Progress in human affairs has come mainly through the bold readiness of human beings not to confine themselves to seeking piecemeal improvements to the way things are done, but to present fundamental challenges in the name of reason to the current way of doing things and to the avowed or hidden assumption on which it rests. - E.H. Carr
Over a period of more than 20 years, members of the Oak Grove community have spent countless hours in County-sponsored public processes focused on re-imagining McLoughlin Blvd. But that’s the extent of the results from these processes – imagining. Either the County is hopelessly inept at turning public process into action, or the processes were never meant to produce actual change on the ground from the outset. With only few exceptions, McLoughlin Blvd remains today a narrow 7-mile long strip of used car dealerships, strip clubs and franchised retail outlets that is zoned C-3. This means that with regard to commercial development, almost anything goes—except housing.
Without judging whether either of these reasons is behind the complete failure of the various public processes, Urban Green and its many community partners have found the lack of change on the ground to be unacceptable, particularly in light of the arrival of an economic development driver as large as the new Park Avenue light rail station.
During the same period that Urban Green was engaged with the Park Avenue Station project, the County had begun yet another public process for allowing the community to voice its concerns and input with regard to the redevelopment of McLoughlin Blvd. Without explaining how this input would be used or turned into zoning changes or other means for changing the character of McLoughlin Blvd, the County created the McLoughlin Area Plan advisory committee (MAP), which began meeting in late 2009.
This county initiated process has continued until the present (now called MAP-IT), with the most of it’s suggestions and committee ideas awaiting some future action from the county.
Urban Green has met with the County planning Department, and testified before the Board of County Commissioners, requesting a stationary zoning overlay for the area surrounding the Park Avenue light rail station. Click here to see the PSU case study. This is the only light rail station in the Northwest US where a station area zoning plan has not been put in place by local government. The purpose of a station area plan is to enhance the economic impact oven area when a light Rail station moves into a new community. The Clackamas County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) and the County Planning Department has prevented this from happening, severely impacting future development on the Mclaughlin corridor.
Urban Green and its partners are continuing to work toward the implementation of new zoning and development regulations that would leverage the economic development opportunities presented by the presence of the light rail terminus at Park Avenue. This ‘Station Community Mixed Use District’ Plan was researched and written by members of the Oak Grove community. Click on the image to the left or on this text to view the document.