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  • 26 Dec 2014

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OC's big projects moving ahead

Oregon City moved forward on plans for its two blighted waterfront areas, Willamette Falls Legacy Project and the hundreds of apartments proposed along Clackamette Cove.

Another developer intends to purchase the 23-acre former paper-mill site for a mixed-use development. At the city’s third Community Interactive Event last Thursday at the Ainsworth House and Gardens, city planner Christina Robertson-Gardiner highlighted recent survey results and presented the final concept as it has emerged for the site. She noted this latest offer is different from Eclipse Development’s failed deal in that it has a much longer due-diligence timeline.

Langley Investment Properties representative Liam Thornton told attendees at last week’s event that his company has submitted a letter of intent to sign a purchase agreement by the end of the month. A bankruptcy-court hearing is scheduled for Jan. 3, 30 days from the filing to allow for any overbids or objections from other creditors.

Meanwhile, OC officials recommended that the Urban Renewal Commission on Wednesday approve $745,000 to allow the Clackamette Cove project to move forward with approximately 244 apartment units on “very significant fill” to bring them above the 1996 floodplain.

In addition to the garden apartments, the developers must construct an office, recreation building, park, sidewalks and drives on the south end of the site by Aug. 15 to satisfy a proposed agreement. In subsequent phases to qualify for a state muti-family grant and the other half of OC’s funding, the developers plan to construct 195 waterfront apartments, a mixed-use building, office building, parking lot, water-sports center and marinas on other parts of the site. They plan to build retaining walls to stabilize regraded lake-shore slopes, excavate buried construction debris and refill previous attempts to reduce erosion with imported topsoil.

At the northern end of Main Street behind the shopping center, the 89.59-acre site currently produces no employment and little tax revenue to the city. Economic Development Manager Eric Underwood said the project area cannot be developed without substantial public investment.

Ed Darrow and Randy Tyler have been negotiating with the city for years to develop the blighted area. As economic conditions have changed, they’ve given up on developing condos and opted instead for apartments in the area.

“It’s kind of been a long road, but I think we’ve finally reached a compromise for both parties,” Underwood said. “The economy took its toll, so it was just a matter of them getting the project to where it would be profitable to them while we still protected taxpayer dollars.”

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