Seventeen Miles in the heart of Oregon Wine Country

Yamhelas Westsider Trail Map

Latest News From the Trail

EPA Ordered to Ban Chemical at Heart of Trail/Agricultural Spraying Arguments

May 6, 2021

It looks likely the EPA will be banning one of the spray chemicals some hazelnut farmers cite as a reason they claim a trail can’t be adjacent to their orchards.

Last week a federal appeals court ordered the EPA to ban the use of Chlorpyrifos (aka Lorsban, Dursban, Yuma4E) on food crops, or come up with methods and proof it can be safely used within 60 days. California, Hawaii and New York have already banned the chemical, which studies show is linked to memory loss, autism and other disorders. One of the chemicals’ main suppliers has already announced it will stop making it.

At least one local farmer has pointed to application restrictions for Chlorpyrifos products as a reason a trail adjacent to his property would cause significant impacts to his farm practices. However, another local hazelnut farmer has pointed out in testimony to County Commissioners that the restrictions for this extremely toxic chemical are the same adjacent to roads or other properties, whether trail or not, and that there were inconsistencies in what farmers were telling the Land Use Board of Appeals about their application rates and how a trail nearby might impact their process. He also points out that Oregon State University recommends several alternatives to this chemical. See following article for this testimony.

More information on the ruling can be found here:

Testimony regarding claims of farm impacts

April 30,2020
Yamhill County Board of Commissioners and Planning Department
525 NE Fourth St
McMinnville, Ore. 97128

Dear Commissioners and Planners:

I am submitting written testimony for the public hearing schedule for April 30, 2020 regarding the LUBA remand of Board Order 19-94 (planning docket G-01-18).

I am a board member of the Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail, have submitted testimony previously, and am now presenting additional testimony.

My wife and I have been personally growing and harvesting filberts/hazelnuts in Yamhill County since 1992, on our 60 acre farm. We have also farmed wheat, vetch, oats, hay, Christmas Trees, and ornamental plants, on this farm, or on the farm my wife and I purchased in Washington County in the mid-eighties. My brothers and I recently sold our 160 acre family tree farm, which we co-managed for years.

I would like to address some of the inaccuracies that have surfaced concerning the Yamhelas Trail.

I recently read the statements of some of the farmers that say they will not be able to farm next to the trail.

This is far from the truth. If you farm next to a neighbor, or a road, you can farm next to a trail. There is absolutely NO difference! You must follow/maintain the same procedures/requirements no matter what is adjacent to your farm. You may have to modify a procedure to insure your safety and the safety of your neighbors, but there will be no significant change to farming practices.

Some of the farmers have said that litter and trash from the trail will contaminate hazelnut and blueberry crops. This is hogwash. If this was true all filbert/hazelnut and blueberry crops would be fenced; to keep out "litter and trash". Using their arguments, any crop next to a road would have to be fenced because any construction activity, or person walking/biking next to the crop would "contaminate" the crop. If this is true why aren't all blueberry and filbert crops fenced?! You will have to look long and hard to find one.

I have never felt the need to fence my filbert orchard. In the 28 years that I have farmed Hazelnuts, I have never received any directive telling me to keep my orchard clean or I "would be jeopardizing USDA food certification" But I have been told to insure that I minimize any debris in the nuts that I send to the wholesaler, or I might be charged a "dockage" fee. At any one time, I have elk, deer, bobcat, fox, coyote and bear in my orchard. I don't worry about them, or what they leave behind. I do not go out and sterilize the ground. I do go out and clean up debris each time prior to performing a spraying or mowing operation, or prior to harvesting.

My nuts are harvested after they fall to the ground. We run a sweeper and then a harvester through the orchard, and then take the nuts to the wholesaler. The first thing they do is wash and sterilize/dry the nuts, in the shell.

Litter and trash is picked up throughout the year. The nuts are cleaned and dried at the wholesaler. Contamination/ debris has never been a problem for me.

Another statement that I recently read concerned spraying; it stated that "spraying" of insecticides, fungicides and herbicides could not be performed on crops adjacent to the trail, because of "spray drift". The first thing that should be noted is that it is the ultimate responsibility of the sprayer is to ensure that his spray does not trespass….on anyone's property. When I spray my fields or orchards I cannot tell my neighbors that they cannot work on their property (and I have a neighbors house extremely close to my filbert orchard.) The neighbor could have a picnic on their property line. Or a party…or whatever. If my filbert trees are close enough to a property line that the spray could affect anything that any neighbor is doing, then I simply cannot spray, or I have to modify my usual spraying procedures to ensure that my neighbor, or anyone walking/ biking, etc on adjacent property remains safe. If you drive throughout Yamhill, Washington, or Clackamas County you will notice many filbert orchards come right up to the road, and may be 20 to 50 feet from the road. Many filbert farmers have orchards adjacent to County and State roads. How is that they can maintain safe spraying procedures, and the farmers next to the trail cannot?

For a filbert grower, or any other farmer, to say that he will be irreparably harmed, because his neighbor wants to utilize his own property, and then that grower expects LUBA to shut down the neighbor's use, just so the grower can trespass on the neighboring property, strikes me as totally insane. The chemical labels on the Lorsban and Yuma4E insecticides ( that can be sprayed on filbert orchards) expressly state: "Avoiding spray drift at the application site is the responsibility of the applicator".

The labels don’t say that your neighbor must evacuate the use of his property in order to accommodate the farmer doing the spraying. it makes no difference who the neighbor is, or how the neighbor wants to utilize his property. If Yamhill County wants to build a bridge, and they are working adjacent to the property line, no one can tell them: "sorry I want to trespass on your property, and you can't use it while I trespass".

Another inaccuracy about spraying was the statement that federal "Agricultural Exclusion Zone or AEZ requirements state that all spray applications must be suspended when "any "person comes within 100 feet of the spray operation"… (using Lorsban, Yuma 4E,Gramoxone, Parazon and similarly restrictive chemicals.)

That is not exactly true. Those AEZ requirements apply only to the property and workers of the agricultural enterprise. And per Dale L. Mitchell Pesticides Program Manager, Oregon Department of Agriculture

"OR-OSHA scope of enforcement is specifically directed to the protection of workers and the agricultural operation. While the Oregon WPS AEZ encompasses property beyond the boundaries of the agricultural operation, the enforcement of complaints/concerns or enforcement of the AEZ requirements off of the agricultural operation would be jointly evaluated to determine compliance with OR-OSHA WPS, Oregon Pesticide Control Law (ORS 634) and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Law (FIFRA).

All pesticide applications shall be performed in a manner that do not impact adjacent non-target sites (Roads, Trails, private property. etc. ). As required by the current Oregon AEZ requirements, when performing pesticide application activities adjacent to a public road or trail the applicator must take the following actions for compliance with the AEZ . 1) Suspend, pause the application 2) Evaluate the situation and conditions to determine if you can resume without impacting individuals or adjoining areas 3) Resume the application only you can continue without resulting in impact to individuals or adjoining sites/properties."

It should be noted that the operative word is "suspend", not "completely cease all activities." Evaluate and then resume is the operative function when spraying. Conditions constantly change, and the spray operator must be alert and compensate for any change in circumstances or environment.

By far the most glaring inaccuracy was the statement by Ben Van Dyke that he must use an application rate of "greater than 4 lbs per acre" when he sprays the insecticide Lorsban and/or Yuma 4E with a medium or course nozzle, and thus must maintain a "50 foot buffer from where I spray, " using his power blast sprayer in his filbert orchard.

Lorsban and Yuma 4E have the active ingredient Chlorpyrilos. Chlorpyrilos was outlawed by the EPA this year, but the Trump administration reversed that decision. (Oregon House Bill 4109, which would have outlawed it, failed as a result of the denial of quorum.)

I have never used either of these two chemicals in my orchard; they are just too toxic. Oregon State University Hazelnut Pest Guide lists over a dozen other recommended sprays that can be used in place of Chlorpyrilos. Chemicals that may even do a better job than Chlorpyrilos. Many are much less toxic. And this is why Oregon State Pest Guide ( states: "Rotate pesticides by mode of action (group); do not become reliant on a single group for control". It is only a matter of time before Chlorpyrilos is outlawed. Bio-controls (using beneficial insects to kill pests) are rapidly evolving. (see" Background info" below)

I am not a chemical expert, but my training has taught me that the chemical label is the "Bible". In fact, all "restricted use" chemicals (Lorsban and Yuma 4E, etc) can only be applied as per the label:

Each restricted use chemical label tells the sprayer what crop the spray/chemical is approved to be used on, exactly how much can be used, and in some cases, how many times it can be used.

If we look at the Yuma/Lorsban label we will see that it is approved for filberts, but ONLY 3-4 pounds (3-4 pints) per acre can be applied. If we look at the OSU Hazelnut Pest management guide, we can see that it says the same thing; only 3-4 pounds (3-4 pints) per acre, and……. that Chlorpyrifos can only be applied three times a year. NOTE: 1 pound =16 fluid ounces=1 pint

Now, Ben Van Dyke stated that he was applying Yuma4E/Lorsban at rate "greater than 4 lbs per acre with medium or course" spray. Applying greater than 4, is a violation of Federal law! *

But….. if he applied it at the lower end of the recommended amount (3 pints/pounds), he is only required to have a setback of 10 feet.

If he increases the amount to the maximum allowed by law (4 pints/pounds), he is only required to have a setback of 25 feet.

(See Yuma4E label setback info below:)

Viewing the amount of chemicals required to eliminate the pests it can be seen that a 10 foot setback is all that is really needed.

Another thing to note is that, per label, Chlorpyrifos spray is not allowed at the end of the rows: i.e. the applicator must only power blast spray into the orchard. Outward pointing nozzles MUST be shut off, per label (see Yuma4E label excerpts below).

One option to mitigate overspray on a neighbors property has an applicator shutting off his outward pointing nozzles, and then starting his spaying paralleling the rail right of way, and using the 20-50 plus feet of vacant area that is at the end of each orchard row ( There must be a vacant area on all edges of a field, allowing equipment to turn corners) Then no spray would enter the Yamhelas right-of-way, but would be blasted into the center of the orchard. The balance of the orchard could be sprayed normally. It would only take a few minutes to spray the edge of the orchard with all the outward nozzles shut off. When I spray the edges of my orchard, no matter what chemical I use, I always shut off my outward pointing nozzles. It is a simple way of keeping your spray on your property.

Another option, if the wind isn't cooperating or a toxic spray must be used; shut down the trail while the edges are being sprayed. Other trails shut down while a pesticide will be sprayed. We could make it quicker and easier by just spraying the first 100 feet adjacent to the ROW, and go over to the next two rows and do the next 100 feet. It might add 15 to 30 minutes to the total spray time to do an orchard. An inconvenience, but not a game stopper. The farmer can coordinate with the County. We know when we should be able to spray, and there are excellent aps with wind forecasts, which is what most farmers use.

Over the years at least four people have been killed riding bikes on Highway 47. This trail will eliminate that problem and become a tremendous asset for the Yamhill Valley, and its environs. It will be especially beneficial to the towns of Yamhill and Carlton; allowing the safe passage of children to and from the schools. There is no reason why this trail cannot be built. The trail will pose no significant change to farming practices. Everyone can be accommodated if we work together, and make a few changes. Yes, there will be a few inconveniences, but there is no reason to not develop the trail because we will be inconvenienced.

Thank you,

Stephen J. Wick
29250 NW Olson Rd
Gaston, Oregon 97119

*Mr. Van Dyke later amended his testimony to say he does not apply more than 4 lbs per acre

Yamhelas Westsider Trail County Update

April 26, 2021

At their last meeting County commissioners continued to discuss how to deal with grant repayment demands triggered by their decision to stop all work on the trail. They also discussed a slew of emails regarding the trail that were released through a public-records request, and have published those documents on the county’s website. Eventually they will also publish staff answers to commissioners’ questions on the topics.

In advance of the publishing of the records or any staff responses, there were accusations being thrown around purporting nefarious dealings within the County and in communications with our organization.

The big myth at the heart of these accusations is that the Land Use Board of Appeals and ODOT had declared the trail dead last year. This is false.

LUBA did not issue its most recent ruling until December 30, 2020. When it did, it refused to grant the opponents’ request to reverse (nullify) the County’s Conditional Use Permit decision for the trail, and specifically said that the trail is not legally prohibited. The rest of the ruling was split between items where it ruled in favor of the County, and items where the County would have to do more to prevent impacts on adjacent farms. LUBA expressly declined to kill the trail outright.

ODOT did express concern about the land use process and required the county to come up with a certain date the trail could open to the public. ODOT entered into negotiations with the county on this issue, and were willing to work with the county as long as they felt the County was pursuing the trail.

ODOT did not demand grant repayment until the BOC stopped the land use process this year.

The Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail is a non-profit organization that advocates for the development of multi-use trails that support the health, safety and connectivity of our community. We enthusiastically partner with entities whose mission matches ours.

The Yamhelas Westsider Trail project was born from a citizen-driven vision for the historic railroad corridor between McMinnville and Gaston. County Commissioners supported the idea, and the Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail non-profit group was created to be a cooperative partner in the project. We have remained partners through the past decade as subsequent county commissions have continued to support the project. This is the first county commission since the project started to have a majority in opposition to the trail.

Recently, the County reached out to the Friends to explore various ideas and options for stewardship of the railroad corridor for public use. We see this transportation corridor as an extremely important public asset that should be protected for the future needs of the county. After doing our due diligence we determined that it was not feasible for FYWT to lease or take ownership of any property.

We recognize the widespread community support for the Yamhelas Westsider Trail, and calls for developing this opportunity to enhance the health, safety, connectivity and economic vitality of Yamhill County citizens and communities. We believe this is the best use of this historic transportation corridor and this corridor presents the most realistic opportunity for a trail.

Oregon’s strong land use laws protect the balance of many different publicly beneficial land uses, and provide a road map for successful coexistence. We support continued conversations with opponents, especially adjacent landowners, to find solutions to issues they foresee, as has been done on countless trails around the state and country.

FYWT remains committed to our mission, to this trail and to the network of trails in our region.

2020 Annual Public Meeting

January 13, 2021

The Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail 2020 Annual Public Meeting took place on January 13th, 2021. We were able to hear from Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla on the current state and direction of the trail. Stephanie Noll from Oregon Trails Coalition, Robert Spurlock from Metro, and Larry Klimek from the Wapato National Wildlife Refuge also spoke about an exciting vision for a regional trails and parks system, and how the Yamhelas Westsider Trail fits in.

In case you missed the meeting, you can watch the full Public Meeting here.

County beginning Trail Master Plan

Nov. 14, 2020

We’re very excited that Yamhill County has begun the Master Plan for the trail! The county has contracted with Alta Planning and Design to draft the plan. Alta is a national leader in active transportation planning, design, engineering and education.

This Master Plan will answer many of the specific questions people have had about what the trail will look like, design of trailheads and trail crossings, estimated costs, and how adjacent landowners’ concerns will be addressed.

The process includes robust community engagemen, including a project website, open houses, and a Project Advisory Committee made up of governmental and private stakeholders, including adjacent landowners, school districts, user groups and emergency services.

Specifically, Adjacent Landowner Engagement is intended to establish collaboration and coordination with adjacent farm owners and operators in order to mitigate and minimize perceived and potential impacts to farming from use of the rail corridor as a trail.

The plan is being paid for by a $122,280 Transportation Growth Management Grant through ODOT. Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail provided $16,674 in matching funds, eliminating the need for the County to provide any cash outlay. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to FYWT and made this grant match possible!

Thank You to Extreme Terrain

May 13, 2020

The Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail gives a big Thank You to Extreme Terrain for the $250 grant award for purchase of trail-clearing equipment. You can learn more about Extreme Terrain here:

Ongoing trail maintenance is coordinated between the Friends and Yamhill County, beginning with the stretches of right-of-way inside of Carlton and moving north. Volunteers are utilized for this work.

What is Happening with the Trail Now

Feb. 11, 2020

Construction: With a focus on developing the stretch of the Trail between Yamhill and Carlton (about 3.5 miles), Yamhill County in 2018 was awarded a $75,000 grant from the OPRD Recreational Trail Program as supplemental bridge construction funding in this segment. In 2019, OBEC Engineering Consultants were awarded a contract to engineer the bridge over Stag Hollow Creek and 30% design and engineer for two additional tributaries. In January of 2020, an award was issued to Farline Bridge Inc. for construction of the Stag Hollow Creek bridge with work set to be done by May 2020.

Planning: Yamhill County has been awarded $122,000 for Master Planning through ODOT’s Transportation and Growth Management Program. Alta Planning and Design will guide this process. The master planning process will incorporate advisory committee meetings, public open-houses, presentations, one-on-one and small-group meetings with partners and constituent groups, and online surveys. This is expected to take 10 to 12 months.

Maintenance: The Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail have coordinated with Yamhill County to do ongoing maintenance on portions of the Trail, beginning with stretches of the right-of-way inside of Carlton and moving north. Volunteers are utilized for this work, with work parties expected to become a regular every other month occurrence. The Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail appreciate your support to make this dream a reality.

Don’t let hyperbolic critics stonewall trail opportunity

June 8, 2018

The NIMBY element is in high dudgeon over the proposed Yamhelas Westsider Trail. Among more strident partisans, the rhetoric outstrips all reason.

We respect principled and thoughtful opposition. But fears whipped up over the trail seem greatly exaggerated.

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Banks-Vernonia Trail: Community Concern to Local Asset

April 16, 2018

Tony Hyde, Former Mayor of Vernonia, Oregon tells the story of one of the most memorable community meetings he ever attended.

As Hyde recalls, one of the families who was strongly opposed to the trail is now a regular user of this recreation and transportation infrastructure that connects communities in in rural Washington and Columbia Counties.

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Friends of Yamhelas Westsider Trail (FYWT)
2018 Annual Meeting Summary

7pm, Jan. 10, 2018
Carlton Legion Hall

Yamhill County Commissioner Stan Primozich opened the meeting with an update on the project. The county acquired the twelve miles of Yamhelas Westsider Trail right-of-way (ROW) located in Yamhill County in early December. This is from Gun Club Road north to the northern Yamhill County border. He is now working with his counterparts in Washington County so that they can acquire the remaining 5 miles of ROW located in that County, which would be from the County line north to the Hagg Lake turnoff. The next steps include both developing a master plan for the trail, and also beginning implementation of the grant that will be used to design 3 bridges across streams found along the ROW, and the construct one bridge.

After the Commissioner's presentation, FYWT Board President Wayne Wiebke opened the business meeting. The Board announced a number of proposed changes to its bylaws and governing policies. Among the most significant items are a change in the mission of the FYWT from trail acquisition to focus on fund raising, trail advocacy, and later trail maintenance in cooperation with Yamhill County. Along with this change, the FYWT Committee structure will also be changed. The Marketing Committee will become the Communications Committee, still chaired by Linda Cline. In addition, a Volunteer Committee will be formed, headed by new FYWT Board member, Jack Schwab. These changes were presented to the FYWT voting Members and public present, and were approved. In addition, the membership dues from 2017 were proposed and approved to be continued in 2018 without changes. Finally, a 2018 budget was approved by the Members present.

Concept Presentation Plan

May 24, 2017

McMinnville Community Center
600 NE Evans Street

Curious about the plan? We’ll be sharing the results of a multi-year collaborative planning process. Presentation will be led by Dan Miller of the National Parks Service, Rivers, Trails & Conservation Program.

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Technical Assistant Grant Received From National Park Service

Apr 13, 2015

The National Park Service has awarded a technical assistance grant to Yamhill County to develop a conceptual plan for the Yamhelas Westsider Trail Project.

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Trail Idea Has Regional Appeal

Apr 13, 2015

Portland Tribune, January 7, 2015 - Recreationists, nature lovers, historians and safety advocates in the area might want to take a look at the accelerating plans to create a scenic trail that

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Supreme Court Ruling...How Will It Affect Our Trail?

Feb 19, 2014

Yamhill County Administrator Laura Tschabold said initial analysis suggests it would not affect the 17-mile, multiple-use Yamhelas Westsider Trail proposed in Yamhill County for a rail corridor owned by ...

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 Friends  exploring the future trail site.

ODOT Grant Awarded for Yamhelas Westsider Trail

May 31, 2013

In the fall of 2012, the Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail (FYWT) worked in conjuction with the Yamhill County Parks Department in submitting a grant application to the Oregon Department of ...

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