Columbia Gateway Urban Renewal Agency Meeting Recap 9/15

The Columbia Gateway Urban Renewal Agency met last night. One of the items carried forward was from the vote at a previous meeting where the agency voted to turn over the deed to The Granada Theater to Debra Liddell and Chuck Gomez, who have fulfilled every promise they have made in restoring the theater and gone above and beyond in their deeds and actions to preserve a classic. That transfer should have taken place already, and Chair Gary Grossman offered this explanation:

“I think there’s been a little bit of confusion that’s caused this not to move forward. I would ask Alice Canon be in touch will Debra and Chuck and initiate getting the paperwork done for the transfer of The Granada deed.”

Alice Canon is temporary head of the Planning and Development department in the city, following the retirement of former director Steve Harris. She has agreed to a 5 to 6 month term serving as interim until a permanent replacement can be found.

In other items, the Agency board voted a 120-day extension to an exclusive negotiation agreement with a developer interested in the Tony’s building and agreed to try for a grant to support the Mill Creek Greenway from funds being provided by Oregon Department of Transportation.

Scott Baker of the Parks and Recreation Department, who sits on the Urban Renewal board, explained:

“Some time ago Oregon started collecting a new $15 per bicycle fee and didn’t really know what to do with this. They have been collecting into this pot of money that’s now grown to $22 million. ODOT’s assigned a staff to create a grant program to disperse these funds.”

Baker told the agency that Urban Renwal’s previous efforts to acquire property along Mill Creek and to do a lot of the engineering in advance makes it a shovel-ready project that has a high chance of winning the grant.