In order to change the physical circumstances of our community on the ground, one has to have a plan. And planning for redevelopment is a very complicated business, carried out in the Portland metro area by a complex network of individuals and organizations whose work it is to plan for the region’s future.
Portland is blessed by the presence of some of the best community planning resources in the country – at Portland State University’s School of Urban Studies and Planning. In late fall 2009, the community began to plan for partnering with a team of PSU graduate students to develop a plan for the redevelopment of downtown Oak Grove.
Urban Green and the Oak Lodge Community Council (now the Oak Grove Community Council) served as clients for a group of six PSU graduate students who formed themselves into a planning firm called Foothills Planning Associates for the project. They walked the community and the project site, arranged for a community design charrette, assembled economic development information, studied existing zoning and development ordinances (ZDOs), and consulted with their clients in the process of putting together a comprehensive plan for the redevelopment Oak Grove Boulevard in the downtown Oak Grove area.
The result is a highly professional set of recommendations, drawings, and comprehensive planning information that the community can use as it pursues the redevelopment of the project area over time. In fact, the first pieces of this plan were put in place during the course of the building of the Trolley Trail, in 2012 and 2013, as the Trolley Trail crosses Oak Grove Boulevard right in the heart of downtown Oak Grove. New owners of some of the commercial buildings in the area are just recently starting to pick up and put into place other elements of the plan.
In the end, in a very short period of time, this amazing capable group of graduate students put together a highly relevant and workable plan for the community to use as it invests in its future, once again demonstrating the extraordinary resources that PSU can bring to a community project – one that can lead to real changes on the ground.