Recognizing new "political realities," Clackamas County officials are looking outside of Lake Oswego to potentially construct a pedestrian and bicycle bridge.
Currently, there's no way for people to get to the west side of the Willamette River along a 9-mile stretch between Sellwood and Oregon City.
Remaining members of the committee to advise local jurisdictions on the potential bridge — which included Clackamas County Commissioner Paul Savas, Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba and Metro Councilor Christine Lewis — concluded that a wider study area was needed during their Jan. 28 meeting to accept a report on the bridge study between Lake Oswego and Oak Grove. Lake Oswego was not represented at the meeting, because its city council voted in November to withdraw from the process and remove Lake Oswego City Councilor Jackie Manz from the committee.
Engineers have identified feasible bridge alignments between Oak Grove and Lake Oswego that would accommodate light-weight emergency vehicles such as police cars and ambulances, in addition to people walking and biking across the river. But a change in Lake Oswego's elected leadership would be necessary to support either of these potential bridge locations from Oak Grove's Courtney Avenue to Terwilliger Boulevard or Foothills Park.
At the Jan. 28 meeting, the three remaining committee members agreed to take no further action on the proposed bridge alignments given Lake Oswego's recent withdrawal from the process. The three recognized that the "current landing points are not supported by the communities at this time."
A scientific survey in September showed 63% support for the bridge project, with especially strong support in Oak Grove and Milwaukie, but no additional scientific survey was conducted to confirm public support at the end of the project.
Metro has committed $500,000 to fund the bridge feasibility study, but county officials will have to contact Metro staff to determine whether it would be possible to extend the scope of the public process outside of Lake Oswego. So far the feasibility study determined that the bridge could be constructed on a total budget between $28.1 and $51.5 million for Lake Oswego bridge locations to Oak Grove that are between 2,440 feet and 3,775 feet long.
On Oct. 15, the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners decided against a transit lane on the proposed Oak Grove-Lake Oswego Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge. The transit option proposed by Metro would have significantly increased the cost of the project by requiring a larger bridge and adequate road space on the bridge's landing points.
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