Infrastructure projects await Lake Oswego City Council's return
When Lake Oswego's City Council reconvenes next week following its traditional August recess, a busy fall season filled with infrastructure and capital projects awaits.
Boones Ferry Road, a new downtown Civic Center and the proposed North Anchor project are all taking steps forward with design work, and the council is expected to review plans for Woodmont Natural Park and potential upgrades to the Tryon Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
"The word 'infrastructure' does not sizzle. It sounds technical, dull, boring. But it is not," City Councilor Jeff Gudman said this week. "Focusing on infrastructure is not a vision and it is often not even a priority. But it is critical and absolutely necessary."
Here are some of the projects likely to make the council's agenda this fall:
•The Boones Ferry Road project is likely to come up in some capacity at several council meetings this fall as the council continues with the preliminary work of acquiring the property needed to make room for the project, which will widen the Boones Ferry Road right-of-way to make room for a central median and bike lanes.
•The council is expected to award a construction contract for the realignment of Lakeview Boulevard, which will change the intersection of Lakeview and Jean Road so that Lakeview connects at a 90-degree angle, creating a standard T intersection. In the current configuration, Lakeview connects at a 45-degree angle, which decreases visibility for drivers approaching the intersection and causes traffic coming off Lakeview to have to make sharp left turns that are difficult to navigate, particularly for freight traffic.The project will also add concrete curbs at the edges of the road, new sidewalks with ADA-compliant ramps and landscaping between the road and sidewalk with new stormwater infrastructure.
• The Woodmont Park Master Plan is expected to be reviewed and adopted. The park is located in Lake Oswego's Forest Highlands neighborhood and is currently undeveloped. It was donated to the city by former owner Donald Meyer with the condition that it be maintained as a park with minimal development. But the contract with Meyer does allow for a few basic park features, such as paths and restrooms, and the Parks & Recreation Department has convened a Project Advisory Committee and held a public outreach workshop to help draft a development plan for the park in collaboration with the architecture firm Mackenzie.
•The Tryon Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant is due for an upgrade, but Portland's Bureau of Environmental Services is seeking to implement a new process for facilitating the upgrades in place of Lake Oswego's existing Conditional Use review process. (The facility serves both cities, so both are involved in the upgrade process." Portland's proposed process is currently under consideration by the Lake Oswego Planning Commission, but will make its way to the City Council later this year.
• Earlier this year, the council voted to tear down and replace the current City Hall building in conjunction with the construction of a new downtown police station on the same block. Since then, City staff and the architecture firm Mackenzie have been working to align the projects so that they can be designed and planned as a single civic center for downtown.
A second public outreach meeting was held Wednesday night, and the council (meeting as the LORA board) will get a chance to review the project's progress and provide input and direction in the coming months.
• The long-gestating North Anchor project is expected to move forward in September or October, with new design documents and an official draft agreement available for the LORA board to review.
• The council is expected to authorize the purchase of two new pieces of equipment for the Lake Oswego Fire Department, which will replace older hardware: a new fire engine from Pierce Velocity and a new 22-foot rescue boat and trailer from Precision Weld.
• The construction of the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership is complete, and the new water supply system is online and pumping water to both cities. But the city councils of Tigard and Lake Oswego must resolve one lingering question about the future governance of the system. The supply system is currently managed by Lake Oswego, but the project's intergovernmental agreement allows for the possibility of changing the management structure now that the work is completed.
Earlier this year, Tigard's city council expressed a strong preference for creating an independent agency to manage the supply, with equal control from both cities. Lake Oswego' councilors appeared to prefer the current model, in which the project is managed by Lake Oswego staff and both councils maintain an equal presence on an advisory committee. The two councils last met to discuss the issue in February, but did not come to a resolution.
• Improvements to D Avenue; to the stretch of Country Club Road between 10th Street and the Six Corners intersection; and to Iron Mountain Park and the Municipal Golf Course are also likely topics of conversation, Gudman said, as well as a discussion of how best to use incremental money from the state of Oregon's recently passed transportation package for future road work projects.
"Upgrading and expanding our infrastructure not only ensures that we have safe roads, bridges and all manner of infrastructure," he said, "but also contributes to our quality of life, to our outlook for the future and to the economy."