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.
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: