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Harlan Borow: We must work together to build affordable homes for a new generation of Oregon City families.

There is a severe housing shortage in the state of Oregon and particularly in the Portland metro area. According to Metro's most recent Housing Needs Analysis, developers need to build approximately 10,000 new housing units per year within the Urban Growth Boundary in the Portland metro area to overcome the current housing shortage and keep up with projected housing demand.COURTESY RENDERING: AKS ENGINEERING/CITY OF OC - Icon Construction submitted these plans to Oregon City officials to show how the development company intends future phases of housing growth in the Park Place Neighborhood.

Our Park Place Crossing (PPC) project is the result of over 20 years of research and planning and is overdue for development. The overall 500-acre Park Place area was brought into the Urban Growth Boundary by the Metro Council in 2002. The Metro Council is required by Oregon state law to evaluate the area's projected housing needs every six years to accommodate the projected population growth for the next 20 years. When land within the Urban Growth Boundary is not developed, like PPC, it exacerbates the housing shortage in the Portland Metro area.

PPC is the first development in the Park Place Concept Plan, which was completed by the city in 2008 to comply with Statewide Planning Goals and Metro's Urban Growth Management Functional Plan. Completed with input from a wide variety of experts and stakeholders including city, county and neighborhood/community representatives, it includes approximately 1,458 new dwelling units, plus parks, mixed-use/retail/civic and a new school. PPC covers about 50% of the land and contains about 51% of the housing units for the North Village of the Concept Plan, and is being developed first because it is within the city limits of Oregon City and can be connected to necessary infrastructure.

PPC will be a mix of single-family detached homes, attached townhomes and mixed-use residential/retail areas and will meet the Concept Plan and regional goals for increased availability of affordable housing and community diversity. PPC includes the dedication of at least 4.1 acres of park land to the city, with approximately a total of 20 acres dedicated to the city for parks and open space.

PPC includes completion of a number of vital transportation improvements and significant financial contributions to the improvement of intersections in the city. Development of PPC will complete approximately 60% of the new Holly Lane collector between Holcomb Boulevard and Redland Road, which is all of the collector alignment currently within the city. We are actively working with the city and county to find ways to complete the full connection between Holcomb Boulevard and Redland Road, providing much-needed connectivity between those two streets. We will pay $1 million to $2 million to the city as proportional share payments to contribute to the improvement of six major intersections and other improvements, as well as generate over $15 million in system development charges for improvements to transportation, water and sanitary sewer capital improvement projects throughout the city. We will also pay additional fees to expand and improve parks, stormwater infrastructure and schools.

According to Metro's 2018 Urban Growth Report, "neighborhood opposition to change" is the No 2 reason for the severe lack of housing the metro area. Over 600 families in Oregon City live in a house built by or on a lot developed by Icon Construction. We should not allow the construction of housing called for in the Concept Plan to be impeded by a few shortsighted individuals. We must work together to build affordable homes for a new generation of Oregon City families.

Harlan Borow is Icon Construction's land development and acquisitions manager.


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