Lake Oswego land acquisition: eminent, not imminent
The City of Lake Oswego has filed four lawsuits in the past two weeks against property owners along Boones Ferry Road, seeking to acquire portions of the properties that are needed for an upcoming project to widen the road.
The lawsuits lay the groundwork for the City to acquire the land using eminent domain, but according to City Attorney David Powell, at this point the filings are just a formality. Negotiations with all four property owners are still ongoing, he said, and the City won't move forward with the lawsuits if a negotiated deal can be reached.
The lawsuits were filed because the project has reached a point in the planning and design process where it needs to be certified by the Oregon Department of Transportation. Before ODOT can sign off on the plans, the city has to prove that it has acquired all of the needed right-of-way — or that it has the means to acquire the remainder if negotiations fall through.
The four businesses named in the lawsuits are Albertsons, Bank of America, Key Bank and Banner Bank. Powell said that three of the four companies are aware of the lawsuits and understand that the City was required to file them. The fourth company has not yet responded to the City's communications.
According to Powell, there are additional property negotiations still taking place, but some of those are very close to a resolution. So far, the City has only chosen to file the preliminary eminent domain lawsuits for properties where there is still a large amount of discussion anticipated, he said.
The Boones Ferry Road project is scheduled to break ground in late 2018, with construction expected to take approximately two years. It will widen portions of the road between Madrona and Lanewood streets, add two new pedestrian crossings and three new signalized intersections, and upgrade two existing intersections.
The project will include a host of other upgrades along the corridor, such as bike lanes, landscaped medians, safer turning lanes, underground utilities, improved street lighting and stormwater drainage.