Concerns are shared over plans
- Whitney Tolar
- Lake Oswego Review - News
Plans for a new urban renewal and revitalization project called the North Anchor Project are in the works in Lake Oswego.
Though the plans are far from solidified, city council members are excited about the possibility of a new and bigger library, parking structure and apartment complexes that will be built on B Avenue if and when construction for the NAP begins.
However, their excitement is not matched by some local business owners at the intersection of B Avenue and First Street who are now faced with the possibility of relocation.
Some of those impacted by the tentative revitalization and relocation plans weighed in about their views on the building project plans.
'The city of Lake Oswego has been very good to me,' Upper Crust Bakery owner Alice Seeger said, 'but I'm not sure this is the kind of development that fits with this community.'
Seeger, whose bakery is at 41 B Ave., explained that she has attended multiple council meetings addressing the North Anchor Project and has seen drawings of the development plans, and is not exactly impressed.
At one meeting, Seeger recalls a council member saying that the city is 'not interested in local 'mom and pop places'' because the hours are not conducive to the downtown atmosphere the city is aiming for.
For understandable reasons, Seeger found this comment particularly offensive.
Some of her additional concerns about the project involve the location in general, for safety and traffic reasons.
'A library is somewhere people bring their kids,' Seeger said, expressing her concern about the block's busy intersection. 'I think the current location is much better. Plus, there are plenty of vacant properties they could acquire further up on B.'
Despite her thoughts about the project, Seeger ultimately concluded, 'It's not in my hands.'
Careful not to jump to any conclusions before plans are finalized, neighboring tenants had little to say about the North Anchor Project.
Some tenants, such as the owner of Julie's Travel Desk at 525 First St., said they didn't know enough about the project to comment on the situation.
Others seemed nervous that their opinions about the project would come off as offensive to the city.
Vicky Davies, co-owner of Gourmet Productions at 39 B Ave., simply stated, 'it's a delicate subject for us,' adding that while her company does not feel comfortable fully expressing its opinions on the project at this time, 'the city has been very open about the whole thing.'
Though unease about relocation is spreading amongst tenants on that block of B Avenue, representatives from the city are urging those business owners to stay put and wait for informational notices from the city.
Jane Blackstone, city of Lake Oswego economic development manager, pled with tenants, 'please don't move, we need to assemble the site and figure out what the footprint of the NAP will be.'
In other words, until plans are finalized, the city cannot say for sure who will need to be relocated or not. However, if tenants relocate themselves before the city has a chance to determine this, those businesses could miss out on the potential benefits - including possible financial assistance - of being relocated by the city.
The city currently is updating its relocation policy and none of the North Anchor plans are solidified, Blackstone noted.