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Vision of Rhody's future offered in February meeting posted on 03/01/2021

Clackamas County and MIG Consultants hosted a Zoom meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 10 to present a draft of three design alternatives for the Rhododendron Main Street Site Redevelopment Plan and share community feedback gathered from a survey conducted in December 2020.

The presentation highlighted the community survey participants’ preference for a redevelopment plan that includes rental housing on the site over a design alternative featuring a larger hotel.

Jon Pheanis, the representative for MIG Consultants, presented design alternatives for associated transit, frontage and crossing improvements for the redevelopment site.

These elements have all received positive feedback from the community during the outreach and planning period.

“We’re not starting from scratch, that’s not what this project is about,” Pheanis said. He detailed MIG’s goal of supporting the community’s vision while integrating transportation and land use planning.

“The redevelopment site’s location between the river and the highway poses challenges due to setback requirements,” Pheanis added.

Of the three design concepts, one featured a hotel and additional retail space, while the other two consisted of a mixture or rental housing and retail. The survey results showed a strong preference for rental housing and a general disapproval for the out-of-scale design of a larger structure.

Pheanis stated that Clackamas County and the Oregon Department of Transportation had informed the consultants that zoning requirements would limit the proposed number of housing units on the site and that development would need to comply with a legal requirement to preserve access to the separate lots.

“ODOT is eager to assist the redevelopment in enabling safer access for all users,” said ODOT representative Kate Hawkins.

Hawkins stated a traffic study would be the next step for transportation planning in the community. Hawkins added that many of the proposed changes would be easier to implement after the department sees the construction of a sidewalk.

“We want to work with the community here,” she said.

Brett Fischer, a representative for the owners of the private property at the proposed development site, stated that any development planning would make it difficult to include a location for the Park and Ride service which currently utilizes the lots. Fischer added that access to the private property for use by the Park and Ride was a temporary allowance until the sites were developed.

Senior Planner for Clackamas County Scott Hoelscher stated that the next step of the redevelopment process would entail prioritizing frontage improvements which can only take place pending both funding and the development of the private property at the site.

“The private property’s development is not guided by the county, although the overall redevelopment is a community effort built by consensus we hope,” Hoelscher said.

Hoelscher stated the county would examine the feedback and comments from the community while continuing to access the redevelopment plan.

“It’s a community project, we want to hear from everyone,” Fischer said about the private property owners' desire to incorporate community feedback into their decision-making process.

$68,350  in funding to hire the MIG consulting team came from a Transportation and Growth Management Grant – Quick Response Program from ODOT and Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development.

More information about the project, including a video of the Feb. 10 meeting and a PDF of the draft recommendations, is available online at https://www.clackamas.us/engineering/rhododendron-main-street-redevelopment-plan.

Scott Hoelscher can be emailed at scotthoe@clackamas.us.

By Ben Simpson/MT

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