Happy Valley project gets $2.4M in federal funding, beating OC -

Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation unanimously approved Happy Valley’s Southeast 129th Avenue project on Thursday.

Happy Valley’s bike-lane and sidewalk construction promises to provide safe connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists between Mountain Gate Road and Scott Creek Lane.

“This is great for our community,” said City Manager Jason Tuck. “We were able to leverage our local money to secure $2.4 million in federal money. The addition of bike lanes on both sides of the street and a sidewalk on the east side will provide people the opportunity to move around the community in a more convenient and safe manner.”

Oregon City Mayor Doug Neeley acknowledged that he tilted at windmills before the Oct. 10 vote in complaining that a Clackamas County recommendation looked at Oregon City’s previous success in getting the flexible funds. That recommendation took OC by surprise since its $4.58 million for Molalla Avenue was initially the highest-scoring of projects proposed to Metro.

“I feel a little bit like Don Quixote here,” Neeley said. “It became an issue of an equity piece, but that was never in the criteria.”

Lake Oswego City Councilor Donna Jordan addressed Neeley’s comments by suggesting that Oregon City’s larger rate of crashes didn’t necessarily indicate a greater need for safety measures.

“Clackamas County is woefully short of funds for transportation improvements,” Jordan said. “Everybody is fighting for every dollar they can. While it’s true that we did have a list of where (Metro transportation) money was used in the past, what we actually came down to was a decision about where excising sidewalks were being improved and where places were asking for sidewalks.”

Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick, noting the controversy sometimes generated with flexible funding, chaired the meeting in Councilor Carlotta Collette’s absence.

“This particular process really was remarkable in how the three counties worked together,” Craddick said.

Tuck agreed that the transportation needs of Happy Valley and Clackamas County are large, so receiving money to complete one piece of a larger network was significant. Assuming Metro Council approves the funding as expected, Happy Valley will next look into options for speeding up the design and construction process if possible, due to the funding timeframe being 2016-2018.

“We would like to have the project completed sooner than later,” Tuck said. “A lot of that will depend on the process with Metro and the state.”

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