Leaders Looking at Other Options for Ped/Bike Willamette River Crossing after OGLO Project Fizzles

With the proposed pedestrian/bicycle bridge across the Willamette River between Oak Grove and Lake Oswego — known as “OGLO” — now looking like a “no-go” after the Lake O City Council’s decision to withdraw their support of the project, the county may now shift attention to a new river connection.

The policy committee in charge of the Oak Grove-Lake Oswego Ped/Bike Bridge feasibility study held their final meeting last month, voting to take no further action on OGLO, and to instead study pedestrian/bicycle crossings on public or private land north and south of Lake Oswego.

Currently, there’s no way for people to get to the other side of the Willamette River in the 10-mile stretch between the Sellwood Bridge in Portland and the Arch Bridge in Oregon City.

The policy committee, originally made up of one elected official from each partner jurisdiction in the study — Clackamas County, Metro (which funded the study and the cities of Milwaukie and LO – met on Jan. 28 to review the study’s final report and recommend next steps.

Lake Oswego was not represented at the meeting, after the city council voted in November 2019 to withdraw, citing a flawed process and a distinct lack of support from local residents. As Mayor Kent Studebaker put it, “It’s a waste of money, waste of time. It’s of very little benefit to our citizens.”

The feasibility study concluded that the OGLO project is technically feasible, with public land or right-of-way that can accommodate landings and approaches.

Based on the criteria developed and approved by project advisory committees, two feasible bridge locations/alignments emerged. Both would accommodate lightweight emergency vehicles such as police cars and ambulances.

OGLO seemed to have strong support in a September 2019 survey, with more than 63 percent of respondents in favor, but public opinion seemed to turn sharply against it when Metro broached the possibility of including transit in the project, and it never recovered. No additional survey was conducted to confirm support at the end of the feasibility study.

The full report, summary of public input and more information about the completed feasibility study are available on the county’s website or by contacting Project Manager Stephen Williams at swilliams@clackamas.us.

Photo: Gibbs Street Pedestrian Bridge in Portland.

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