TriMet’s History of the Milwaukie Wal-Mart Site

There have been some news articles discussing the possibility of building a Wal-Mart store on the property located at 8300 SE McLoughlin Blvd. For over a decade beginning with the South/North Transit Corridor Study this site has been identified by the region as a possible MAX light rail station and park & ride for the Milwaukie MAX extension; and most recently identified as Phase II of the South Corridor Project process.

In April 2003, the South Corridor Policy Committee adopted a “Locally Preferred Alternative” (LPA) that identified light rail as the preferred transportation alternative for extending MAX into Clackamas County and which called out two phased alignments. Phase I would extend light rail from Gateway Transit Center to Clackamas Town Center along I-205; Phase II from downtown Portland to Milwaukie included two possible proposed routings for the future light rail alignment – the “Southgate Crossover” and the “Tillamook” alignment, respectively. Both of those alignment variations through the North Milwaukie Industrial District required use of the site now identified for the Wal-Mart store.

This site was selected for a light rail station and park & ride because of its direct access to Tacoma Street and communities on either side of SE McLoughlin. Proximity to the Springwater Trail was another access consideration. SE Bybee and SE Tacoma streets offer the only points of access to the planned alignment between the Brooklyn neighborhood and downtown Milwaukie. The continuing aspiration for future MAX station and park & ride facilities at this site was reconfirmed through the recent Milwaukie Working Group deliberations that sought to refine siting considerations for the new Milwaukie Transit Center. While the 8300 SE McLoughlin site was not a variable in that exercise, it was consistently represented in the nine transit center scenarios as a MAX station and structured park & ride lot.

Neither the Locally Preferred Alternative identified in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement nor the Land Use Final Order (LUFO) precludes redevelopment of this property. The planned light rail project achieves a more formal federal status only after the completion of a Final Environmental Impact Statement (as is the case for the South Corridor Project first phase along I-205). Thus, the region has no committed resources at this time to present a counter offer to purchase the property.

Next Steps
While the region and TriMet remain interested in this property for transit purposes, the required Final Environmental Impact Statement has yet to be initiated, that when completed would allow purchase of the property.

That work is anticipated to begin under management of Metro and TriMet in early 2006. Other regional partners will contribute to the work and the funding of that study. The property could be developed for a Wal-Mart store before the region has completed the steps necessary to purchase it for extension of MAX to Milwaukie.

Editor’s note: You can follow the Wal-Mart story on a number of local blogs:

4 responses to “TriMet’s History of the Milwaukie Wal-Mart Site”

  1. Thanks for the insight – this important fact had so far been left out of all the WalMart reporting I’ve read. When the choice is more public transportation vs. a big box parking lot, the WalMart option becomes even more inconceivable.

  2. This entire area you call the Milwaukie Industrial District needs to be considered as a renewal district–in this case in two different cities. There is some really fine potential–a greenway along Johnson Creek, Springwater Corridor connection, proximity to Westmoreland Park, Crystal Springs and Eastmoreland Golf Course. The bulk of any redevelopment would occur west of the UP rail.

    What I have observed is that MAX would have to go on one side of the UP railway or the other. Right at the Tacoma St. overpass there ain’t enough room for it on the West side. But to cross the UP tracks to board MAX (on the East side) presents a hazard. Would MAX zigzag across the UP right of way? Don’t think so. Also if a Sellwood Streetcar line is built (as I am hoping) should not the Station be at the intersection with the Milwaukie line? That should be at Tacoma St.

    What is the solution? Perhaps a station under the ramp that goes from McLoughlin, northbound, up to Tacoma St. With an elevator going from ground level up to the overpass, for handicapped.

    In this case I think MAX is presenting a boondoggle. A better solution would be streetcar lines: 1.Extend Eastside Streetcar to Milwaukie and thence on to Lake Oswego via the existing rail bridge. 2. Connect a second line from Milwaukie and across the Sellwood Bridge and up into Portland via the WestShore route with a connection southward to Lake Oswego. 3. Eventually extend from Milwaukie eastward to Clackamas TC, southward to Oregon City and westward to Lake Oswego. Presto! A transportation network rather than a simple one line system with little potential for affecting development. The Portland Streetcar does not have to be limited to its present snail pace. My understanding is that these vehicles can go at 40-45 mph, but are governed down for urban use.

  3. The comment about Streetcar running over the existing freight railroad bridge over the Willamette River between Lake Oswego and Milwaukie – in one short phrase, ain’t going to happen.

    The bridge is part of an active freight railroad line – therefore federal regulations require that any vehicle using it must meet federal crashworthiness requirements. Given that the Portland & Western refused to permit “time-of-day” use to the Commuter Rail line between Beaverton and Wilsonville, why would they permit it between Lake Oswego and Milwaukie? Secondly, would the Streetcar’s overhead be high enough to clear the P&W’s freight railroad locomotives and cars?

    There is an existing railroad route connecting Portland with Lake Oswego, that the only suitable use (aside from being turned into a bike path) is Streetcar.

    I would like to see a heavy-rail commuter line connect Milwaukie with Sherwood – via Lake Oswego and Tualatin (thus connecting MAX, Streetcar, and Commuter Rail – along with Sherwood) – which would be compatible with the freight trains; unfortunately there is an inexpensive way to do it and an expensive way to do it – and TriMet will always choose the expensive way to do it.

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