New Town Center Station generates excitement - and jobs - in Clackamas County
When the recently completed Town Center Station residential development officially opened in Happy Valley on May 4, it brought with it a new vision of affordable, urban living to an area most often identified with a regional shopping mall and Interstate 205.
Supported by Metro's Transit-Oriented Development Program, the three-story, 52-unit residential development was designed to reduce resident dependency on the private automobile for errands, recreation and commuting. It's conveniently located across from the north side of the Clackamas Town Center shopping complex and within half a mile of both a frequent service bus line and a MAX light rail station.
But in the process of creating sustainable urban housing, the Town Center Station brought something else to the region: jobs.
It had been almost two months since Eugene-based Meili Construction Company had been fully engaged in a construction project. In the spring of 2009, the country was almost a year into a recession that had flattened the building industry in a matter of months. By co-owner Curt Meili's own admission, his general contracting business was stalling out.
When hired to serve as general contractor on the Town Center Station project, Meili was able to commit 20 to 25 employees to the project at the site and in the office for the year-long duration of the job. From when the project broke ground in the summer of 2009 to its completion, Meili estimates more than 300 to 320 subcontractors and suppliers were used, with 50 percent of those hired from the Portland area.
"I've never really put pencil to paper before and translated a project into the number of workers used, jobs created or where materials were sourced," Meili reflected after attending the Town Center Station grand opening. "But given where my company was just before the contract was awarded and standing here today at completion, how we measure the success of project has shifted."
Recent and upcoming projects supported by Metro's Transit-Oriented Development Program include the The Knoll, an urban style senior housing project in Tigard that broke ground on May 7 and Gresham's Civic Drive, a new light rail station that will break ground on May 17.