CORBETT, Ore. – A new gate near Multnomah Falls installed to help avoid traffic issues may be causing more problems than it’s fixing.
Oregon Department of Transportation crews installed the gate at the parking lot for the popular waterfall, right off of Interstate 84.
Before the gate was installed, ODOT officials said the lot would fill up, then traffic would back up onto I-84, causing traffic problems.
Background: I-84 parking changes at Multnomah Falls
Now, the gate closes when the lot is full. And that’s causing big issues for some drivers.
Tamara Reid was driving along I-84 over Memorial Day weekend when she said cars in front of her abruptly stopped, trying to get into the lot when the gate was down.
“We had to slam on our brakes to come to a complete stop in the middle of the freeway,” Reid said. “There was traffic coming up around the curve behind us and darting into the slow lane … we had nowhere to go.”
Reid said she was driving with her grandson and couldn’t help but think about how bad the situation could have been.
“I was totally freaked out,” she said.
Right now, reader boards in Portland and at Benson Lake tell drivers when the gate is down an the lot is full. But Reid said there should be more of a warning.
Officials said transportation crews are keeping a close eye on the situation, but they aren’t planning to make any changes at this point.
Multnomah County sheriff’s deputies said they are aware of the problems and patrolling the area to make sure drivers aren’t backing up into the interstate, waiting for the gate to open. Anyone caught doing so will be given a ticket.
KGW Reporters Ashley Korslien and Joe Smith contributed to this report.