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Administration building design nearly complete, public input sought for Donald L. Robertson Park renovation

If You Go

What: The public is invited to an Open House to learn about enhancements to Donald L. Robertson Park in Wood Village

When: 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21

Where: Wood Village Baptist Church, 23601 N.E. Arata Road

Visit: woodvillageor.gov or call 503-667-6211

PMG PHOTO: SHANNON O. WELLS - Arata Road in Wood Village, which parallels the busy Northeast Halsey Street, has undergone a major upgrade project in the past several months, including widened sidewalks with eco-friendly bioswales and features to enhance both pedestrian and vehicular safety. With design planning for a new City Hall building nearing the final stages and extensive renovations to its main public park and a key thoroughfare well underway, Wood Village at the dawn of 2020 is anything but a sleepy little town.

As anyone who regularly passes the 238th Avenue/Wood Village interchange with Interstate 84 can see, work on Wood Village Mixed Use, a 10,500-square-foot commercial and residential complex on Halsey Street where the old City Hall once stood, is in full swing.

A quarter mile south on 238th, more construction activity abounds on the east-west cross-street of Arata Road. By spring, that mostly residence-lined artery will be transformed into a landscaped boulevard with new, widened sidewalks, water-collecting bioswales, new decorative fencing, lighting and other safety-minded improvements.

These two projects are just the most visible signs of progress in what may be an unprecedented period of renewal and upgrades in the 1-square-mile city between Fairview and Troutdale.

"There has been a lot of change for Wood Village lately, and most of it has been years, if not decades in the making," said City Manager Greg Dirks, a longtime city employee who succeeded retired city manager Bill Peterson last fall. "The sale and development of the former City Hall site will bring much needed housing to Wood Village, as well as high-quality investment along Halsey."

COURTESY GRAPHIC: LRS ARCHITECTS  - This rendering shows roughly what the exterior of the new, 10,000-square-foot Wood Village City Hall will look like when its completed later this year or in early 2021. People's building

Following multiple discussions to determine the best design for its entrance and combined council chambers and public meeting space, the final design phase of the new Wood Village City Hall is nearing completion. The proposed 10,000-square-foot building, whose cost is not to exceed $7 million, will be built on about a 1-acre parcel in the northwestern corner of Donald L. Robertson Park on Northeast Halsey Street.

Most design work is complete, with the exception of the lobby and council chambers, the size and functionality of which has generated discussion and debate at recent meetings.

"The architectural team has gone through a lot of iterations (to accommodate) staff area, conferences, storage and the oversize lobby/council chambers," City Manager Greg Dirks said, noting how the general public relied on rooms in the old City Hall for meeting space. "Our intent is to actually maximize people's ability to use that space (for) evening and weekend activities. There is a need for meeting space in East County for the public sector and nonprofits ... so we want this to be an asset for that as well."

Rather than an open lobby and council chambers separated by doors under an arched-ceiling corridor, the City Council now favors one large room with alcoves, a reception desk and set-apart spaces for when more than one meeting or event is taking place.

COURTESY PHOTO  - GREG DIRKS

"The thought was to build one big Great Room (so) nowhere do you go that's not welcoming," Dirks said. "We're trying to do a lot with this one space."

City officials are meeting with Portland-based LRS Architects this week to discuss redesigning the interior archway to meet structural as well as practical needs.

"Once we get it built and finished, we'll see how the space is used," he said. "It's the (people's) tax dollars that are paying for it. We want them to feel like its their building."

Back to nature

To mitigate the green space — which is frequently used for soccer and other sports groups — City Hall will consume when complete, the city is close to acquiring 4.6 undeveloped acres at Wood Village Boulevard and Arata Road. The city plans to finalize the $407,000 purchase from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde by February.

"This will be new space added to our overall park system space," Dirks said. "The intent is to have a nature park with nature trails, interpretive/educational signage, and some picnic areas, which is consistent with our Parks Master Plan ... It will be very much a nature park."

Proposed upgrades include a new nature play and enhancement area, improved entry/trailhead at Hawthorne Avenue, an expanded trail system and additional recreational opportunities.PMG PHOTO: SHANNON O. WELLS - Hector Ramirez of Colors NW Landscape Construction was busy on Wedneday morning, Jan. 8, planting vegetation in the new bioswales along Arata Road in Wood Village.

The public is invited to learn more about the Donald L. Robertson Park upgrade plans at an Open House from 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, at Wood Village Baptist Church, 23601 N.E. Arata Road.

"We are upgrading and enhancing our park, which will soon be home to our new City Hall that is being designed with a community-first approach," Dirks said. "I am very fortunate to be entrusted with overseeing these and other developments as well as the daily operations of the city.

"My intent and hope is to continue the great work that is occurring by our elected and appointed officials who have put in countless hours of their service to make Wood Village something truly special."


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