REDMOND, OR -- When the Oregon Department of Transportation bought the Redmond Greenhouse earlier this year, rumors swirled around what the state wanted with the property along South Highway 97.
ODOT’s Peter Murphy tells KBND there aren't plans to do much with it, for now. "What we’re trying to do is gain control over who can enter onto, or exit, the highway. With the volume of traffic growing faster, exponentially almost, we’re trying to get control over the left turns that force motorists to cross over, not just the median, but two other lanes of traffic to get in and out of places." And, he says that danger will only increase as speeds are raised to 65 MPH next year.
"What we try to do is identify situations in which there's an opportunity to take that access out of the picture, which is what happened with the Redmond Greenhouse. It was for sale; we purchased it in order to control the access going in and out. You know, you have a greenhouse that has 'X' number of cars going in and out. Maybe someone puts a restaurant in there, and now you have three times 'X' going in and out. Again, that's inherently dangerous," Murphy says. "We’re not in a position to go out and buy all these chunks of property. There was a reason we bought that one, the greenhouse, because there was a frontage road already. So, when it extends to the greenhouse then we’ll get rid of [the property] and sell it to someone who doesn’t need the access that used to be there."
ODOT bought The Brand restaurant back in 2003, also to control the number of cars turning onto and off of the highway. Both the old restaurant lot and the Redmond Greenhouse now sit vacant south of Redmond.