaint community. You can visit the Benedictine Sisters Sequoia, planted in 1893 and now towering over the Queen of Angels Monastery, or you can look up toward the Mount Angel Abbey, watching out over town from a nearby bluff.
Less visible are residential streets that will soon be getting some much-needed updates, thanks to the successful applications Public Utility Lead Allen Dahlberg and team have submitted to the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Small City Allotment program.
“I’m not a grant writer – far from it – but it’s just an application and it’s super easy,” Dahlberg said. “The program wants details, why you think it’s good and why you need it. You tell them how it will benefit the public.”
Mt. Angel is two-for-two in its efforts with the Small City Allotment program, one that came out of the 2017 historic transportation package, Keep Oregon Moving. The city has received the maximum amount of $100,000 each time.
Dahlberg said he mainly looks for projects that bring safety benefits – to multiple users. The first project, on Franklin and John streets, is now in design stage. It includes new ADA accessible curb ramps, wider streets to allow bike lanes and repairs to often impassable sidewalks. One nearby resident uses a wheelchair and has to travel out on the gravel road, avoiding potholes, just to get where he needs to go. That will soon change.
The second project, along Railroad Avenue, will fix some old concrete and asphalt road material.
“We’ll be able to help traffic move safely along there,” Dahlberg said.
Work like this supports the state’s efforts to build a modern transportation system, one of three priorities in ODOT’s Strategic Action Plan. It also improves safety and mobility and supports active transportation options.
Dahlberg noted that fixing local roads will improve the environment around town during some very important times. Twice during the summer – as September draws near and the town prepares to welcome up to 350,000 visitors for Oktoberfest – the city has to control dust that arises from the poor roads.
“We’re just trying to make it better for everyone.”