GRESHAM, OR-City and county officials and Albertson’s are at a turning point in their joint effort to transform a deadly triangle of roads into a rectangle of roads circumventing a new grocery store development.

US 26, Southeast Orient Drive and Palmquist Road form a stretch of streets said to have more severe accidents per mile traveled than any other area in Multnomah County. The plan is to remove some buildings, shorten one road and extend another to create a rectangle of roads around a new Albertson’s grocery store development. The city and the county are paying a total of $4.3 million for the project, or about half the cost. Albertson’s is footing the bill for the rest, including buying the land for the new street.

Nobody, however, wants to pay for relocating some previously unaccounted for underground utility pipes. Albertson’s wants the city to bear the $200,000 cost. The city says it’s all tapped out. The issue could kill the deal, according to one Albertson’s official, but talks are continuing. One partial solution being bandied about would be to lower the cost of the project by placing the utilities in the grocery store parking lot rather than under a city street, where they are normally located for access purposes.

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