Lake Oswego's Wizer Block construction project is about to hit another milestone: the removal of one of the two tall cranes that tower over the mixed-use development. But before that happens later this month, developer Patrick Kessi invited two groups of City officials and other dignitaries to climb one of the cranes for a scenic view of downtown.
On Tuesday afternoon, the two groups climbed to the top of the 171-foot-tall crane in the center of the site. Technically, it's the shorter of the two — the other crane is 212 feet tall — but for the intrepid group of climbers, 171 feet was plenty.
The climb took about six minutes per person and about 12 minutes for an entire group to reach the top, because only one person was allowed on each section of ladder at a time. After taking a few minutes to enjoy the views, each group got to hang on while the crane operator performed a 360-degree spin. The rotation speed might have seemed quite fast when viewed from the ground, but for the climbers at the top near the center, it was a steady and gentle ride.
The taller crane at the corner of A Avenue and First Street is scheduled to be removed in a multi-day process that will begin on Monday, May 22. Both lanes of First Street will be closed May 22-24, but the south end of the street will remain open to give visitors access to the Lake View Village parking garage via Evergreen Road. Flaggers will be present during the day to direct traffic, and the street will remain closed overnight.
The work is expected to be completed by the end of the day on Wednesday, May 24, unless high winds or other inclement weather slow the process down. In any case, officials said any extension of the street closures will not last beyond Friday, May 26.
"This is another important and exciting milestone on Block 137," Kessi said on Tuesday. "The 'going vertical' stage is done. Now it's on to the exterior facade work, which will give the buildings their texture and character, and the inside detail finishes which will produce high quality residences."
When it's completed in early 2018, the Wizer Block will include 200 residential units, almost 43,000 square feet of commercial space and parking for 430 cars, of which 135 spaces will be for public parking. Kessi says that a waiting list for the apartments contains more than 300 names.