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US Banks about to come down

by: Macleod Reckord, 
Replacing the old US Bank on South State Street, Lakewood Park will feature a pergola that can be used for meetings by the public.

Demolition of the US Bank on North State Street should begin next month, setting the stage for development of a city waterfront park.

The bank has been empty since last fall, with the exception of the Lake Oswego Rowing Club Foundation, which has used the upstairs portion.

The new park, tentatively called Oswego Lakefront Park, will use all of the former bank property. The city's redevelopment agency, LORA, bought the bank property, at 120 N. State St., about seven years ago for $2.25 million.

The park will cost $2 to $3 million.

Bob Galante, the city's redevelopment director, said the park will have several uses.

Visitors will be able to take in views of the Lakewood Bay and watch boats pull in and out of docks. A promenade will feature lamp posts, benches and a railing at the water's edge.

'Lawn sitting areas will be tipped gently toward the lake,' said Galante.

In contrast with the hard surfaces of Millennium Plaza Park, Lakefront Park will have 'a softer, landscaped feel,' he said.

Trees near State Street will block the noise from traffic, but the canopy will be high enough that it won't block views of the bay. There won't be a public swimming area, he said.

A low stone wall along the State Street sidewalk will mark the eastern edge of the park.

At the south side of the park will be a pergola that will run the east-west width of the park. It can be used for meetings and shelter.

Parking will be at the north side of the park.

The Seattle landscape architecture firm MacLeod Reckord design has reached the schematic design phase. Galante said the city council must still approve a contract with MacLeod Reckord to complete design. The firm also designed Millennium Plaza Park.

The city is not pursuing purchase of the Lakeshore Inn, he said. 'We will work (with the hotel) in sharing access to a small parking lot,' he said.

Before demolishing the US Bank, the city fire department might do some training exercises on the building, Galante said.