by: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN Brix Paving began the first phase of returning Main Street to two-way traffic last week.

The first of several planned projects focused on downtown Oregon City has gone out to bid and will continue through summer.

Last year the city was awarded about $2.4 million in federal and state funding for infrastructure improvement projects focused on making downtown Oregon City more pedestrian and visitor friendly.

This summer, contractors will begin work on the first phase of a multi-phase, multi-year project that could ultimately culminate in more than $4 million in investments on Main Street between 5th and 15th streets.

The first phase of the project, beginning this month, includes returning Main Street to two-way traffic. This will be followed by pedestrian-scale changes to the intersection of 10th and Main Streets.

'Our 166-year-old downtown is ready for these improvement projects,' said Nancy Kraushaar, city engineer and director of public works. 'We're taking the next step in revitalizing downtown Oregon City.'

The next step of this multi-phase downtown improvement project will occur between 5th and 10th streets with the replacement of worn-out sidewalks, curbs and cross walks, as well as the installation of new energy-efficient streetlights.

'Improvements to downtown Oregon City's pedestrian-scale infrastructure will have a positive impact that reinforces the idea that in downtown Oregon City people take priority,' said Lloyd Purdy, director of the nonprofit Main Street Oregon City. 'Unique small businesses flourish when the downtown marketplace is pedestrian friendly. Downtown Oregon City can continue to evolve into a fully mixed-use neighborhood when the streetscape design and vehicle circulation improvements are implemented.'

City staff will present downtown project details on Thursday, Aug. 25, at 9 a.m. at the Caufield House, 723 Main St.

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