McMenamins: Adopt the Halsey Street plan already
An outdated government plan is hindering development along Halsey Street, an attorney representing McMenamins Edgefield says.
"We don't think it's buildable," said lawyer Steven W. Abel. "So what do we do with that?"
There's been plenty of talk lately about the Halsey Corridor — public officials' vision for a new main street in East Multnomah County.
That effort culminated in June with a new report studying the route commissioned by the cities of Fairview, Wood Village and Troutdale.
But the roadway itself is controlled by Multnomah County, and their rules haven't been updated since 2005. McMenamins owns roughly 120 acres located on both sides of the street, and says it doesn't like the current street improvements triggered by development.
"It creates the wrong image for Halsey. It's really a 50 mile-per-hour rocket shoot between the cities," Abel said, pointing to a copy of the old plan. "It's really important that we get this (new) plan into place, so we can all rely on it for purposes of development."
Abel says the next version of the county's redevelopment rules should preserve the area's rural character while also safeguarding pedestrians.
"(The Main Streets on Halsey plan) is still a visioning document at this level, I guess, and it ultimately needs to get a little more fine-tuned and then it needs to get adopted by the local jurisdictions," he noted during a meeting of the Halsey Community Collaborative Executive Committee at Fairview City Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 31.
"That's not months. It could be done in years," the attorney at Stoel Rives law firm continued.
"It could be done in months," voiced Wood Village City Administrator Bill Peterson.
In the meantime, McMenamins' first priority is to refurbish the star-shaped former county jail located behind the main hotel south of Halsey.
The lodging and brewery chain purchased the 11,000-square-foot facility, which looks a bit like nine-pointed asterisk in aerial photographs, for roughly $3.5 million in 2007. At the time, company founder Mike McMenamin told The Outlook the minimum-security floor plan could be converted into a 50-room hotel and restaurant.
"It's a fun, quirky building," McMenamin commented during a July 2007 interview. "It really lays itself out nicely for the plans."
In the summer, McMenamins plans to pursue refinancing that could free up money to eventually develop the 46 acres of vacant land it owns directly across the street from Edgefield, Abel reported.
The company said it wants to add overnight lodging, a bar and eatery to five to 10 acres of the property — once a pig farm — which it purchased from Multnomah County for $3.2 million in 2014.
Joanna Valencia, the county's transportation planning manager, concluded the meeting with a pledge to explore the wiggle room into the 13-year-old Halsey Street Conceptual Design Project.
"I will look for options," she said.