Councilor Jenni Tan and I Published this oped in the West Linn Tidings on July 30, 2015:
We are supportive of the Arch Bridge concept plan because it will bring people and businesses to West Linn and showcase the natural beauty of the area. Based on the overwhelming participation of our community, we have a concept plan that will honor the heart of West Linn. Currently, the plan is up for review at the Planning Commission level. There is plenty of opportunity for citizen comments and participation. The Planning Commission will hold public hearings and can make modifications to the concept plan based on community feedback.
We have to be realistic about the Arch Bridge planning opportunity. We are not dealing with public property. We need to develop a plan that makes financial sense for our local government and also for the property owners who are open to redevelopment.
We have been thoughtful and methodical. The outreach for this project over the past year has been unprecedented. We listened and had several versions of plans prior to the Council adopted concept plan.
The people have driven this process. Developers aren’t interested yet in the Arch Bridge and that is a good thing because there’s plenty of time for West Linn citizens to determine how this area looks. We have been proactive in our planning and that includes the private property owners.
Mayor Axelrod and Councilor Perry have asked for a delay so they can modify the plan. We are open to delaying and modifying the plan, but we must be fiscally responsible. We want a joint meeting with the Planning Commission and Arch Bridge Committee to define how much more money and time should be spent to revise the concept plan. Any modifications must be economically and logistically feasible.
The Arch Bridge Committee has been involved and helped to guide this process from the beginning. The members consist of property owners, Planning Commission members, West Linn Chamber of Commerce, economic development committee, West Linn Historic Review Board, Willamette Heritage Area Coalition, Bolton and Sunset neighborhood members and Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. This diverse group helped to shape and bring different perspectives to the concept plan.
This is not the first delay the concept plan has endured. Allegations of CET grant fraud and town center density requirements were levied. Both of these were disproven. It’s not surprising there is yet another allegation against the concept plan.
Our hope is Councilor Perry and Mayor Axelrod will be open and collaborative by engaging those who invested their time and resources in the concept plan we have today. Those who have worked on the plan are West Linn citizens who have dedicated their time to bettering our community. Together, we can work with all citizens to create a vibrant gathering place in the heart of West Linn.