Setting the agenda for 2018
Leaders from nearly all of Lake Oswego's boards and commissions gathered at the Adult Community Center last week for an annual summit to share their accomplishments from 2017 and their plans for 2018.
Nearly every board mentioned issues involving substantial changes to Lake Oswego, such as new transportation methods, new municipal buildings and future capital projects.
Rick Nyes, chair of the Transportation Advisory Board, said the group had focused its efforts in 2017 on smaller-scale projects such as bike paths, with the goal of making tangible improvements.
"We focused on going out and finding some low-hanging-fruit-type projects that are inexpensive but have a big bang for your buck," he explained.
Looking toward 2018, he said his board plans to continue to advocate for bike and pedestrian projects, particularly on Iron Mountain Boulevard.
Speaking for the 50+ Advisory Board, Ron Matthews said the group had held numerous discussions about ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, which they viewed as having the potential to provide new and more economical ways for senior citizens to get around the city. However, the technology can be challenging for first-time users, he said, so the board intends to continue a focus on training people.
The other big focus for 2018, he said, will be encouraging the creation of more housing opportunities for seniors who want to stay in the city.
"We don't want them to be priced out of the community," he said. "Sometimes they need smaller facilities rather than a huge house to stay in."
Planning Commission Chairman Robert Heape outlined an ambitious agenda for the group in the coming year. Several topics focused on housing, including a review of the residential infill design procedure to hopefully provide more flexibility for single-family home construction, and a possible Community Development Code amendment to encourage the development of accessory dwelling units.
The commission will also tackle parking standards citywide, he said, taking a comprehensive approach to one of Lake Oswego's most-discussed issues.
"We heard from the community that there are a lot of possible improvements we can make here," he said.
Another item on the Planning Commission agenda is to continue working with neighborhood associations seeking to develop their own neighborhood plans in 2018, Heape said. Old Town and Palisades will likely be first in line, along with ongoing work on the development and implementation of a plan for Forest Hills.
Finally, Heape said, the group will re-examine the City's current requirement that private lanes be a minimum of 50 feet wide. The commission reworked the rules for flag lots during 2017, resulting in the number of permitted lots per access lane dropping from eight to two. But the lane width requirement was left unchanged, which has raised concerns that it could become an impediment to development, Heape said.
Planning Commission member Bill Ward also delivered updates on the group's 2017 accomplishments, including flag lot rules, standards for setbacks for accessory structures and refining the "Lake Oswego style." The group also toured the Westlake, Rosewood and McVey/South Shore neighborhoods, and several members attended a training session offered by the Oregon League of Cities.
One major ongoing project had to be put on hold, Ward added: The Lake Grove Village Center plan can't proceed until the Boones Ferry Road project is completed.
Parks, Recreation & Natural Resources Board Chair Bill Gordon said his group had set four primary goals for 2018: developing capital improvement projects, crafting long-term funding strategies, seeking project funding and selling off non-strategic properties.
For the capital projects, the highest priorities will be finding a new home for the Parks & Rec Department and deciding the future of the municipal golf course. At the same time, he said, the group made a priority list of every other unfunded capital project as well.
"We don't want to forget about the 35-40 other capital improvement projects that are on the Parks list," he said.
In terms of funding strategies, Gordon said the board would likely advocate for renewing three parks bonds that are currently all scheduled to sunset in the next four years. Renewing them could generate $20-$25 million, he said, while allowing them to lapse would probably result in many Parks projects being postponed.
Historic Resources Advisory Board chair Kasey Holwerda listed several accomplishments from 2017, including the completion of the Hazelia Agri-cultural Trail in Stafford and the restoration of the Iron Workers Cottage in Old Town. For next year, Holwerda said the board will focus on streamlining its pre-application processes to make things easier for residents seeking Historic Landmark designations.
Nancy Niland delivered the report for the Library Advisory Board, highlighting a number of physical improvements made to the library, including an extensive remodel of the workroom and lobby, complete with self-checkout machines and an automated book sorter. The library also completed the process of adding RFID tags to all of its books, which Niland noted was done entirely by volunteers.
"We were one of the only libraries in Clackamas County that did not outsource," she said. "We had volunteers and saved Lake Oswego about $60,000."
Additionally, the library opened the new Brian Doyle Garden in honor of the late Lake Oswego author, who passed away last year fol-
lowing a battle with brain cancer.
Arts Council Executive Director Nicole Nathan listed numerous 2017 accomplishments, including 15 new sculptures installed as part of the Gallery Without Walls program and 15 new art pieces added at the new Operations and Maintenance Center. The group has also been working with PHK Development in preparation for installing new artwork once The Windward mixed-use project is completed.
Looking to the future, the board will have to prepare for a transition, she said. Its current home on B Avenue will need to be vacated when construction begins on the North Anchor project, and its future home in the new downtown civic center is still years away from being ready, so the council will need to find an interim home in the meantime.
The council will also have to find a place to store artwork removed from the Palisades Elementary School building after the Parks & Recreation Department moves out this summer, Nathan said.