With $53 million dollars of urban renewal money to be invested into Gateway in the coming five years, residents may be wondering just what that’s going to look like and how their neighborhood might change.

The Gateway Action Plan details 27 different items to be implemented, each with their own timelines. They’ll be focused on just three areas, however: Central Gateway, the Gateway Transit Center and the Halsey-Weidler Corridor.

While we won’t be looking at all of them this month, the Memo has sought updates for the GAP projects being implemented in the coming year.

Discovery Park and Adjacent Mixed-Use Development
Discovery Park and its adjacent development may already be familiar to readers. Northeast Halsey is an active construction site between Northeast 104th and Northeast 106th as crews work on the three-acre park set to open in October 2017.

But what may be less known are new details on the controversial one-acre mixed-use development adjacent to the park. A new proposed design could see the building get two stories taller, adding additional subsidized housing. This is according to Justin Douglas, Policy Manager for the Portland Development commission.

He told the Memo, “The development team is looking at a concept that could include additional units that would be the workforce housing units. It would be more units than were originally anticipated. There will be a likely public cost.”

This is in addition to 40 units with tenants at or below 60 percent of area median income (MFI). This would add an undisclosed number of units of workforce housing over two more floors, available for renters at 80 and 100 percent MFI.

Douglas also stated the added housing would not change the existing footprint of the building, which could now potentially be four to five stories high. The concept is not yet finalized, however.

The development has attracted the ire of both neighbors and the Hazelwood Neighborhood Association alike, who consider that location unsuitable for public housing. Project updates are at humansolutions.org/gateway-park/.

Developer Human Solutions is convening two focus groups in October to gather impressions of new designs and come up with a preferred community concept, which will be presented at an open house Wednesday, Nov. 16 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The first, for the business community, is Monday, Oct. 17 from noon to 1 p.m. at the East Portland Neighborhood Office, 1017 N.E. 117th Ave. Lunch is provided. The second, for neighbors, is Monday, Oct. 24, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), 10301 N.E. Glisan St. Dinner is provided.

If you’re interested in attending, RSVP Mary-Rain O’Meara at momeara@humansolutions.org, or call her at 503-548-0284.

Halsey-Weidler Streetscape Project
Another item being worked on this year is the Halsey-Weidler Streetscape Project. It will improve the area from Northeast 102nd to 112th on both Halsey and Weidler Streets.

Susan Kuhn, project manager for the PDC, provided an update on construction. She said construction for the remainder of the project will begin in March or April 2017 and complete in December 2017.

The project’s list of improvements is lengthy. Culled from a July 21 PDC intergovernmental agreement, some highlights include curb extensions, Americans with Disabilities Act curb ramps, rectangular flashing beacons at key intersections, reduced speed limits on the corridor, improved transit stops, marked crosswalks and protected bike lanes. Northeast Halsey will also be paved concurrently, as part of an unrelated project, from Northeast 92nd to 112th avenues.

The triangular parcel of land on Northeast 112th Avenue and Halsey Street that acts as the district’s entryway will also be receiving some improvements. Expect stormwater facilities along with features to brand the triangle more strongly with the neighborhood.

Nidal Kahl, a member of the citizen committee which helped design the streetscape improvements, said to expect future work in the area to be centered around image.

“[The] long-term work in progress is to really brand the district, determine the identity of the district,” said Kahl.

Commercial District Improvement Pilot Project
Kuhn also provided an update for this program. Its purpose, like the district branding effort, is to create more architecturally consistent storefronts for area businesses.

The list of businesses receiving grants from the PDC for this purpose within the GAP area is now up to 10. Kuhn described a process in which PDC walked down Halsey from business to business, speaking with owners to find the best fit for grant recipients.

Kuhn was reticent, however, when it came to releasing the names of any of the businesses.

“I haven’t talked to them about releasing their names,” said Kuhn.

Everyone is at a different stage of construction or development. “We’re staggering those through,” she said. “Some are getting closer to starting. Some are in design review or permitting, some [are] starting design.”

Much more is to come as the GAP unfolds.

This article originally said focus groups were held in September, and that an open house was set for October, which was incorrect. It was changed to include dates, times and places for the two October focus groups, and the November open house information.