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City acquires home on Furnace Street

Portion of the land will be used for trail
by: Vern Uyetake, This house at 392 Furnace St. recently became public property for $1.1 million. Lake Oswego bought the house to link the William Stafford Pathway from Roehr Park to George Rogers Park on its eastern border. The city plans to resell the house and upper portion of the lot.

The $1.1 million purchase of a Furnace Street home is putting the city of Lake Oswego one step closer to linking its riverside parks through a trail system.

The city recently purchased a three-level house at 392 Furnace St. on roughly an acre of land bordering the Willamette River.

While the house has its charms - the home is 2,864 square feet, has four bedrooms, two fireplaces and a soak tub - it's a slice of land on the property's eastern border that Lake Oswego will keep.

The land is part of a privately owned swath that currently separates the north end of the William Stafford Pathway, located at Roehr and Foothills parks, from the southern portion running through George Rogers Park and south to West Linn along Old River Road.

'The city has long had a desire to connect Roehr Park, through a pathway, with George Rogers Park,' said Doug Schmitz, city manager of Lake Oswego.

He said the city plans to retain the riverside portion of the Furnace Street lot for the trail but will resell the house and upper portion of the lot to a private owner.

The trail currently terminates north of George Rogers Park at the Riverbend condominiums. Last spring there were five private properties in the gap between the trail's continuation at Roehr Park. Now, there are four.

Schmitz said the city intends to buy each of those lots as they sell, shaving off land for the pathway on each, but will not force other owners there to participate.

'We're not going out and condemning the property. As they become available, we make offers,' he said. 'The ultimate goal is you'll be able to walk from Tryon Creek to West Linn along the Willamette River.'

Pacific Properties Search LLC currently has an option to redevelop the upper portion of the Furnace Street lot and has one year to buy the property from Lake Oswego and exercise its development rights. Building permits for a project there are pending.

'If they're successful and they get their permits, they will buy the property from the city,' Schmitz said.

The plan mimics the city's acquisition and resale of the Trueblood House, a Victorian home on Glenmorrie Terrace, which was resold to a private owner this summer.

The city originally purchased the house for $753,000 several years ago, then took a piece of land to carve a pathway from Highway 43 to the William Stafford Pathway on the south end of George Rogers Park. The house itself was resold for $300,000 this year, reimbursing the city parks fund.

Schmitz said funds for the purchase of the Furnace Street site came from a city fund for property acquisition, one he said is about the same size as the price tag for this last transaction.

He said it is too soon to say how much of the $1.1 million spent on the Furnace Street lot can be recouped through the sale of its upper portion but that a sale wasn't expected until Pacific Properties' redevelopment plans were reviewed.