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Willamette Shore Trolley unveils improved downtown Lake Oswego station

Long-planned upgrades are finally complete after several years of delays

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Trolley station upgrades include a new public plaza area to complement Sundeleaf and Millenium plazas across the street.Summer operations are underway at the Willamette Shore Trolley, and returning riders have likely noticed some changes to the downtown Lake Oswego station on State Street.

The gravel parking lot has been rebuilt with a grid of brick tiles, and the station’s faded orange exterior has been updated with a new coat of paint — barn red with a hint of burgundy, according to City Development Project Manager Sidaro Sin.

“To me, it’s like night and day,” Sin says. “It could only have gotten better.”

The two-month upgrade project cost roughly $300,000 and was funded by the downtown urban renewal district. As a result, Sin says, it adds several features that contribute to the “cohesiveness” of the downtown area, such as the surface tiling in the new parking lot that matches the tiles in Millennium Plaza Park and Sundeleaf Plaza across the street.

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The trolley station's new parking lot replaces an unpaved gravel lot and adds ADA parking and access ramps.The project also includes an upgraded pathway along the edge of the tracks, connecting the State Street sidewalk with the path down to Foothills Park.

“This is the last portion of that connection between Foothills Park and downtown,” says Sin, adding that the goal is to “make Highway 43 more pedestrian-friendly and consistent with Lake View Village.”

The station area has received a few upgrades as well, including ADA-compliant parking and access ramps and a plaza area with benches. The landscaping is mostly new, although it retains two older trees to serve as a barrier between the plaza and State Street. An old wooden deck on the north side of the station has been removed and replaced with stairs down to the plaza.

The new parking lot isn’t any larger than the old one, but Sin says that unlike its gravel predecessor, it won’t always be restricted to trolley parking. When the trolley isn’t running, the spots will be available for general two-hour parking.

“This project actually started back in 2008,” Sin says. “It had gone through design review for these improvements.”

But the project was put on hold while the City evaluated the possibility of a Streetcar line from downtown Portland. The proposed line would have replaced the trolley and used its right-of-way corridor to reach Lake Oswego, making upgrades to the trolley station unnecessary.

When the Streetcar initiative lost the support of the City Council in early 2012, staff dusted off the trolley station plans and began to move forward with the project. But Sin says they encountered another delay: a project to repair a downtown water main under the trolley parking lot. Crews needed to rip up the lot to access the main line, and that project didn’t wrap up until earlier this year.

“We came in right after (they finished),” says Sin.

Sin says City staff were able to use the extra waiting time to design additional stormwater features for the project, making it “a little demonstration” of mitigation techniques. The new tile lot maintains the permeability of the old gravel lot, and the impervious surface of the footpath is balanced out by new bioswale installations between the path and the lot.

The new paint on the station took a few weeks longer than expected due to rain, but the rest of the upgrades were finished in time for the start of the trolley’s summer operating season. And the entire project will be completed in time for the annual Fourth of July fireworks ride.

“The trolley line itself is quite an asset for this community,” Sin says. “It’s one of those very unique things that draws people from the Portland area.”

Contact Anthony Macuk at 503-636-1281 ext. 108 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..