OGLO May Be No-Go after Lake Oswego City Council Votes to Withdraw Further Support

OGLO may be a no-go. The future of a proposed pedestrian/bicycle bridge across the Willamette River between unincorporated Oak Grove and Lake Oswego, also known as the “OGLO bridge,” appears to be in doubt after a decision by the Lake Oswego City Council last Thursday to withdraw from any further involvement with the project.

The bridge would be built in the 10-mile stretch that currently has no river crossing between the Sellwood Bridge in Portland and the Arch Bridge in Oregon City. It would turn what could be between a 20- to 45-minute car ride (depending on traffic) into a 15-minute trip by bicycle.

The cost of the bridge is estimated at between $30 to $50 million, depending on the final alignment and design that county leaders ultimately settle on.

The project has been in the county’s Transportation System Plan since 2013 and had enjoyed public support, until recently. But in a county hearing last month, commissioners said public support had soured in the wake of an attempt by Metro to introduce light rail to the project, which would double its cost and bring new motor vehicle traffic that local residents didn’t want.

At this point, basically nobody in Lake Oswego wants anything to do with the project, at least according to Mayor Kent Studebaker.

Councilor John LaMotte took issue with what he characterized as a deeply flawed process up to this point, including a lack of communication with the surrounding neighborhoods and other stakeholders.

While Councilor Jackie Manz seemed to have a bit of a different view on support for the project. Though she also voted in favor of withdrawing support, she said she does believe the bridge will be built someday.

The motion to withdraw passed 5-2.

The Policy Committee for the Oak Grove-Lake Oswego Ped/Bike Bridge Project, which had been made up of one elected official from each of the four partner agencies – Clackamas County, City of Lake Oswego, City of Milwaukie and Metro – is charged with determining the feasibility of the bridge and whether or not the project should move forward.

With the withdrawal of Lake Oswego, the project team will be reaching out to the Policy Committee members to plan next steps. The county says more information will be posted to the project website at clackamas.us/transportation/oglo once it is available.

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