Reconstructed Second Street begins new era ahead of schedule

Perhaps the best thing you could say about the newly reconstructed Second Street is that it was worth the wait.

The downtown Lake Oswego boulevard is now looking good and, best of all, open to traffic after the near completion of a three-month renovation project. In fact, some business owners are already waxing poetic about it.

“It will have that millennium feel,” said Paul Graham, owner of Graham’s Book & Stationery. “It will have a farmers market frenzy. It will be a more active, vibrant, lively street."

by: SID SIN - Prior to reconstruction, Second Street looked like the back of an alligator. Its sub-structure was even SID SIN - Second Street has a brand new beautiful look that is exciting businesses and customers alike.

It is sort of like the folks of Second Street have been cooped up for three months and now have the chance to cut loose. However, Sid Sin, project supervisor for the city of Lake Oswego, is not quite ready to celebrate.

“We still have a lot of work to finish,” Sin said. “There’s the final paving, putting up the railing and street furniture and the landscaping.”

Still, Sin said, “We’re pretty darn close. We’re over a big hump.”

Sin is already happy over the fact that the project will finish about three weeks ahead of schedule. The plan to do the street by halves instead of quadrants as in the original plan, was a key factor in reaching the “substantial completion date” early instead of well into June.

Still, it was no tea party (except at Moya Stephens’ Lady Di’s Tea Room) waiting for the work to be done. To at least some degree, there was a loss of business for every merchant on Second Street.

“Business always goes down when you limit access in any way,” said Graham, who has been a pillar of the Lake Oswego downtown business community for decades. “It causes people to go elsewhere, and we felt that effect.”

But, Graham added, “I was impressed with our intrepid customers. They found a way to get in somehow.”

Where once the sidewalks were “really, really bad,” and there was such severe alligatoring of the roadway that it threatened the sub structure, Second Street is now a thing of beauty.

“This project connects Second Street with the rest of the downtown area,” Sin said. “It is another street in Lake Oswego where people will want to come.”

“I was very happy to see all of the cars in our parking lot,” Graham said. “I think the effect of having a new street will be to invite people. It has a really good feel now, and it’s only going to get better. There’s going to be room for more art on the street. The street even makes the buildings look better. Business owners have been encouraged to improve their properties.”

There is now such a feel-good aura about Second Street that Graham said business owners are having informal talks about having a big street party with music, fine food, beverages and great activities.

One of the big legacies of the project, though, is that it will help everyone have a deeper appreciation for the simpler things in life on Second Street.

“It was a real thrill looking out at Second Street and seeing the cars go by,” Graham said. “I’ll never take it for granted again.”

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