CAVE JUNCTION, Ore. (AP) - About 30 residents of White School Road - or is it White Schoolhouse Road? -are petitioning Josephine County to change the road’s official name.
The Josephine County Board of Commissioners has asked its Public Works Department to help make the change. The road is located east of Cave Junction.
“The saga,” Public Works Director Rob Brandes said, when asked about the matter. “The saga of White Schoolhouse Road.”
Officially, according to county documents going back 100 years, it’s White School Road, although road signs, Google and even the Josephine County Street Guide carry different spellings.
“White School Road (no ‘House’) was formally established in 1916,” Brandes said.
But for some reason, for decades people have called it by its other name, White Schoolhouse Road.
“I don’t know how or when the disconnect started happening,” Brandes said.
At any rate, it was maybe 15 years ago that the county changed a hodgepodge of signs along the road to all carry the name White School Road, although a state sign at the intersection with Caves Highway remained White Schoolhouse Road.
Despite the discrepancy, all seemed well enough until several weeks ago, when Brandes, acting on concerns that there might be confusion, especially with emergency services getting to where they need to go, asked the state to bring the highway sign into conformity with the other signs on the road.
The Oregon Department of Transportation, acting promptly, then changed the sign at the highway to read White School Road.
“They got it up, and we started hearing rumbling within a week,” Brandes said. “No good deed goes unpunished.”
Shortly thereafter, a petition found its way to the Board of Commissioners.
“The residents of ‘White Schoolhouse Rd.’ are signing this petition to have our road signs returned,” it read. “We want the newly installed signs (White School rd.) removed. We have residents that remember this road being named White Schoolhouse Rd. for over sixty-five years and the records indicate this fact way beyond that date.”
Ken and Linda Hoback were among the residents living along the road who endorsed the petition.
“I’ve been using White Schoolhouse Road for a long time,” Ken told the Daily Courier.
He said that one neighbor apparently had a UPS package go astray because of confusion over the road’s name.
“The driver was new and didn’t realize the road went by two names - or three,” he said.
The Hobacks have lived on the road for nearly 50 years, and say it’s named after a former school located along the Caves Highway. White School Road loops to intersect with the highway twice, once to the east and once to the west, with the school at the east intersection, at the intersection’s southeast corner.
“It was just a little school for the local kids,” Ken said. “It’s been remodeled into a home.”
Despite the differing spellings of the road’s name, Ken said mail delivery hasn’t been a problem, as letters arrive with various spellings.
“I get ‘em all different ways,” he said. “I’ve been known to leave ‘house’ out when there’s not room on one line.”
Various sources spell the name differently. Linda Hoback said her voting precinct card reads White School Road. In contrast, Google Maps lists the name as White School House Road. And the Josephine County Street Guide, 2012-13 edition, lists the name as White Schoolhouse Road.
Inconsistencies in the spelling of some street names are not unusual. For example, a number of maps and residents refer to “Southside Road” in the Murphy area, but street signs on the road itself say “South Side Road.”
Brandes said the White School Road name was officially recorded with the county in “Volume 47, Page 77, Deed Volume,” and that Assessor’s Office records for the 60-some properties along the road list the name as White School Road.
Any change in that official name will have to go through a formal process, with notices sent to area residents.
“We will work with planning to get them the formal application,” Brandes said. “It includes public notice. It’s not a small undertaking.”
A $1,500 application fee usually is charged for name changes, but Brandes said commissioners might waive that.
“The signs themselves are cheap,” he said. “It’s just going to take a couple hours to put them up.”
Information from: Daily Courier, https://www.thedailycourier.com
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.