Tigard will hold project updates at Symposium Coffee

by: FILE PHOTO - Construction is expected to start next week in downtown Tigard from the WES station to Pacific Highway and Johnson Street. When finished, the year-long project is intended to make Main Street more walkable and encourage shopping.Prepare yourselves, Tigard, construction is coming to Southwest Main Street.

The city’s downtown is set to receive a major overhaul.

Crews plan to begin work Monday on the city’s Main Street Green Street project. Construction is expected to last through November.

For years, the city has been preparing for the project, which is meant to create an identity for the downtown, said Kim McMillan, a project manager for the city in charge of the Main Street project.

The construction will completely rebuild the southern portion of Main Street, from the railroad tracks to Pacific Highway at Johnson Street.

When finished, the downtown will have a strong pedestrian emphasis, city officials said, with wider sidewalks, safer pedestrian crossings, additional lighting and landscaping. The city will also add more environmentally sustainable elements, including storm runoff, similar to systems used on nearby Bunrham Street.

The $2.54 million construction project is paid for through a grant from Metro, the regional government.

City officials say the new street design will make the downtown more attractive, encourage walkability and improve circulation for motorists, who have long used the road as a shortcut around congestion on Pacific Highway.

Some of the work downtown has already been done.

In August, the city began work on a new Fanno Creek Trail path through downtown and opened new public parking on Burnham Street in July for shoppers and downtown employees.

The city’s plans for public art in the downtown core are also tied into the project, though city officials say the art likely won’t be installed at each end of Pacific Highway until after construction wraps up.

This isn’t the first construction project downtown has seen in recent years. The city rebuilt Main Street from Pacific Highway to Southwest Scoffins Street last year and spent two years re-constructing Southwest Burnham Street — which connects the downtown to Hall Boulevard — in 2010.

The city will use Kodiak Pacific Construction to complete the project. The Sherwood-based company also worked on the Burnham project.

“They have experience working in similar business districts and understand the need to keep our downtown open for business,” McMillan said.

Despite reservations from some businesses, city leaders have said they will work to reduce the impact on local businesses as much as possible.

“While the project is underway, the downtown will be open for business,” McMillan said. “Streets and sidewalks will be accessible, and parking will be available along Main Street and at several public parking lots.”

Crews will perform some work at night to alleviate their impact on businesses.

The city will hold regular meetings on Tuesdays beginning Jan. 14 for concerned business owners and customers to talk with city officials and construction crews. The meetings will be held at 7 a.m. at Symposium Coffee, 12345 S.W. Main St.

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