City presses forward with arch bridge planning project

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The city has been eyeing redevelopment in the arch bridge area since 2011, but needed the Metro grant money to get the ball rolling. Fresh off of receiving a $220,000 grant from Metro, the city of West Linn is wasting no time getting started on the Oregon City-West Linn Arch Bridge planning project.

The planning, which is expected to be complete by spring of 2015, will analyze everything from land use to economic conditions, pedestrian accessibility and redevelopment plans at the West Linn Paper Company parcel adjacent to the arch bridge.

West Linn requested the funding to support its efforts to facilitate redevelopment in the arch bridge-Bolton area, a project that runs congruent to the redevelopment of the former Blue Heron Paper Paper Company across the river in Oregon City as part of the Willamette Falls Legacy Project. The recently renovated arch bridge crosses the Willamette River between West Linn and Oregon City.

As Associate City Planner Sara Javoronok outlined in a presentation to city council on Sept. 9, the first step in the project is to enter what is called an intergovernmental agreement with Metro, which should happen later this fall.

“It would be an agreement the city enters with Metro where they lay out what the grant is, what we’re responsible for and what tasks we’re going to complete,” Javoronok said. From there, the city will issue a request for proposal in search of consultants for the project’s initial work program. That process is also scheduled for this fall, according to Javoronok, and once the consultant is chosen the city will form a detailed work program for the planning process.

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The arch bridge stretches across the Willamette River from West Linn to Oregon City.

The master planning and implementation strategy for the arch bridge area will be done in three stages. The first step, which is scheduled for completion by spring 2014, consists of evaluating the current conditions of the area stretching from the Bolton Fire Station down south along Highway 43 toward the arch bridge and Willamette River.

As Javoronok noted in her presentation to city council, the city will assess the physical, environmental and market conditions in an effort to identify what sections of the area house potential for development or transportation and what types of barriers can be expected.

“We want to look at I-205 and Highway 43 and some of the issues with traffic along those areas,” Javoronok said. “And then also some of the under-utilized right of way around there.”

The real heavy lifting will come in the second stage of the planning project, which includes identifying design alternatives and ultimately drafting the master plan for redevelopment by the fall of 2014.

“So at that point we’ll analyze land use and circulation concepts and different design options,” Javoronok said. “And there will be a lot of opportunity for community involvement at that point, to try to find out what people’s issues are in the area and what some of their preferences are.”

The third and final stage of the project involves what Javoronok called “implementation strategy”: identifying “catalyst” projects — such as redeveloping the old police station — and their associated costs while also searching for partnership opportunities with both public and private institutions and drafting any necessary amendments to city plans or codes.

That will be completed by the spring of 2015, if all goes according to plan. Throughout the master planning process, the city will seek community input from both an advisory and technical committee, while also administering a public survey and holding workshops.

In 2011, the city conducted surveys and a large community meeting to identify a concept vision for the future of the Highway 43/Willamette Falls Drive corridor. The arch bridge area was ranked near the top of the list for redevelopment.

The city applied for the $220,000 grant on April 18, and Metro formally announced its approval on Aug. 15.

“The grant review committee said this was one of the most exciting and one of the best proposals they had seen,” Metro Councilor Carlotta Collette said.

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by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The Metro grant amounts to $220,000, and the city expects to complete the planning process by 2015.

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - West Linn hopes to work closely with Oregon City throughout the planning process.

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