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Former county employee, descendent of Frederik Law Olmsted say Oregon City lagoon area should not be paved over

COURTESY PHOTO - After 244 apartments were constructed in the Clackamette Cove project's first phase in 2016 behind the Oregon City Shopping Center, an additional 370 units of housing were envisioned between Agnes Avenue and the Clackamas River Trail as part of the second phase of the project.In the 1980s Clackamas County planned for a commercial and residential development in the Clackamette Cove area, where a lagoon exists next to the Clackamas River.

That vision is not relevant anymore and should be discarded for an entirely new one.

Gary and Nancy SpanovichWith the pandemic and Oregon City updating its comprehensive plan, it's time for us to do a major rethink on commuting, given telecommuting is a real option and the wisdom of clustering in a city center perhaps has gone away.

In 1832, Paris was remade after thousands died in the cholera epidemic. Now our cities and especially OC must reassess and reevaluate the width of our sidewalks, better access to parks and nature and more parks and why cars get so much space when it is people who need to roam. New York City is considering 100 miles of streets for pedestrian use.

It's time to revisit the vision for the Clackamette Cove project from one of increasing residential and commercial density to one of nature, parks and the creation of an Olmsted Park. Frederik Law Olmsted created Central Park in New York City and many say that is the lungs of the city. The Clackamette Cove and the lagoon should not be paved over; it should become a unique urban park in the city of Oregon City's downtown area, linked to its other major tourist activities: the End of the Oregon Trail, the downtown area and the Grand Ronde tribal Willamette Falls area.

With the pandemic and social distancing to stay safe, with our medical experts telling us the pandemic in one form or another may be with us for a long time, it is time to rethink our urban areas and build in social distancing by creating more parks and open spaces where our population can be safe.

A new vision for Clackamette Cove to become Oregon City's most beautiful park: create an Olmsted Park and Natural Area around Clackamette Cove, extended to the Clackamas and Willamette rivers; refurbish the lagoon for swimming and bring in sand to create beaches all around it; focus on natural areas and recreational uses, say kayak rentals versus restaurants and bars; emphasize the water, the river, natural areas for citizens; design this park for our present times with the pandemic and encourage other communities to do the same. Let's change the direction of the comprehensive plan.

Nancy Spanovich is a descendant of Frederik Law Olmsted, and Gary Spanovich is a former transportation, engineering and economic planning director for Clackamas County.


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