A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

City OKs increase in plans for ‘The Banks’

Written July 20th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

Linn Avenue NE looked like this on June 19. The houses and trees will disappear when “The Banks” apartments are built.

As expected, the Albany Community Development Department has approved an increase in the number of proposed apartments at “The Banks,” a planned housing complex on the Willamette River across Geary Street from Bowman Park.

The city issued its decision on July 17, approving the modification of a site plan previously approved in 2019. The new plan calls for 120 “market-rate” apartments in eight three-story buildings, plus a one-story clubhouse. The previous plan was for 105 apartments.

The 6-acre property, owned by Willamette River View Holdings II of Salem, covers a former industrial site of bare land but also includes heavily wooded lots that face Linn Avenue and short sections of Chicago and Alco streets.

According to their plan, the developers intend to cut down 80 of the 96 trees on the site and preserve the other 16. Among those scheduled to come down are five Oregon white oaks.

The revised plan eliminates an access point on Alco Street, a driveway that according to the original concept was to remain gated and used for emergencies only. Now it’s gone completely. The only way in and out of the complex is a driveway on Geary Street.

Among the conditions required by the city is that the developers set aside a 16-foot-wide easement for a path along the river. The city is requiring a 10-foot-wide path there, to replace the informal trail that now connects Bowman and Simpson parks.

The developers have a choice of putting in a path covered with bark or building one of concrete. A concrete path would generate a credit toward the project’s systems development charges for streets and parks.

I contacted one of the principals in the company. But there’s no word yet whether they intend to start site preparation right away or wait. (hh)

13 responses to “City OKs increase in plans for ‘The Banks’”

  1. Linda L Harding says:

    Why does every new development require taking down beautiful old trees?

    • Hasso Hering says:

      This happens when developers don’t live in the towns or neighborhood where they buy land to develop. They don’t really care about livability of neighborhoods because they live somewhere else. When they do live in or near a community, you get tree preservation like at the corner of Valley View Drive and Crocker Lane. (hh)

      • HowlingCicada says:

        About the trees, that’s an interesting observation that I’m storing away in my mind for good future use. I think there’s an additional, harder to pin-down factor — ever-increasing “efficiency” of business, ever-greater outsourcing, and increasing concentration of power, wealth, and decision-making in ever-fewer hands — which naturally leads to absentee development and ownership. Every problem is “solved” by textbook-perfect PR.

        Same thing with the phony-baloney style-book architecture that developers use to avoid innovative site-specific design. Saving trees is just a minor example of what can be done with good landscape architecture.

        About traffic, that’s a completely different problem that won’t be solved by limiting density.

    • hj.anony1 says:

      Albany. Tree City. No more?

      Hasso, stop the background pop up ads now! Please?
      Good grief. …. .. !

  2. Marilyn says:

    Geary & Salem Ave will be a nightmare especially when trains back traffic up!!!

    • Tim says:

      I’ve lived in this neighborhood for only a few years. I’ve seen multiple auto accidents at this corner. If I recall correctly, Hasso reported previously that it is one Albany’s worst intersections for accidents. Even with only one person in each of those units, that’s a significant increase in traffic. Why are developments like this approved without corresponding infrastructure improvements paid for by the developer?

  3. Kate says:

    So everything onto Geary Street and no traffic control onto Salem. Lovely.

  4. Sherry says:

    Are the. Banks apartments going to be low income?

  5. John Klock says:

    The rooster has come home to roost in Albany. No longer a viable, vibrant town with open spaces. It may as well be Atlanta.

  6. Tim says:

    The loss of those trees and the informal trail will be a great loss to the liveability of those of us who live in this neighborhood.

  7. JoAnn Lun says:

    My sister, my husband & I live on the corner of Front Ave. & Geary St.. People don’t respect the stop signs as it is, much less when they’ll be all be using Geary to go to & from the complex. My hope is that the city, as well as APD, work with us, the neighborhood, to make sure everyone is respected. We love our home & want everyone to feel like a “neighborhood”.


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