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West Linn to hold storefront studio workshops

City looks for input on arch bridge and Bolton town center project


by: TIDINGS FILE PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The city is looking to generate a swell of foot traffic at its 'storefront studio' for the arch bridge and Bolton Town Center master planning project. As city officials began brainstorming ideas for the arch bridge and Bolton town center master planning project, the operative phrase was “hands on.”

If the goal was to plan the redevelopment of an area stretching along Highway 43 from Bolton Primary School all the way to the arch bridge itself, working from atop the hill at city hall seemed to be counterintuitive.

The city wanted to bring the process to the people, and thus jumped at the opportunity to partner with LMN Architects to host a “Storefront Studio” workshop series at Central Village April 14-16.

Open to all residents, the storefront studio at 22000 Willamette Drive, Suite 106 (next to FedEx) will host three all-day “open studio” times and two organized community workshops over the course of three days, each meant to spur residents to share their ideas for how the area should be redeveloped.

“We want to find out specific things that can be done that are viable,” Associate Planner Sara Javoronok said.

The city received a $220,000 grant from Metro last fall to fund the planning process, which is expected to be complete by the spring of 2015. 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.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - West Linn Central Village donated a vacant storefront free of charge for the city to conduct its workshops.

The city’s overall goal is to create a plan for the Bolton Town Center, which would be a hub for community activities, commerce and housing. The hope is to do so without sacrificing any of the community’s fundamental character, or its relationship with the environment.

That’s where citizens come in.

“There’s lots of community interest,” Assistant City Manager Kirsten Wyatt said. “We wanted this to be an on-the-ground, hands-on experience.”

The first day of the storefront, April 14, will include “open studio” time from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. before a formal community workshop from 6 to 8 p.m. April 15 will consist entirely of open studio time from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and the event will close April 16 with open studio from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and one last community workshop from 6 to 8 p.m.

City planning staff and representatives from LMN Architects will be on hand throughout the open studio segments, free to answer questions and collaborate with those who stop by.

City staff is banking on heavy foot traffic due to the storefront’s location in Central Village.

“The location is very accessible,” Wyatt said. “We’re hoping to have people who are dropping their kids off at school, or stopping by the library ... we want it to look like Market of Choice at lunch time.”

Indeed, the city is banking on some of those high school students grabbing lunch to stop by the arch bridge storefront as well. A group from the Youth Leadership Academy also will participate during the Tuesday open studio, Wyatt said.

In the weeks leading up to the storefront studio, the community has wasted no time getting involved. An online survey about the project generated more than 200 responses within its first 24 hours of availability, according to Wyatt.

This initial outreach is part of an evaluation period that is just the first step in the planning process. 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.

“We’re on an aggressive timetable to have something before the city council by the end of the calendar year,” Wyatt said.

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.

In addition to the studio storefront, the city also plans to hold an open house in the late summer or early fall, once the planning process is further along.

To learn more, visit westlinnoregon.gov/gateway. The city’s survey is available at surveymonkey.com/s/bridge-bolton.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - The donated 2,500 square foot studio will house daytime open studios and two evening community workshops.


By Patrick Malee
Reporter
503-636-1281 ex
email: pmalee@westlinntidings.com
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