To: Board of Commissioners
From: McLoughlin Area Plan Implementation Team (MAP-IT)
Re: Quarterly Report of Activities
Honorable Chair and Commissioners:
Since our last report to you on June 30, our committee has met three times and subcommittees have met a number of times.
Listed below are our items of primary focus during the past three months:
Street Lighting – It is a pleasure to report that the signature gathering effort by MABA is going well. At present, we have 70 signatures with 17 pending. In order to reach the minimum of 51% of property holders, we need 89 signatures. We would like to get more than that if at all possible. This project stands a good chance of success and will result in the enlargement of the lighting district to encompass the length of McLoughlin Boulevard from Park Avenue south to Glen Echo. We appreciate your support of Dan Johnson of the Transportation Department and CCSD#5 as he works to acquire the last bit of funding needed for the necessary infrastructure to begin lighting installation.
Drive to Zero Campaign – This campaign should gain momentum as street lights are installed on McLoughlin. Adequate lighting has the potential to dramatically reduce the incidence of accidents, such as the recent pedestrian fatality on one of the unlit portions of McLoughlin.
Concord School – Our committee (through some of its members) has become active in the Concord Partnership, an ad hoc citizen coalition formed to investigate ways to save and reuse Concord Elementary School, a school which was closed and declared surplus by the North Clackamas School District some time ago. A well-known developer has met with the School District and the Concord Partnership, and is involved in planning community involvement to design a plan for the building. They are working to preserve its architectural heritage while incorporating features such as offices or housing as well as making space available for a community center.
Design Overlay Suggestions for Sections of McLoughlin Boulevard – Our Design Subcommittee, chaired by MAP-IT member and architect Nate Burton, has continued its efforts to educate MAP-IT on the economic advantages of changes to zoning along McLoughlin to allow for somewhat denser, mixed-use development. We had a planning exercise at our August meeting in which all members of the committee voiced their wishes for the future of McLoughlin, compared to its present state. It was encouraging to see the consensus among business and community leaders on improvements needed to assist economic stimulation of the area. At our September meeting, a local developer and the Planning Director of Metro met with us as a follow-up to that meeting. There were many positive suggestions made on ways to start this process and sources of funding to aid in the effort. We intend to follow through on this effort, since it is an important part of the community improvements asked for in MAP I and MAP II. The recent opening of the Orange Line light rail station at Park Avenue has emphasized the importance of moving ahead. There is increasing interest in housing opportunities close to the light rail station and to bus lines connecting to it. The time is ripe to prepare for these developments as interest increases and applications materialize.
Open Space Preservation – Our Environmental Subcommittee, chaired by Terry Gibson, continues to champion the importance of preserving the positive characteristics of the area in which we live, and the importance of restoring those areas which have become damaged or degraded. The restoration of the Boardman wetlands, a project of great importance to Terry’s subcommittee, is still a work in progress. He has scheduled numerous community volunteer work days as part of this effort. The Schoolyard Farms project at Candy Lane School is going well. The farm, in operation on the grounds of Candy Lane School, has broad community support and involves the students as well as their parents, selling its surplus in shares to families in the surrounding area. Terry is in discussions to expand this project to other schools in the district.
Responding to your request, listed below are those areas where we feel that the County Commission could take immediate action to support one or more of the projects or programs we are studying. The first two are repetitions of our requests in our June 30 report:
- The proposed sidewalk and bicycle path improvements on Jennings between McLoughlin and Oatfield are, we know, on the construction schedule for FY 2016. We urge you to complete them as quickly as possible to alleviate the dangers to the pedestrians and cyclists who use the road daily, especially those of grade school age.
- The “Drive to Zero” campaign on McLoughlin dovetails nicely with the street lighting project as well as our continuing dialogues with ODOT (with your support) on needed improvements to pedestrian crossings on the Boulevard.
- With the opening of the Orange Line at Park Avenue, development pressures around that area of McLoughlin will continue to increase, especially with the continuing inflow of population looking for housing with convenient transportation options. We need the Planning Department to begin its study of possible changes to current zoning along McLoughlin which would allow for multi-use buildings to accommodate some of that need and support further economic expansion along the Boulevard. While we understand the Planning staff is currently tied up with ensuring marijuana land use regulations are in place by the end of 2015, we look forward to engaging them in zoning and development issues along McLoughlin Boulevard in 2016.
As always, we intend to be part of the solution to these challenges, with your cooperation.
Finally, we thank you for your continued support of our efforts in facilitating the implementation of the programs and projects identified in MAP I and MAP II.
Ed Gronke, Chair
Jennifer Harding, Vice-Chair
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