A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Downtown dig: Getting through it

Written May 5th, 2017 by Hasso Hering

This section of Second Avenue is one of the streets to be rebuilt.

Sections of six downtown Albany streets will be torn up and rebuilt this summer, and businesses are worried. But the contractor will be required to avoid or minimize any disruptions of traffic or special events.

The Novak family, running the popular Hungarian restaurant under the family name on Second Avenue, expressed concern in an email. “We are a business that relies heavily on foot traffic and access to parking, and if those things are severely limited we will be in trouble,” they wrote.

The city opened bids for the downtown “streetscape” project funded by the CARA urban renewal program on May 2. Emery & Sons of Salem, the company that rebuilt North Albany Road in 2015, was the lowest of three bidders at $7,988,501. The other bidders were Wildish at about $8.7 million and Pacific Excavation at about $9.8 million.

The city council is expected to award the contract to Emery on May 10. A public open house to go over the project will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. May 18 at City Hall. The street work will start in June and must be finished by Dec. 1, according to the city’s specifications.

The streets to be rebuilt — variously including pavement, sidewalks, utilities, lighting, landscaping and so forth — are Second Avenue from Washington to Lyon, Third from Ferry to Lyon, Broadalbin from Water to First and from Second to Third, and Lyon and Ellsworth from First to Ninth. A water line will be replaced on Calapooia between Fifth and Sixth. The contract calls for 217 street trees to be planted (mainly Corinthian linden, columnar zelcova and pink flair cherry).

Among the conditions set down by the city is that demolition and utility work — such as installing underground pipes — must be done between 7 at night and 6 the next morning Sundays through Thursdays. Construction will be done between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

The city compiled a list of summertime dates — farmer’s markets, concerts, sidewalk sales, the Aug. 21 solar eclipse, and so forth — and specified that no work be done in areas where events are taking place. There are other conditions to insure that traffic can always get through and businesses can be reached.

On Second and Third Avenues, only one block is to be constructed at a time, and work on the next block can’t start until the previous one is done. The contractor has 14 days to complete each block. But for each day less than that, the contractor earns a $5,000 bonus. For each day longer than 14 days, there’s a $2,500 penalty.

Throughout, the city hopes to stay in close touch with affected businesses and the public. “We plan to have a robust outreach program similar to what was in place during construction of North Albany Road,” City Engineer Staci Belcastro says. In fact, she adds, Lindsay Austin, who managed the North Albany project, will also manage this one. (hh)

The story has been edited to fix a mistake in the date of the open house. It’s May 18, not the 28th.

The city says businesses such as these on Second must be able to be reached during construction.










12 responses to “Downtown dig: Getting through it”

  1. James Engel says:

    Perfect timing to coincide with the opening of the CARA-Carousel! Cause people annoyance when driving in the downtown core is a sure way to skewer the gala celebration & make them turn back. Meanwhile, a large bulk of the CARA area – 3rd to 6th & Baker to Main have crumbling streets & are totally ignored. Their tax dollars are in that CARA pot too!..JE

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    I hope CARA gets the $8M sensory experience they so desperately seek from the folks who are paying for this project – the property taxpayers and the overlapping taxing districts that CARA skims money from.

    Is “scape” a higher priority than “street”? In Albany, it appears the answer is eight million “yeses.”

    By the way, did CARA calculate the expected tax increment that will be generated by prettifying these downtown streets? I know, I know…rate of return on a CARA project is a tiresome and silly issue….

    • centrist says:

      “By the way, did CARA calculate the expected tax increment…”
      ” tiresome and silly issue….”

      Please move on

      • Gordon L. Shadle says:

        It’s easy to dismiss rate of return when other people’s money is being ‘invested.’

        But most of us in our personal lives, I suspect even you, care deeply about return when our own money is being ‘invested.

        The sad fact is – CARA money is your money, and you don’t seem to care whether their ‘investments’ produce a quantifiable tax increment. That is irresponsible.

      • Rich Kellum says:

        That tiresome and silly issue is how all of this gets paid for……… Please do not move on, keep asking the question, to remind us how the bills get paid before we spend money…

      • hj.anony1 says:

        If only….

        The grinding wheel never moves on it seems.

  3. Andrea S says:

    Thanks for the information and update! Do you know whether work is also planned on Crocker this summer?

    • Hasso Hering says:

      Yes, the city has called for bids that are due May 9. The project is a full reconstruction of Crocker Lane between Valley View Drive and Meadow Wood Drive.

  4. Tony White says:

    Seven million bucks from CARA, eh? How much of that is being skimmed from bond issues that were supposed to be for other things?

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      In 2014, I asked the city manager that question after the Albany Revitalization Agency (the city council) passed a resolution that said CARA will not benefit economically from future bond measures.

      Here is what he said, “The resolution does apply to the LBCC measure, any GO bond measure passed by the school district and any future bond measure to fund police and fire facilities. It is important to remember that a resolution can be changed by a majority vote of the council, so it’s possible, but I believe unlikely, that the council could change this policy decision.”

      So, if the resolution is still in effect, CARA cannot skim from bond proceeds like they did in the past. Of course, since then the city has hired a new city manager and city attorney. You may want to ask them to communicate the current policy.

  5. Ray Kopczynski says:

    I am very pleased I live in a city that is succeeding regardless of the ongoing din of background “noise.”

  6. Diana Thomas says:

    What about all the other so….. many roads that do not get any repairs in this city??
    And then all the pot holes, which are seriously dangerous? Maybe we could not plant 218 trees and fix the roads that have mot neen fixed in years.


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