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Artists renderings reveal possibility for downtown's main street

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - An artist's rendering for future of downtown Troutdale.As development is scheduled to move forward in Troutdale, artist renderings reveal citizens’ and the city’s desire for a downtown that blends tourism and community living.

A few months ago, a workshop was held and community members were asked to draw with colored markers their vision for downtown Troutdale.

Individual visions were shared with others’ visions, common elements were extracted, and a larger picture for what Troutdale should look like was shared.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the workshop’s promoter, Jim Waddell, a retired civil engineer, came back to present seven artist renderings and vignettes of the community’s vision.

Waddell said the drawings are in no sense exact designs or plans, but are meant to characterize the feeling or sense of Troutdale’s future downtown.

“We’re not worried about money right now; this is about what’s possible,” said Waddell, who has done this sort of workshop with 50 other towns and tribes, including John Day, Echo and Mosier in Oregon.

One rendering, a colorful cartoon-like drawing, showed the corner of East Historic Columbia River Highway and Southeast Dora Street busy with cyclists, local and visiting shoppers and artisans coming in an out of a variety of shops — flowers, cheese and bread, fish, produce, a cafe and gift and wine shop.

On the second floor are people standing on balconies of apartments or condominiums with rooftop gardens overlooking the bustling downtown and mountain to the north.

In another, people stroll through an alleyway bustling with people, shops, galleries and a local artist painting the vibrant evening scene.

Other downtown amenities are highlighted: books, boutiques, antiques. And a sign points to an underground parking lot.

Waddell said the renderings evoke “tourism” and “a rich, small-town feel.” He said it’s an old design we’ve forgotten about — “It could be any old street in Paris.”

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Possible view from private residence overlooking downtown Troutdale.Troutdale city councilors and community members in the audience, many having returned after participating in the earlier workshop, were impressed with the artistic rendering of their visions.

“I am absolutely stunned,” said Councilor Eric Anderson. He said many of the features are feasible.

Councilor Rich Allen said, “From beginning to end it shows desire for community and artistry, and that really is an essence of Troutdale.”

Mayor Doug Daoust described the drawings as an “excellent starting point.” The city might not use the whole thing, but pieces of it.

Councilors said the ideas should be shared with developers who already have drawn up plans for the old Marino block.

“Our job is to work with folks out here to make this vision real,” said Councilor Anderson.

Aside from the block that Bremik Construction is developing, there are 23 acres of bare ground in the urban renewal area, Anderson said.

“We have a unique development opportunity in Troutdale where in a large part of downtown area, we don’t have existing structures,” he said.

Daoust quoted the workshop presenter Waddell saying, “As you said, a vision without action doesn’t buy you much.”

City Hall

In other developments, Mayor Daoust and the council are still considering options for a new city hall building, but no decisions have been made. The decisions largely depend on what the city can afford.

As of now, city operations are divided among two leased downtown spaces and one on the western edge of town, which the city said impairs service to customers and staff efficiency. There is also a lack of parking downtown, too-small council chambers, and a lack of meeting space, the city said.

Councilors are weighing the following options: restructure the old city hall, replace or sell the old police station, replace the City Conference Building on Buxton Avenue, and/or lease space from develops for a new city hall.

Council members said they are happy to entertain ideas from the public.

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