Trees tagged for removal at Lake Oswego's Providence Mercantile campus
Motorists driving through the intersection of Kruse Way and Boones Ferry Road in Lake Oswego have likely noticed a series of yellow ribbons tied around the trees that border the Providence Mercantile campus.
Those ribbons indicate that each of the tagged trees is now scheduled for removal as a planned redevelopment of the site by CenterCal Properties moves through the design review process.
"They are requesting tree removal along with the redevelopment application," senior planner Johanna Hastay told The Review this week. "There's really no way to preserve most of the trees on the site and redevelop the entire property."
Providence began marketing the campus for sale two years ago, and CenterCal responded with an initial plan to build a retail center anchored by a large grocery store on the site. But that idea got a lukewarm reception from neighbors and City planners, who had envisioned high-density housing there.
In response, CenterCal — whose background is in retail centers such as Bridgeport Village — partnered with Portland development firm Trammell Crow to bring in additional housing expertise. The result: a "mixed-use village" that would include 225 luxury apartments in a four-story central building, along with several one-story retail buildings intended for restaurants, small shops and services.
The new design, which was presented at a neighborhood meeting earlier this year, also included a public plaza with fountains and landscaping. It has now been fleshed out and further developed, according to CenterCal Development Manager Alec Paddock, but the basic details of the project have not changed since the neighborhood gathering.
And City planning officials recently deemed the redevelopment application complete, Hastay said, which means the project is ready to be evaluated by the City's Development Review Commission. A hearing is currently scheduled for Aug. 6.
As part of the application, CenterCal and Trammell Crow requested the removal of 48 trees from the Mercantile site using a Type II removal permit. The yellow ribbons were added to the trees because of that request, Hastay said, but the removal is tied to the redevelopment application and none of the trees will be able to be removed without approval of the overall proposal.
Providence is also a co-applicant for the tree removal, since its sale of the property to CenterCal is contingent on the redevelopment plan being approved.
"Technically, Providence still owns the property, so the property owners and their co-applicants, Trammell Crow and CenterCal, are requesting the removal. But it's all tied to that project," Hastay said.
The companies plan to separately file an application to remove an additional 46 trees using an invasive species removal permit, Hastay said. If approved, the invasive trees could be removed by Providence at any time, even without the rest of the project being approved. But Hastay said the companies appear to want to get the project approved first before dealing with the invasive trees.
Lake Oswego's Type II permits usually require at least one mitigation tree to be planted for each tree removed, but Hastay said that in the case of the Mercantile campus, that rule is superseded by the Lake Grove Village Center overlay, which requires that the combined inches of removed trees be replaced.
"So if you take down a 30-inch tree, you have to replace 30 inches of tree," she said. "The minimum replacement size is 3 inches, so let's say you took down a 30-inch tree; you'd have to put at least 10 three-inch trees back."
The site is also subject to a landscaping requirement that mandates a certain number of trees and shrubs based on the property's square footage. Between that and the mitigation requirements, Hastay said, the applicants will likely need to plant approximately 130-160 mitigation trees on the site, not including street trees.