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The Oregonian: Community can weigh in on the future of Oak Lodge
Author: Dana Tims
Posted: April 16, 2010

OAK GROVE -- An array of moving parts, all of them likely to affect the look and feel of McLoughlin Boulevard from Gladstone to Milwaukie for decades to come, is fast coming together.

The key pieces include planning for a the planned Park Avenue MAX station just south of Milwaukie's city limits, efforts by Portland State University graduate students to incorporate long-term sustainability into downtown Oak Grove and initiation of the second phase of the much more encompassing McLoughlin Area Plan.

The PSU students, all majoring in urban and regional planning and working under the name Foothill Planning Association, are hosting a walking workshop Saturday, April 24.

The goal is to learn from participants about community assets, concerns and ideas for Oak Lodge's future. The group will use information from the workshop to develop preliminary recommendation for "a more viable and sustainable community," said Alicia Crain, group spokeswoman.

"The Oak Lodge Community Council can then take those ideas to the county and say, here's the direction we want to go," Crain said. "It's really an opportunity to focus on the historic Oak Lodge business district and decide in a collaborative way how that area can and should evolve."

As for the McLoughlin Area Plan, the committee working on the project is wrapping up the first phase of its work, which involves developing a "vision framework" for what comes next.

The committee is charged with identifying how and where to increase densities within a half mile of the station to take advantage of transit-oriented development patterns. It also hopes to use a grant from Metro to enhance the station's "green" features.

The terms of the grant mean that the comprehensive plan and zoning changes needed to spur those increased densities must be rolled out for review no later than June 30, 2011, said Shari Gilevich, a Clackamas County senior planner.

"There's definitely a lot going on with all of this right now,'' she said. "We have a lot of work ahead of us."

A state transportation grant is financing much of the planning work for the station.