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Cell tower proposed next to local school

AT&T is requesting Oregon City’s approval to construct a wireless communications facility behind John McLoughlin Elementary School.

by: AT&T - A rendering of the view from the southeast of the proposed cell-phone tower at McLoughlin Elementary in Oregon City.Designed to fill a significant cell-phone coverage gap in the area, the 75-foot support tower would be camouflaged as a faux fir tree. In the new 12-by-26-foot fenced equipment shelter on the school property, AT&T could contract with other companies to share the coverage.

The Oregon City School District has signed the land-use application that includes a landscaped compound for the “tree” cell tower. But comments are still coming in to influence the city’s approval, and the Hazel-Grove Westling Farms Neighborhood Association will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, at the Oregon City Methodist Church, 18955 South End Road.

Tom O’Brien, neighborhood association co-chairman, believes locals should demand greener and less expensive solutions to the current costly infrastructure using unsightly towers and back-up power.

“Cell-phone companies fail to take advantage of technology that could significantly increase their own revenues as well as their ability to serve more customers better,” O’Brien said. “According to some experts, small cell technology can boost a network’s capacity tenfold.”

After comments have been received from all the appropriate sources, a member of the Oregon City Planning Department will present the findings to the Planning Commission with a recommendation.