Happy Valley plans in flux after site falls through

Happy Valley is moving ahead rapidly with planning for a new $6 million city hall, to be located near the intersection of SE 162nd Avenue and SE Misty Drive. The community's original plan to build on Mt. Scott was derailed late last year by a dispute with a land developer, which forced the process to begin anew.

'In order for us to buy the site, the developer had approval rights over our design,' said Jason Tuck, the city's economic and community development director. 'Our design didn't meet his vision for the rest of the property.

'We worked and worked, but we just couldn't come up with a design that was acceptable to both parties.'

The original plan called for a 25,000-square-foot city hall with an adjoining 25,000-square-foot county library, to be built at the intersection of SE Stevens Road and SE Monterey Avenue.

According to Tuck, Happy Valley likely could have forced the deal through over the developer's objections, but the additional time, expense and uncertainty entailed in a legal battle prompted the city to look elsewhere.

'The new site is right on Sunnyside Road, behind where the New Seasons market is under construction in Happy Valley Town Center,' he said. 'The city settled on this location earlier this year, and we've made a tentative agreement with the property owner.'

The public was invited to a charrette the first week in April.

'It was a very positive design discussion, and there was overwhelming support for the new location,' said Tuck. 'Our architects led the group through three different design concepts, and that led to a preferred alternative.'

Tuck explained that the new city hall building will conform to the Happy Valley design standards adopted by the city last year.

'It will have a very residential feel to it, what some might call the Northwest style,' he said. 'It will have a pitched roof and incorporate lots of natural building materials, like wood and stone. Those are some of the general concepts that will go into the final design.'

The city has substantially outgrown its existing quarters on SE King Road, which enclose only about 6,000 square feet - including annex buildings erected on the property.

'We're sitting on top of each other right now,' Tuck said. 'Not only will this put us in more appropriate work spaces, but the design looks ahead to meet our needs for the next 20 years.'

He estimated that the city's current operations would occupy approximately 12,000 square feet in the planned 25,000-square-foot structure.

'There is an option that we are discussing right now with Sunrise Water about a potential lease, but their space needs may be more than we will have available,' said Tuck.

The city hopes to begin construction this summer, with the aim of completing work by the summer of 2008.

Happy Valley's existing city hall, built to resemble a local historic home, will be retained by the city.

'There has been some discussion of relocating our police services here, but no final plans have been established,' said Tuck.

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