New 4-story building proposed with 15 parking spaces at the corner of 10th and Main streets

The developer of a "gateway" property in Oregon City has increased the proposed number of residential units on a four-story mixed-use building.

PHOTO BY: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - A vacant site owned by the city's Urban Renewal Commission at 10th and Main streets is subject to a pending $110,000 June 21 sale to Willamette Stone LLC.Derek Metson, the architect for Willamette Stone LLC, told the city's Urban Renewal Commission that the three floors on top of ground-floor retail would be going from 33 proposed residential units to 36. With the exception of a couple of houses and apartments leftover from the city's pioneer days, the project hopes to become the only housing in downtown Oregon City.

PHOTO COURTESY: WILLAMETTE FALLS MEDIA CENTER - Derek Metson, the architect for Willamette Stone LLC, shows plans for a new 10th/Main building to the Oregon City Urban Renewal Commission.With retail uses during the day and more residential parking needs at night, the developer will be seeking further reductions in the minimum parking requirements. Downtown zoning already reduces parking requirements by half, in an attempt to create a more vibrant area for commerce.

"We [would] just hit that minimum parking requirement, but we're offering 15 spaces on site," Metson said.

The vacant site owned by the Oregon City's Urban Renewal Commission at 10th and Main streets has a pending $110,000 sale to Willamette Stone. The ground floor of the proposed building would have a dividable space for one or two retailers.

Willamette Stone has done several other projects on constrained sites throughout the region, and city commissioners were generally impressed with its plans for quarter-acre site tucked between Main Street and the railroad tracks.

City Commissioner Renate Mengelberg was unanimously voted in by the other commissioners as the new URC chair at the Feb. 7 meeting. As previously reported, city officials are welcoming renewed interest in downtown development, including a potential Main Street hotel near 12th Street. Mengelberg offered suggestions for the 10th Street development after praising its design.

"It's an attractive, very clean, modern look but it's still appropriate to the surrounding development," she said. "If there's a color you could choose or a texture you could choose that's a little more cheerful, that would be my preference."

Because of the Vertical Housing Program administered by the Oregon Housing and Community Services, the developer would be eligible for a 60 percent tax break on its Oregon City property taxes for 10 years.

Oregon City Economic Development Director Eric Underwood said if that incentive weren't in place, it may have been many more years before that property were back on the tax rolls.

City officials have contacted Union Pacific and the state's transportation department to start the process for a railroad quiet zone at the 10th Street/Singer Hill crossing. As part of the requirements for a quiet zone, Oregon City has closed the left-hand turns in and out of Dutch Brothers and installed medians to block drivers from crossing double-yellow lines in attempting to beat the trains after the crossing arms have lowered.

People who park in the 15-car garage under the new four-story building across the street from Dutch Brothers would also have to make only right turns to and from 10th Street. People exiting the new parking garage would have to drive up Singer Hill Road and find a way to get back down the hill in order to get downtown.

Underwood said that the developer is experienced and has taken suggestions from citizens during a public charrette in October, which was required by the sale agreement to help design the building.

"This is a giant leap from where it was," said City Commissioner Brian Shaw, the outgoing chair of the URC.

Willamette Stone is scheduled for a pre-application meeting on Feb. 28. Design review on the building application is expected to follow this spring.

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