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Lake Oswego staff have no plans on halting City Hall, Boones Ferry Road projects

PMG FILE PHOTO - City projects are still underway for construction crews. While Lake Oswego City staff have taken ample precautions and heeded Gov. Kate Brown's stay-at-home order issued March 23, essential City operations have yet to halt — construction included.

Right now there are two major construction projects underway — the Boones Ferry Road project that includes full-width street improvements to improve safety and efficiency for people walking, biking and driving, and the construction of the new City Hall.

According to City staff, neither of the projects are being delayed at the moment, and construction crews are taking the necessary precautions that they can.

Brown's executive order heavily restricted or closed many local businesses and services, but the City is open and is still providing essential services, according to Katy Kerklaan, citizen information specialist for Lake Oswego.

"Our hearts go out to the members of our community whose lives and businesses are disrupted," Kerklaan said. "As this crisis unfolds, we will continue active construction on our city projects, and do not plan on any delays. Our goal is to continue to serve our Lake Oswego community in this uncertain time, keep the economy moving and provide essential, well-maintained infrastructure to our residents."

Kerklaan acknowledged that while the City is not shutting any construction projects or contractors down currently, it may change as directives from the government evolve.

She said the Boones Ferry Road project team is taking advantage of schools being closed to work on the new traffic signal near Lake Grove Elementary school and realigning the school driveway — work that wasn't supposed to take place until summer.

According to Assistant City Engineer Stefan Broadus, the City's construction projects are essential because the projects involve improvements to public utilities.

"The Boones Ferry Road project will provide upgraded and more reliable water and stormwater services. The roadway surface and traffic control systems will also be significantly improved, which can help emergency response," Broadus said in an email to the Review. "Additionally, pedestrian infrastructure is a significant component of the project scope, which is helpful to maintain physical and mental health during a Stay Home, Stay Safe situation.

"Furthermore, abandoning construction sites that are in a various states of destruction could in fact be dangerous for the public, and would be unsafe."

In order for City construction teams and contractors to protect themselves, and the public, amid the health crisis, they've moved to virtual project meetings and have been following the "social distancing" guidelines. Hand sanitizer is available for workers and those feeling ill are required to stay home.

"We address every issue as they come up," said Redevelopment Manager Sidaro Sin during an earlier interview with the Review. He said there is the possibility of postponing or halting construction projects but for now, "Our goal is to keep the crews working through this," he added.

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