Remember the Gateway Action Plan? It’s the $53 million-dollar investment into Gateway funded by local tax increment financing, taking place over the next five years. It features a cornucopia of improvements listed on its proposed project timeline, which was approved by the Portland City Council in August. The Memo has sought updates for projects slated to finish in 2016, as well as projects expected to start in 2017.
The main takeaway from the Portland Development Commission, the agency administrating the plan, is, “We’re still working on it.”
Asked what’s new for 2017, Susan Kuhn, project manager for the GAP, told the Memo: “We’re continuing to focus on projects in the Halsey-Weidler business district.”
In practical terms, that means a branding campaign to create a clear identity for the district, improvements to the east and west entry triangles on Halsey, new crosswalks on NE 102nd Avenue, construction on Gateway Discovery Park and its adjacent apartments and a streetscape project to improve the safety and look of the Halsey-Weidler couplet.
Clear timelines only exist for some of those projects, however. Gateway Discovery Park is on track to be completed in the fall of 2017. The streetscape project’s construction drawings are nearing 100 percent completion, with some construction happening in April or May of this year, according to Kuhn.
The timeline is murkier for the 2017 projects. The PDC is working with Friends of Gateway Green to create the district identity, with no delivery date available yet. Connecting the Gateway Transit Center to the Halsey-Weidler business district is also still on the drawing board.
“We’re talking with our bureau partners, still working out what’s the best approach for those. These were the proposed timelines; we just need to see how we can move those forward,” said Kuhn.
Also in the timeline for 2017 is to start developing new opportunities for mixed-use buildings through an inclusive process.
“We haven’t started those discussions yet with PBOT yet,” said Kuhn, who emphasized that the fiscal year is just beginning.
The story is similar with the $5 million-dollar opportunity fund, which wasn’t allocated to any specific project when the GAP was approved. Instead, the money is to be spend on opportunities as they arise.
“It could be a public process. It could be the community weighs in on it. It’s truly an opportunity fund,” said Kuhn.
Anne Mangan, spokesperson for the PDC, elaborated that use will be decided by discussions with other city development bureaus and citizen planning groups, including the Halsey-Weidler group of local citizen volunteers.
“The bureaus involved will bring ideas to one of the groups. [The ideas] will be discussed by the groups and determined whether [they’re] worthy of using the opportunity funds,” said Mangan.
With its five-year lifespan already started, the clock is ticking for the GAP.