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State of the City address set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, at the Milwaukie Masonic Lodge, 10636 S.E. Main St.

Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba said he plans to highlight housing and climate as two of his top priorities during this week's state-of-city speech.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: PETER WONG - Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba speaks Tuesday, Jan. 29, about a proposed greenhouse-gas cap as one of the priorities of metro area mayors for the 2019 Oregon Legislature. From left at the Salem press conference are Ted Wheeler of Portland, Frank Bubenik of Tualatin and Jason Snider of Tigard.As for the housing piece, Gamba said much is already underway with a five-story building featuring 110 apartments on top of 7,000 square feet of retail currently being constructed at the former Bernard's Garage site.

Clackamas County's Housing Authority, in partnership with city officials, has begun the process for planning a rebuild of Hillside Manor on 32nd Avenue. Gamba hopes this process will eventually end with more than 500 more residents of local publicly subsidized housing.

Other empty lots in downtown, along with two large parcels near Highway 224, are zoned for mixed-use developments. Gamba predicted Milwaukie Marketplace (currently 40 percent vacant) will be redeveloped soon after several other areas.

Given rents escalating in Milwaukie and throughout the state, Gamba was planning to testify before the Oregon Legislature on Monday in favor of a proposed law that will cap rent increases at 7 percent, plus the cost-of-living index. New construction would be exempt from this proposed rent control.

As for efforts to combat climate change locally, Gamba is hoping that the Hillside Manor project will include community gardens, pedestrian-friendly streets and net-zero buildings. City officials are working with PGE to develop a "smart-grid substation" for this area around the police station and industrial district that would produce its own solar power, and with batteries, be more resilient during natural disasters.

"There's a lot of opportunity there to create the perfect neighborhood of the future," Gamba said.

Join Gamba for the annual State of the City address featuring Milwaukie's accomplishments for the past year and plans for 2019 at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, at the Milwaukie Masonic Lodge, 10636 S.E. Main St.

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