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Letters: Riverfront Park; Willamette Falls; light rail

Back in 1998, the city of Milwaukie identified the riverfront park as a priority project. In the last couple years, City Council has rated the park as a top priority and we are starting to see things take shape.

At the end of the year in 2012, we saw the opening of Klein Point on the north end of the park through the help of funds received by Metro and a generous land donation by the Klein family.

This year we applied for two grants and asked for matching funds from the Kellogg Good Neighbor fund to build a trail, boat ramp, restrooms, parking and to relocate power poles. We were successful and will receive funds from the Oregon Marine Board and Oregon Parks and Recreation. We now have approximately $2.5 million to get Milwaukie Riverfront Park underway.

By the end of next year we will have a re-contoured park, pathway by the river, a new boat launch, two parking areas and other amenities.

We still have a ways to go to finish the park, but we are getting there. So far the park is really turning into a regional partnership, and I’m sure folks from all over will see this as an attraction and come visit our city.

We still have a ways to go. There’s a capital campaign to help raise the money needed to complete the middle section of the park. Know a business that wants to sponsor a community space or a person that would like to see a playground at the river? Let us know, we want to make this YOUR park.

For more information on the capital campaign and to see updates on the project, visit milwaukieoregon.gov/communitydevelopment/riverfront-park, or contact Parks & Sustainability Director JoAnn Herrigel at 503-786-7503 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Jeremy Ferguson

Milwaukie mayor

Participation needed

The date of this writing follows our July 27 First City Celebration on Main Street.

The “First” modifies “City” and not Celebration, Oregon being the first city west of the Missouri River having a formal charter that specifies the nature of its elected municipal government. Of course, this First City was the capital of the Oregon Territory and was founded because of its great waterfall that provided power for early industry and that formed the gateway to the fertile soils of the upper Willamette Valley.

That waterfall-site was the industrial center of Oregon City dating back to the opening of the territory’s first saw mill completed by John McLoughlin in 1832. Blue Heron bankruptcy represented an end to that industrial era and ushered in the beginning of a new era. The vision for that new era is our responsibility.

At the First City Festival, I along with three others had the honor and privilege of addressing festival participants, talking about the vision process for this Willamette Falls Legacy site. Those who addressed the festival’s participants were: Oregon City’s manager — David Frasher (does not rhyme with masher); our region’s representative to the council of the Metro Regional Government — Carlota Collette; chairman of the Clackamas County Board of Commission — John Ludlow; and myself. After our address, we blew four mechanical loud horns whose blast symbolically announced the shift change from one era into the next. The vision for that new era is to be developed through a master-planning process.

That master plan for the site is to be developed through a public process and presented to the Oregon City Planning Commission by April of 2014 and later to the Oregon City Commission. There are four core values that guide the process:

n Public Access—ensuring places for the public to gather and have access to Willamette Falls (which has not been available to public access for 150 years and which is second only to Niagara Falls for annual waterfall flow in North America).

n Economic Redevelopment—providing jobs and prosperity.

n Healthy Habitat—maintaining, restoring and protecting the unique ecosystem of fish, wildlife and plants along the river.

n Historic and Cultural Interpretation—providing opportunities to connect to the heritage and history as well as current cultural practices related to the Falls.

This master-planning process is one in which everyone is a stakeholder and in which everyone can get involved by accessing the project website at rediscoverthefalls.com and filling out a survey, by participating in public meetings and by corresponding directly to:

Willamette Falls Legacy Project

c/o Christina Robertson-Gardiner

Community Development Department—City of Oregon City

P. O. Box 3040

Oregon City OR 97045

In Christina’s words: “Through this process we want to create a strong inspirational vision that is rooted in economic feasibility, but that looks forward to seeing a vibrant active space that honors those who have come before us, provides opportunities to create a healthier habit and brings back productive family-wage jobs to our community.”

Please become part of this process.

Doug Neeley

Oregon City mayor

Light rail is the problem

I think everyone can agree that the Interstate 5 bridge needs to be replaced. The question is: How do we go about it? And which way is the most cost effective?

Oregon’s elected officials are not listening to the taxpayers, the people who voted them into office. It is obvious that the elected officials in Washington listened to the taxpayers there. Keep in mind that two Clackamas County commissioners lost their jobs last November because they wouldn’t listen to the majority of taxpayers in Clackamas County. This trend is going to continue.

The problem with the CRC is light rail. The majority of taxpayers in both states have said no. There is so much interstate commerce that uses this bridge is the reason for needing a new bridge.

To improve the flow of traffic would require more lanes. If light rail is built on the bridge, then there is no room for more lanes. So, then what is the point? The flow of traffic would be no different than it is now. In fact it would probably be worse. Some will say what about the future? What future is there for our kids and grand-kids if projects like this financially strap them? Wisconsin built a bridge for $3.6 million. Not $3.4 billion or $2.75 billion. A bridge at or near the cost of the Wisconsin bridge would be more effective.

To our elected officials throughout the state of Oregon: If you would rather listen to your campaign contributors and NOT the taxpayers, then maybe it is time for you to seek other employment. This also pertains to judges, who, by the way, are also elected officials.

Jeff Molinari

Milwaukie

We welcome submissions from readers on local issues for our Opinion page. Please send your thoughts by noon Friday to Raymond Rendleman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Keep Letter to the Editor submissions under 400 words; longer submissions will be considered for Community Soapboxes. Submissions may be edited for length, grammar, libel and appropriate taste. Letters must be accompanied by a full name, a telephone number and street address for verification purposes. Readers are also invited to call 503-546-0742 with story ideas and comments.




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