Oregon City moving forward with next big project
Oregon City Mayor Dan Holladay delivered his own state-of-the-city speech this month through the OC Chamber as the public partners in the redevelopment of the former Blue Heron paper mill grapple with the lack of cooperation of the private owner of the important site at Willamette Falls.
A video played prior to the speech said there was no "magic wand" to make the Willamette Falls project break ground.
"Lots of work on big projects takes place behind the scenes," the video said.
Audience members weren't satisfied with the video's explanation and pressed Holladay to provide more information about the Willamette Falls Legacy Project's stalled plans to build a public walkway at the site. Noting the scheduled March 21 summit of governmental partners on the project, he responded with a "cautiously optimistic view" that the public partners are going to overcome their struggles with the landowner and restart work toward construction this year.
At the March 15 event, Karin Morey was named Oregon City's Citizen of the Year. She has worked with the Friends of Mt. View Cemetery to restore and maintain the historic cemetery, including by organizing a SOLVE cleanup.
Alisa Heathman was named as one of the dual employees of the year for her hard work in HR, along with Anne Crandall, who handles all of the various buildings as city's sole facility maintenance specialist can repair a boiler from the 19th century as well as learn to work with the newest technologies.
Holladay said he would mostly stick to his script during the event, reminding listeners that the library project completed in 2016 has since won several design awards. As the city's next municipal project, Holladay discussed how the city purchased the former Mt. Pleasant Elementary School as the location of the new police station. Construction is planned to begin in 2019 to include a glass front entrance that reflects the police department's commitment to transparency and openness. The station will be named after OC Reserve Officer Robert Libke, who lost his life in the line of duty in 2013.
During the speech, Holladay also touted accomplishments in Oregon City that are being carried out by agencies other than the city, with land-use and permitting guided by the city. He highlighted the Grand Cove project which is expected to start leasing hundreds of apartments this year, Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center's expansion, Clackamas Community College's construction of an industrial technical center and the courthouse that received an initial planning grant from the state to Clackamas County. Holladay said that city and county staff have been working closely to determine what would be the next best uses of the vacant courthouse downtown once it moves to a newly constructed facility at Red Soils.
"This monumental move will be challenging and exciting," Holladay said.