This is the second part of a discussion about the proposed Foothills project.
What about the Tryon Creek Sewage Treatment Plant?
The city of Lake Oswego and the development team are working closely with the city of Portland, which owns the treatment plant. The Foothills plan recommends that the plant remain in its current location, but given the plant's age - it is well over 50 years old - there will need to be improvements made to the plant over time so that it can continue to function. For example, the plant's headworks are exposed and aging, and reinvestment will be necessary. When the headworks are reconstructed, they can be designed in a way as to eliminate a significant odor source at the plant. As these necessary improvements are made, they will be done in a manner that makes the plant a good neighbor to adjacent uses like Foothills Park, Tryon Cove Park, Oswego Pointe Condos, and future Foothills development.
What about sensitive lands?
The area is already fully developed for industrial uses, apartments or retail, and there are no sensitive lands in the district that are proposed to be redeveloped. Foothills Park (reclaimed from the old chip plant) provides an excellent amenity for future residents and acts as a natural buffer between new development and the river.
Is this streetcar a necessary part of the Foothills plan? What happens if the streetcar is not built?
The development team has noted that the planning work currently under way is necessary regardless whether the streetcar is built. However, they have also pointed out that the proposed development would be quite different without the streetcar, becoming more auto-oriented with increased parking and traffic impacts, and that it would be much more difficult to meet the city's stated desire for a pedestrian-oriented neighborhood connecting downtown to the river.
How big will the buildings be, and what will they look like?
You may have seen some of the sketches of proposed development in Foothills. On average, there will be five to six story buildings that sit below the height of downtown development by taking advantage of changes in grade. The design of these buildings will be driven by design standards that are meant to create a unique Lake Oswego neighborhood, and not merely be transplants of buildings from other cities or developments. The development team expects that there will be a variety of building styles and types that create an interesting district and meet Lake Oswego's high design standards.
When will all this happen?
The Foothills plan will be completed early this fall, and will go through planning commissions and city council for approval. The development team is currently meeting with interested groups to receive input on the plan, and will continue to seek input as the plan progresses. Given recent financial news, it is important to take steps to generate economic growth in our community as soon as possible. If city council approves the plan and puts appropriate financing mechanisms in place, it is possible that the initial industrial phase of the property could be ready for development within the next two years.
I would encourage citizens of Lake Oswego to continue to ask for and receive accurate information on Foothills, and to participate in the planning process.
Robert LeChevallier, Lake Oswego, is chair of Keep Lake Oswego Great.