Rain turns some roads into ‘sea of water and mud’

District 2 resident John Siebert came to the Marion County Commission meeting Monday to talk about the condition of Yarrow Road following the weekend?s soaking rain.

Siebert said the base of the road is ?disappearing in a sea of water and mud,? but his complaint wasn?t the only one commissioners had heard.

The three commissioners said they received many complaints over the weekend about roads becoming impassible, apparently due in part to a soft grade of gravel that grinds to powder under traffic.

Several patrons joined in saying the muddy conditions are the worst they?ve seen in their lifetimes.

From reports, rainfall varied from about 1 inch in the southern part of the county to about 2 inches in the northern part. But the weather stayed cloudy and cool, compounding drainage problems.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said it seems that sub-surface road bases that have built up over years by adding gravel simply have disappeared in the water left standing because ditches need cleaning.

Dallke questioned whether roads could be properly rebuilt without first removing inches of surface dirt.

Commissioner Dan Holub said a few roads, such as Remington, have withstood the water because they have been properly crowned and have adequate ditches.

Commission Chairman Roger Fleming said road graders will get in as soon as they can to work the roads, but more rain is forecast for the coming week.

Road and Bridge Director Randy Crawford said graders will do no good by simply pulling dirt with gravel turned to powder from the ditches back onto the road.

He agreed with Dallke that the surface of dirt with powdered rock now on the roadways needs to be stripped away and replaced with 2-inch gravel.

Crawford said part of the problem is that farmers are using bigger equipment and trucks that grind down the roads quicker.

The commissioners asked Crawford to check with farmers who might have erosion ditches or places they might fill in with old road dirt.

Crawford said many farmers might want to cooperate by having the county spread road dirt to be worked into the top soil of fields.

The commissioners asked Randy Frank, Emergency Management director, to investigate if Marion County might be eligible to receive federal disaster funds for roads because of the rain.

Other business

After a five-minute executive session for trade secrets with Diedre Serene, county health administrator, the commissioners said they have decided to make a proposal to St. Luke Hospital for lease of the former St. Luke Living Center as a county health department in lieu of repairs and upgrades to the building in downtown Marion.

Dallke said he favors locating the health department in a new county building in the future. Holub said such a building should be located in the courthouse square.

The commissioners approved a bid of $3,495 from Supreme Floors of Hillsboro for carpeting four flights of stairs in the courthouse over a competitive bid of $4,086.64 from The County Seat of Marion.

The commissioners met in three 10-minute executive sessions to evaluate Teresa Huffman, economic development director; Gayla Ratz?laff, coordinator for the Department on Aging; and Frank.

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