Major landowners could spend at least $200 million redeveloping the Halsey Street corridor throughout the next decade, based on what consultants studying the roadway's stretch in Fairview, Wood Village and Troutdale say.
Fregonese Associates' prediction calls for the creation of 500 new housing units, 575 additional jobs and 2,600 parking stalls spread across 67 acres of land in the next two to 10 years.
Many of those projects are already in the pipeline. They include an entertainment complex at the former Multnomah Greyhound Park site, a mixed-use development targeting the land under Wood Village City Hall, a massive McMenamins expansion north of Edgefield and a 44-home subdivision in Wood Village.
In the long term, planners forecast $479 million in development, generating at least 1,400 jobs and 1,300 housing units — though those estimates rely on a healthy economy and full build out of less desirable tracts of land.
"We expect the corridor to be a location for employment, (including) small manufacturing and craft manufacturing … (and) serving as a service center or amenity to the major employers that are just off the corridor, like the Vista Business Park," said Chris Zahas, an economist. "(There will) probably be less in the way of office uses."
City officials will have limited control over what, where and when private developers build. But consultants say East Multnomah County can help spur construction by creating a unified brand, adding pedestrian-friendly roadway improvements and tasking a three-city compact with leadership duties.
In particular, government advisors recommend adding decorative signposting — much like Troutdale's "Gateway to the Gorge" arch — where Halsey Street crosses Fairview Parkway, 223rd Avenue, 238th Drive and 257th Avenue.
Roadway improvement costs have been pegged at roughly $1.2 million for Fairview, $900,000 for Wood Village and $3.3 million for Troutdale. Almost all of Troutdale's funds would be directed toward the McMenamin's parcel on Halsey Street north of Edgefield.
"It's not chump change. That is a lot of money," noted Wood Village City Manager Bill Peterson.
"It won't all be garden-level mixed-use development on (Halsey), it just won't be," Peterson continued. "However, as values increase, the probability of that level of investment — investing to what the zone will let you do — gets higher."
Other proposed changes would widen bike lanes, add wheelchair ramps, plant traffic islands and install flashing pedestrian crossing lights. A traffic signal is proposed where Halsey meets Wood Village Boulevard.
Planners also note the lack of central "bike hub" parking in downtown Troutdale, despite the city's reputation as a kickoff point for cyclists taking on the Historic Columbia River Highway.
While all three cities call their zoning designations by different names, the rules around Halsey Street already prohibit warehousing and heavy industrial uses, plus more auto-oriented structures like drive-thrus and car dealerships.
The finalized study, branded as Main Streets on Halsey, was released during an open house on Wednesday, May 31, at Wood Village Baptist Church.
Among the movers and shakers in attendance was prominent Fairview businessman Dean Hurford, who said he's in favor of more commercial development.
Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick said locals shouldn't assume the needs of bicyclists outweigh commuters' priorities for Halsey, which has relatively quick travel times to Interstate 84 and other thoroughfares.
"It's not meant for one (mode of transport) to be more dominant than the other. We just want to give people a choice," she explained. "There's still going to be auto traffic."
Tia Biornstad, a private citizen, told several city planners she was skeptical of their changes.
The 36-year-old Fairview resident lives in an apartment complex on Northeast Park Lane built on land she said once belonged to her family's farm.
The three-story building looks new, but the walls are thin.
"(Developers) just want the most money out of it as possible, which is understandable but not very effective — or efficient — for most residents," she said.