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Council OKs alternative method for evaluating proposals from contractors for the complex job

The stage is set for the Boones Ferry Road Project to transition from the planning stage to actual construction. Lake Oswego City staff are now finalizing documents and designs and preparing to seek approval from the Oregon Department of Transportation to request official proposals from contractors.

SHUMThe City hopes to put out a request for proposals in January, according to Project Lead Crystal Shum, now that the City Council has approved a special procurement process for receiving and awarding bids.

According to the Oregon Department of Administrative services, the Public Improvement Alternative Contracting method enables cities and public agencies to use innovative techniques and processes to procure public improvement projects.

Generally, a public construction contract is solicited and awarded to the lowest bidder. However, the City has exempted construction contracts from the competitive bidding process before — most recently with its Operations and Maintenance Center — when complexity, budget and scheduling warranted.

The alternative method provides greater flexibility in evaluating proposals and in contract negotiations, which can result in substantial cost savings and other substantial benefits.

In the case of the Boones Ferry Road Project, Shum says price, qualifications and approach are three criteria which will heavily influence how the City awards the contract once it receives bids. Specific reference to how a contractor might work with the businesses along Boones Ferry Road, as well as with the people who use the thoroughfare on a daily basis, will play a significant role in the decision, she says.

"We'll ask them for past experience, about how they will look at this project and how they would attack it or strategize," Shum told The Review. "They'll also give us a schedule as part of that criteria. We want a contractor experienced with this type of work, because this is a complex project."

According to Shum, the City won't look at cost proposals until staff works through whether or not the criteria for the RFP was met by each bid and ranks them.

"That makes sure we're not muddying the waters by comparing two different things at the same time," Shum says.

In addition to widening sidewalks and adding bike lanes, the project will revamp Boones Ferry Road between Madrona Street and the Oakridge Road-Reese Road intersection, supplementing the existing four lanes with a central median and turning lanes, improved landscaping and drainage, and public plaza areas connected to the sidewalks.

It will also add three new signalized intersections and two pedestrian-only, mid-block crossings. The goal, according to the project website, is to "create a street that serves as the centerpiece of the Lake Grove area."

Construction for the Boones Ferry Road Project is slated to begin sometime in 2019 and last about two years.

Contact Lake Oswego Review reporter Sam Stites at 503-479-2375 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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