Neighbors oppose developments of 'local treasures' in favor of housing at Gladstone's Abernethy Court, Milwaukie's Turning Point Church

Summer is always a busy time for construction, but this summer has turned out to be an especially busy one for newly proposed controversial developments.

Abernethy Court

Gladstone City Council, in a 6-0 unanimous decision last week, denied the application for the 50-unit apartment complex proposed near Abernethy Court and the so-called Olson Wetland.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Gladstone's Olson Wetland is threatened by a 48-unit development being proposed off of Abernethy Court and Abernethy Lane.Evidence submitted by the Oregon Department of State Lands suggested the possibility of wetlands being on the applicant's property, so this triggered a requirement from Gladstone Municipal Code (as determined by the city attorney) to have a wetland delineation performed before the application was approved. Mayor Tammy Stempel recused herself from the Aug. 2 decision, because she helped opponents of the project find ways to block the project.

The developer may decide that the project is too expensive to develop when the delineation report determines necessary setbacks and where he's allowed to build. Project opponents are working on trying to use some government-funded acquisition programs to get him to sell the property to the city so it can be used as public green space.

"Because of where his property is situated, if there is any semblance of wetland on his site, given the slope of his property and the fill permits he would have to get, it would be extremely expensive," said project opponent Steven Worsley.

Turning Point Church

Nearby wetlands don't necessarily mean that a project will be stopped. On May 25, Milwaukie Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of the proposed row-house subdivision at 13333 S.E. Rusk Road, which is the current site of Turning Point Church along Highway 224.

The developer is still proposing 92 housing units, but they're shifted farther to the east to avoid removing the white oak trees on the west side of the site near North Clackamas Park and Mt. Scott Creek.

Milwaukie City Council is the final decision-maker on this proposal and will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Sept. 5 in City Hall, 10722 S.E. Main St.

Oak Grove self-storage

In between these two proposals, Oak Grove neighbors are also concerned about traffic caused by potential new construction.

Clackamas County Planning Department's approval to construct a three-story, approximately 120,000-square-foot self-storage facility has been appealed. The proposal includes associated parking, utilities and landscaping, across from the Oak Grove Fred Meyer, 3260 S.E. Oak Grove Blvd. Neighbors have pointed out that traffic backup along Fred Meyer (mostly westbound) to double yellow line raises safety issues for parking and traffic access to the proposed storage facility. 

The county's land-use hearings officer will consider whether the project can be stopped at 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10, in the Clackamas County Development Services Building Auditorium, 150 Beavercreek Road, Oregon City.

Oatfield House

Exactly a week later at the same location, the hearings officer will again consider granting a demolition permit for the pioneer family's Philip Oatfield House, 14928 S.E. Oatfield Road.

The 11 a.m. hearing on Aug. 17 is a second attempt by the current property owner of the house that's been a county historic landmark since November 1987.

On April 20, county hearings officer Fred Wilson said the owner failed to present sufficient evidence to comply with county standards for demolition.

Oak Lodge History Detectives are still raising money to move and restore the house that's been declared a public nuisance after falling into disrepair.

The house was most recently occupied in 2011, when Frances Rothschild died. Her family sold it in 2014 to a development company.

PHOTO BY: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Lennar, a subdivision developer razed some buildings on the former evangelical compound in Jennings Lodge, where it hopes to get a permit to demolish historic buildings.

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