New additions revealed – to improve Lents Town Center’s identity

See how this ‘entryway’ project will help Lents be considered more of a destination, instead simply a path to the I-205 Freeway …

Portland Development Commission staffer Kevin Cronin talks with neighbor Mike Foudoulis about the Lents Gateway Triangle project. “I’m really happy and excited about it,” Foudoulis says.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Neighbors and business folks got a look at the “preferred alternatives” in the Lents Town Center initiative, the “Lents Gateway Triangle “project, before the March Lents Neighborhood Association meeting got underway.

Asked if outer East Portland doesn’t already have a “Gateway” district, the Portland Development Commission’s project manager, Sue Lewis, smiled kindly and replied, “I guess we should talk about it as an entryway to the Lents Town Center. This project deals with the right-of-way that will be the entryway into this redevelopment area.”

This graphic shows how a monument would be placed that is proposed for the Lents Gateway Triangle project.

Here’s a sneak preview of how the monuments might look.

Generally speaking, the overall project is a redesign of the streetscape along the SE Foster Road and SE Woodstock Boulevard couplet – east and west of the I-205 freeway – while adding enhancements.

Specifically, Lewis said that PDC was showing off different conceptual designs that the Citizens Advisory Committee has reviewed – including new monuments. “These are pillars placed in the traffic island ‘triangles’ at both east and west ends of the couplet. At 12 feet tall and 4 feet wide, they will be illuminated at night, and will be quite visible.”

The committee has selected preferred options, Lewis told us. “We’re giving the community ideas of what they liked and disliked. We’ll take those comments and further develop them into an actual, true design and – hopefully – get it implemented.”

PDC Project manager Sue Lewis points out design features on the proposed “Lents Triangle” monuments, to neighbor and committee member Ryan Givens.

Neighbor, and project committee member, Ryan Givens told us he lives just “down the street” from Lents Town Center, and that he’s enthusiastic about the project. “It’s fun to be part of something like this – it’s a rebirth of the neighborhood. When I bought my house here about three years ago, I thought this would be the next up-and-coming neighborhood, so I want to be apart of it.”

This graphic shows how PDC plans to spruce up SE Ramona Street. The MAX Light Rail station is to the far right.

Ramona Street to get facelift
Another key area in the Lents Town Center area renewal is SE Ramona Street, a block north of SE Foster Road, running east of SE 92nd Avenue.

On hand was Rich Newlands, project manager with the Portland Bureau of Transportation, who told us about the project.

“SE Ramona Street is becoming a new ‘front door’ for the community, because of the presence of SE Portland MAX Light Rail line,” said Newlands. “It’s a great opportunity to have a better ‘welcome mat’ for the community there by fixing it up, and drawing people west to 92nd Avenue – a focus of potential commercial redevelopment.”

Newlands summed up the project, “We’re working to improve the welcoming experience of coming into Lents, either by MAX Light Rail or by Auto. We really want to help change the perception of what the environment is in, and around there.”

To keep up-to-date about the progress of the project, CLICK HERE to open the PDC webpage they maintain for this project.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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