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The City is looking to reopen the door to its past in the historic but underutilized section of West Linn near the Arch Bridge. We want to bring people and businesses back and showcase the natural beauty of the area.

This project will create a viable master plan and implementation strategy for the Arch Bridge/Bolton area that is at the heart of West Linn. In fact, the Bolton Neighborhood is called the "heart of West Linn" in the 2006 neighborhood plan.

We have included the community throughout this entire planning process and don’t want the input, ideas and suggestions to stop.

Since we are reinventing this section of the city, we feel it deserves a new name and we want you to help name it.

 

Some history:

In May 1913, the West Side Improvement Club met in the parlors of the Oregon City Commercial Club and vote 50 to 7 in favor of incorporating the districts of West Oregon City, Bolton, Sunset and Willamette. They cited the need for utilities and other improvements.

Mr. B.T. McBain, representative of the Crown Columbia Paper Company, offered $5 for the bet name for the proposed town.

Suggested names were: Belvidere, Birmingham, Dale, Fallsview, Firland, Fir City, Harriman, Hoodview, Hillmount, Lee McBain City, McBainville, Mill Falls, Millbrook, Millsboro, Millsburg, Moonlight, Oakwood, Oregon View, Parkfalls, Richmond, Rosedale, Rosemere, Rose City, Rosecliff, Sunset City, Sunnyside, Strahorn, Twilight, Westlynn, Willamette Links, Wiloreton and Woodrow.

Originally, all suggested names were voted down, then they reconsidered and settled on Millsburg.

After a week of argument because few people liked the name Millsburg, the name of the new city was changed to West Linn on June 27, 1913. The name was selected to honor the old pioneer town of Linn City. Incorporation papers were presented to the county court and incorporation occurred Aug. 15, 1913.

 

We trust the community of West Linn can come up with a great name we can all agree on, something our ancestors 100 years ago couldn’t do.

This section of West Linn is among the city’s oldest with a rich history and we want the new name to reflect the old along with the new.

Things we will be considering during the selection process include:

  • What is the name’s origin?
  • What is the meaning of the name?
  • What is the significance of the name?
  • How does the name relate to the planning area?

A committee will be formed to narrow down the names and consider public input to make a final selection.

 

How to participate:

Leave a comment with your nomination and (if you wish) a compelling argument for your name. See a name in the comments that you like? Vote for it by giving it a thumbs up. Please be respectful with your comments, we reserve the right to remove any inappropriate remarks. All suggestions will be accepted until Oct. 31.

The City kicked off this project at a City Council meeting on Jan. 27, 2014. The project is being guided by an advisory committee comprised of various community members and a technical committee with staff from various agencies is also providing input and guidance. Check out Advisory Committee Chair and City Councilor Jody Carson's video below.

LMN Architects is serving as the lead consultant on the project with Studio Cascade (Public Involvement), Walker Macy (Open Spaces and Parks), ECONorthwest (Market and Economics), and Nelson-Nygaard (Transportation Planning) acting as subconsultants. Studio Cascade talks more about their role in the video below.

For Background, the City has worked on three recent planning efforts in the area: Imagine West Linn (2008), West Linn OR 43 Conceptual Design Plan (2008) and the 2011 Highway 43/Willamette Falls Drive Vision and General Feasibility Assessment (Highway 43 Vision).

Outreach for the project includes:
- A survey sent out in March which garnered 487 responses
- A three-day storefront studio and associated community workshops held in April with nearly 150 participants
- Walking tours in August with more than 40 participants

The Existing Conditions report was presented to the City Council on April 14, 2014. A progress report memo and presentation with draft recommendations and concepts was presented to the Council and Planning Commission in a joint meeting on July 7, 2014.

The project is funded through a $220,000 Metro Community Planning and Development grant, which is funded through the construction excise tax. The City is providing an $80,000 in-kind match.

West Linn is the City of Hills, Trees and Rivers. However, access to the Willamette River in West Linn is not as great as it could be. The Arch Bridge/Bolton plan looks to reconnect the community and the river.

The plan hopes to achieve greater physical and visual access to the Willamette River through advanced development of West Bridge Park and development of underutilized areas near the West Linn Paper Company. Such changes could include improved trails, canoe and kayak access at West Bridge Park and scenic overlooks at the park as well as near the Arch Bridge.

Find out more about the plans for the open spaces and parks from Ken Pirie and Mike Zilis of Walker Macy, and Ken Worcester, the City’s Parks and Recreation Director, in the two videos below.

See more about preliminary plans in the July Progress Report Presentation and in the open space plan (below).

We have heard from the community the need to improve traffic at Willamette Drive and Willamette Falls Drive. We have also heard the need for more sidewalks, trails and connectivity throughout West Linn.

Improvements and modifications to streets, sidewalks and trails are a significant part of the project.

This plan takes those needs into careful consideration. Consultants had many ideas, including roundabouts, light signals and the realignment of roads.

One major component is the realignment of the intersection of Willamette Drive and Willamette Falls Drive. The realignment would straighten out the tangle of streets and oddly shaped intersections to a traditional right-angled intersection with four legs, wide crosswalks and a signal that would control traffic movements.

As for trails, the project looked at increasing bike and pedestrian connectivity throughout the study area. The plan connects West Bridge Park trails with a new trail being constructed that will eventually run from Willamette Park to the Arch Bridge.

Find out more by watching Kate Drennan of Nelson-Nygaard (below). Preliminary sketches of this are in the in the July Progress Report Presentation.

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Though this project spans from old Bolton Fire Station, along Highway 43, to the Arch Bridge, the most substantial changes will occur in the area around the West Linn Paper Company, old police station and continuing up the hill to I-205.

A goal of this plan is to create a gateway into West Linn at the end of the Arch Bridge, so those travelling from Oregon City into West Linn feel as though they have entered the heart of the city.

The paper mill near Willamette Falls originally opened in 1889 and has seen a number of changes over time. In 1997, the mill reopened as the West Linn Paper Company. Over the years, the mill has advanced and automated its systems. Doing so requires the need for less space.

At this time, the paper company is looking to sell a portion of its property for redevelopment, which could provide a great opportunity for new development, enhancement of the riverfront and opening up views of the river.

For those who remember the West Linn Inn, built in 1918 and closed in the 1980s, that was perched near the paper mill, there could be a possibility of placing a new hotel in the area.

The project area includes potentially reconfiguring major streets, redevelopment, new investment and infill. Possible development could include but is not limited to higher-density housing; a hotel; restaurant space as well as retail and service space.

Find out more about these changes in the video from Mark Hinshaw of LMN Architects and in the draft plan for the center (below).

See how the plan is evolving and check out the latest concepts in the October memo and development plan.

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The overall goal of this plan is to make West Linn a place where folks want to live, visit and linger – not just pass through on their way somewhere else.

To create this plan, consultants and city staff studied the area, the traffic and looked at market demand.

We asked:

  • What do consumers want? Restaurants? Retail?
  • What do residents want? Mixed-use housing? River access? Trails? A hotel?
  • What do commuters want? Better traffic flow? Congestion fixes?
  • What do businesses want? Office space? Meeting space?

Taking all community input into consideration, the consultants have devised a plan that could include higher density housing; a hotel; restaurant space as well as service space.

Find out more about the project's overall recommendations through attachments below:

- Watch Anne Fifield of Blue Mountain Economics describe the market and opportunities in the study area. 

- The Study Area map depicts the area that is being examined as part of the project. It is divided into primary and secondary areas. The primary area encompasses properties and streets that hold the greatest possibility for creating a town center over time. The secondary area includes adjacent parts of the community that would be most affected by the development of a town center.

See more about preliminary plans in the July Progress Report Presentation.

Watch the presentation to the City Council and Planning Commission October 6th