Design, engineering to begin on $27M project

The Lake Oswego City Council has advanced plans for rebuilding Boones Ferry Road.

Approval of design and engineering work is the first formal step to push forward with the first phase of the project, which includes repaving, undergrounding utilities and adding bikeways, sidewalks, street trees, lighting and landscaped medians. It doesn’t tie the city to a detailed financing plan, City Manager Scott Lazenby said at the council’s Dec. 17 meeting.

Brant Williams, the city’s economic development director, said improvements on Boones Ferry Road are “the cornerstone project” of the Lake Grove Village Center plan.

The first phase will rebuild a half-mile stretch of Boones Ferry Road from just south of Madrona Street to just north of the intersection at Oakridge and Reese roads. It will also add a pedestrian crossing with a signal at Lanewood Street. Design and engineering are anticipated to take place from 2014 to 2016. Property acquisition would take place in 2015-16. Construction would begin in 2016 and continue through 2018.

The project has been a long time coming. In early 2008, the council adopted a vision and plan for Lake Grove’s long-term success after six years of public discussion. Soon after, planners completed a refinement study for Boones Ferry Road, which officials have described as the centerpiece of a vibrant Lake Grove town center.

A draft funding plan for the estimated $27 million in work calls for using $500,000 in revenue from transportation system development charges, $5 million from a general obligation bond approved by voters last year, $4 million from a grant the city expects to receive and $17.4 million in city-issued bonds.

Urban renewal is considered a primary source of funding improvements envisioned to redevelop the Lake Grove area.

The district straddles Boones Ferry Road and Kruse Way. As the area redevelops, growth in property tax revenue is intended to pay for public projects with the new infrastructure spurring economic development and increasing property values.

The urban renewal plan focuses on three projects: the first phase of reconstructing Boones Ferry Road, parking improvements and the second phase of Boones Ferry Road work.

Last week, Councilor Karen Bowerman said she supported the overall Boones Ferry Road project and moving ahead with engineering but hoped to “take a look at the financing of the project for its relationship to the engineering itself.” She said the city might be able to pare down the work so it didn’t need to go out for another bond in the future.

Bowerman also asked staff members to look for “how there could be long-term commitment from the general fund to ensure the project would be completed.”

Councilor Jeff Gudman said the city already has committed $17 million to $18 million from its general fund to parks, roads and other projects outlined in a five-year plan.

To fund $17 million of the work on Boones Ferry Road with general fund money would have huge consequences for those other initiatives, he said.

“We would have to eliminate all of those projects for the next five years,” Gudman said. “I don’t think that’s a realistic option.”

The council voted 7-0 to move ahead with engineering and design work.

Kara Hansen can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 107. Follow her on Twitter, @LOreporter.

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