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Second Street vision isnt shared by all

by: Prell & Morton Development, 
470 Second St. will be a mix of residential, office and retail.

Drew Prell has a vision for 470 Second St.

The city of Lake Oswego also has a vision for the block that Prell's new development will be on.

Prell plans a small, mid-block building that will have retail, office space and two apartments. It will be named 470 Second Street.

Development of 470 Second was planned to coincide with the city's redevelopment plan for Second Street between A and B avenues. That plan would include brick sidewalks, planters and new streetlights - similar to the changes made to First Street between A and B avenues.

But the city would also like to add angled parking - similar to First Street - and eliminate head-in parking owned by businesses on the west side of the street.

The proposed angled parking change has not been warmly received by the business owners on the west side of Second and without their approval, it appears that the city's redevelopment plans for the block are on hold.

Heather Chrisman, who owns Chrisman's Picture Frame and Gallery next door to the proposed development, said the city's plan to eliminate her building's off-street parking would mean losing spaces in front of her store and building.

Chrisman's five spaces would be converted into landscaping. The same would happen with Graham's Stationery and the Lake Oswego Review/West Linn Tidings parking.

Chrisman said losing the parking spots would affect the eight employees who work in her building, and could hurt business because there would be fewer parking spaces.

In addition to the framing business, the building's tenants are Massage by Crystal and Resource Managment Assoc-iates. The massage business has additional parking on the west side of the building, off the alley. That is also true with the Review/Tidings' building and Graham's, which each have five or six spaces in front and back.

Chrisman said she is not against the development.

'I think it's exciting to think there will be more people living downtown,' she said.

But she doesn't like the idea of losing parking. She said the city should research the possibility of building a public parking garage at the southwest corner of First Street and B Avenue.

Bob Galante, the city's redevelopment director, said the city had been planning the redevelopment of Second Street before Prell's proposal for 470 Second St. came along. He said the city code requires three parking spaces in front of 470 Second. To fit three spaces, cars would have to park at an angle, he said.

Galante said the property owners on Second Street have not been enthusiastic about losing their parking spaces. The cost to the city for improving Second would be about $800,000.

'As it turns out, not everybody would like to participate,' he said.

He added that the city can't force property owners to convert their parking lots to landscaping.

Paul Graham, owner of Graham's Stationery, said the proposed parking design is 'counterintuitive.'

As proposed, the street would have diagonal parking on the west side and parallel parking on the east side. Cars that turn off A Avenue and wish to angle park at a business on the west side of the street would have to make a tight U-turn. They could turn onto Third Street off A Avenue and go around the block, but that would mean an extra step for drivers.

'We've been doing it this way for 44 years and it has worked,' said Graham. 'There is not a real high safety concern. We are not having accidents (between cars and pedestrians) on this street.'

Galante said the removal of head-in parking on the west side of Second is designed to make things safer.

Prell's development would have retail on the Second Street side, office space on the second floor (accessed from the alley) and apartments on the third floor.

He said the design and construction will be high quality, with some elements mimicking Lake View Village building design. Prell said it is the type of development that makes sense for downtown Lake Oswego because is maximizes the use of a smaller property.

The 6,000-square-foot lot is tight, and the building would be closer to the street than most buildings on the block.

'Everybody on that street should understand that re-doing it is for the overall good of Lake Oswego,' said Prell. 'It's not that much of a sacrifice in terms of parking.'

At a meeting earlier this month, Galante and property owners such as Graham looked over the proposal. Graham said he and other owners conveyed their disapproval of the angled parking idea.

Galante said last week that the owners 'raised a number of questions and wanted us to go out and get answers before we consider future actions.'

He said the city won't abandon the idea of angled parking on Second Street, but it may be a decade before that happens. Prell, according to Galante, could still develop his property on Second, but would require an exception if there is parallel parking in front of it.

Prell said he plans to begin construction in January and the building will be completed in September.

Graham said he's not against the type of angled parking seen on First Street.

'As a model for the future, I think that's a direction we need to be heading. But at this point, none of the property owners are chomping at the bit to do that.'