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A future vision offered for Milwaukie Avenue

by: Eric Norberg, Brooklyn Action Corps Board member, and previously PSU Masters candidate, Lance Lindahl, as he made the “Milwaukie Avenue Main Street Plan” presentation at the BAC General Meeting, at Sacred Heart Villa Hall, on Wednesday, July 26th.

S.E. Milwaukie Avenue can be a 'Main Street' for Brooklyn and an improved gateway to Westmoreland and Sellwood, according to a 'Milwaukie Avenue Main Street Plan' prepared at Portland State University by five Master of Urban and Regional Planning Candidates, and presented at the Brooklyn Action Corps General Meeting on July 26th.

There are things that must be done to bring about the vision, of course, and the study explained what they were. Presenting the study as a slide show at the meeting was Lance Lindahl, one of the five PSU graduate students behind the study, and as a resident of the Brooklyn neighborhood, a member of the Board of the Brooklyn Action Corps neighborhood association.

The five steps listed in the illustrated and detailed report were:

· Reconciliation of conflicting government plans for the street. Metro designated Milwaukie a 'main street' in its 2040 Growth Concept Plan, but the City of Portland has not recognized this vision for the street.

· Although there is considerable business along Milwaukie Avenue, from Center to Holgate existing commercial properties have been rezoned for residential use. A comprehensive zoning plan for Milwaukie Avenue in Brooklyn should address this problem in particular, which has led to empty and underutilized properties.

· 'Properties with frontage on Milwaukie Avenue should be developed with careful consideration for the historic nature of this [Brooklyn] district. . . The neighborhood should explore the adoption of a Main Street or Design Overlay Zone to ensure that new construction matches the character of the neighborhood'.

· The neighborhood and the city should work together to make Milwaukie Avenue 'more inviting for bicyclists and pedestrians'. The specific suggestion included a bike lane from Powell south to about Reedway in the Westmoreland neighborhood.

· Add 'green street' features, like street trees and stormwater treatment swales. Such additions can also 'act as a gateway feature to the neighborhood'.

The report seemed well received by the substantial group of Brooklyn residents gathered to hear it.

There was additional discussion about promoting greater cooperation with neighboring neighborhood associations in accomplishing goals like this--and goals such as finally obtaining the long-delayed and occasionally-endangered plan for Inner Southeast Light Rail, a transportation service which the BAC is on record as strongly favoring.