American Planning Association names Lake Oswego neighborhood as one of the top 10 in nation

The American Planning Association named Lake Oswego's First Addition neighborhood as one of 10 top neighborhoods for 2007 through APA's Great Places in America program.

APA's Great Places exemplify exceptional character and highlight the role planners and planning play in creating communities of lasting value, according to the organization.

'The First Addition is a special place for many reasons,' said Lake Oswego Mayor Judie Hammerstad. 'Most important are the residents who are involved and who take the time to help make this a great place to live, work and play. They have created a quality neighborhood for residents today and are creating a legacy for those to come in the future.'

APA selected First Addition as one of 10 Great Neighborhoods in America for its dedication to community values and priorities, recognition of the neighborhood's past and a commitment to plan and create a high quality of life in the future.

One of the city's oldest neighborhoods, First Addition offers the best of what many communities seek - a small town atmosphere, services and shopping within walking distance, and a commitment to community-held values, according to Jane Heisler, Lake Oswego's director of public affairs.

'We're pleased to select FAN and recognize the residents' and area leaders' dedication to community priorities,' said APA Executive Director Paul Farmer. 'By calling attention to the quality of life here: The walkability, mixed use, housing variety, access to transit and all of the building blocks that make First Addition a functional and desirable place, we hope other neighborhoods from across the country will follow their example.'

The neighborhood was originally platted in 1888 to house workers of the Oregon Iron and Steel Company. Compact enough that everything is within easy walking distance, First Addition has a grocery store, adult community center, elementary school, library and park, multiple and single family dwellings, a fire station, post office, mixed use retail and three churches.

Residents and the city developed a neighborhood plan in 1996, which provides customized guidance on land use, building site design and capital improvements.

Some of the neighborhood's charm comes from its bungalows. But in recent years, as the housing market boomed and buyers wanted larger houses, many of those bungalows have been torn down and replaced with homes that are much larger.

'There has been a change in the type of infill going on in First Addition,' said Hammerstad, referring to larger homes that dominate small lots. 'People invest a lot in the land and they have the right to build a new house.'

'This is exactly why my family fell in love with this place, why we live and work here and want to stay in this neighborhood,' said Lisa Shaw-Ryan, neighborhood chair and resident. 'It has good bones, but the people who live and work here are what make it special.'

The nine other APA Great Neighborhoods for 2007 are: Catham Village Neighborhood, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Eastern Market Neighborhood, Washington, D.C.; Elmwood Village, Buffalo, N.Y.; Hillcrest, San Diego; North Beach, San Francisco; Old West Austin, Austin, Texas; Park Slope, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Pike Place Market neighborhood, Seattle; and West Urbana, Urbana, Ill.

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