Jan 8, 2007

Troutdale Urban Renewal's Molasses Pace

The Troutdale Planning Commission will meet this month to consider the city's proposal for design and construction of a second access road to the city's former sewage treatment plant, the site of Troutdale's urban renewal project. This site is between the Columbia Gorge Premium Outlet stores and the Sandy River(click here for a photo). The secondary road is intended to connect the urban renewal project (known as the Riverfront Renewal Plan) with Troutdale's downtown area.

This secondary road has some unusual challenges. It will be built underneath the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge that crosses the Sandy River. Due to bridge clearance requirements by UP and the low point of the road in relation to the Sandy river, several variances need approval.

At its lowest point, the road could be flooded periodically. City staff says if conditions are right, there's a 10% chance flooding will occur. The road will have to be narrower than city standards. It will also go through a vegetation corridor near the Sandy River. That's where the variances are required.

Meanwhile, the city's negotiations with Chelsea Property Group, owners of Columbia Gorge Premium Outlets, have been glacial in progress. These negotiations are for an extension of Southwest 257th Way through the middle of the outlet mall for primary access to the Riverfront plan area.

It's been three months since the city council voted to move ahead with condemnation proceedings if agreement with Chelsea can't be reached. It's been several weeks since the city sent Chelsea its latest offer. According to city staff, there has been no response from Chelsea.

It would be a shame if the city and Chelsea fail to settle this issue on a friendly basis.

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