Public input sought at meeting on future of Highway 43
- Lori Hall
- West Linn Tidings - News
In an effort to shape West Linn's future growth and design, the city is seeking community input on how it sees the Highway 43/Willamette Falls Drive corridor developing in the next 20 to 30 years.
The city is hosting a workshop Sept. 29 to share information it has gathered so far and to receive more opinions, ideas and concerns from the community.
Back in February, when the West Linn City Council was setting its goals and priorities, members requested the city to work on a 'vision' for the corridor and its surrounding properties.
According to Planning Director John Sonnen, West Linn is under a lot of growing pressures in the next few years, including population and transportation increases.
'Changes are on our doorstep,' Sonnen said. 'The council wants to be in a position to act rather than react.'
In this visioning process, the city is hoping to gather as much community information as possible through a variety of means.
Some of the questions the city is asking on its website include: 'Should the property along the Willamette River between Bolton and Willamette be retained for industrial use or eventually redeveloped? Do you want to see a historic interpretive center with shops, restaurants and a hotel? A resident development? A park? Do you want to continue the pattern of strip commercial development along Highway 43, or do you want to provide for more concentrated development in mixed-use centers offering a variety of goods and services?'
This summer, city staff attended three neighborhood association meetings - Bolton-Sunset, Robinwood and Willamette - to talk about the corridor. A total of 41 people attended those meetings, according to Sonnen.
The city also has a wealth of information about the corridor and its impacts on its website, in addition to a survey for citizens and a map of the area where locations of concern or importance are highlighted.
'We are trying to reach people in different ways and get them to take a longer view,' Sonnen said.
So far, 155 residents have taken the survey. Of those, 94 percent think the corridor needs to be improved. The top issues of concern for Highway. 43 and Willamette Falls Drive were the high traffic volumes and congestion, lack of sidewalks and bike lanes and that it is unsafe for pedestrians.
The survey also asks about factors that influence where residents live, services they would like to see - such as mass transit or public transportation - pedestrian and bicycle safety, job opportunities and areas needing improvement.
Of the areas cited as needing the most improvement, the Robinwood commercial area was top on the list, with Highway 43 and the Bolton area/Central Village coming in second and third.
Areas on the survey residents want preserved include the historic Willamette commercial district, parks and open spaces and viewpoints along Willamette Falls Drive.
On the map, the city allowed residents to select areas they would like to see changed, improved or preserved.
So far, the city is seeing some trends forming. Residents are preferring concentrated areas of development; they want more amenities worth walking to and a broader variety of housing types.
'It's really up to the community,' Sonnen said. 'It gives people the opportunity to change course at this point.'
Sonnen said there was a lot of interest in developing the I-205 and Highway 43 interchange.
Other suggestions included a historic attraction, more lodging and improving the riverfront district.
'People are brainstorming. That's what this is about,' Sonnen said. 'This is the opportunity for people to consider what they want West Linn to be.'
After the community meeting, city staff and the city council will review all the information, working with consultants from Crandall Arambula. During this first phase, the city is hoping to identify needs, desires and barriers; name places the community wants preserved, enhanced or changed; discover the physical and regulatory constraints of the corridor; and develop design concepts.
If the council determines that the community wants significant change to the corridor, it can start planning for those amendments, which may include zoning changes, amendments to the comprehensive plan and design guidelines.
While the city is encouraging all ideas big and small, there are government and natural restrictions that may inhibit some concepts.
At the Sept. 29 meeting, city staff will give a brief presentation about what they have heard so far, the realities of the area, the typography of the land and the constraints. Then, small groups will be formed to generate ideas. Major themes will then be brought back to the larger group. Childcare and refreshments will be provided.
The Sept. 29 meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. in the commons at Rosemont Ridge Middle School, 20001 Salamo Road. For more information, contact Sara Javoronok at 503-722-5512, or [email protected]
noregon.gov or Zach Pelz at 503-723-2542, or [email protected]
linnoregon.gov. To take the survey, visit http://westlinnore