Ideas planted: Results in fall

August 2014 Posted in Community

By Molly Gunther

The Mount Angel Design Charrette on July 26, was described as a “really good day” by City Councilor and Chamber President Pete Wall.

City officials and residents identified many specific topics, which were prioritized during the design workshop. Frequent ideas included a farmers’ market or Saturday market, where local residents can get fresh produce without traveling to other towns.

The city hosted the design charrette – a planning and design workshop – to give citizens a chance to work closely with university students and state and independent specialists to identify and prioritize the design values and issues in Mount Angel. The charrette was a collaboration between the city of Mount Angel, the University of Oregon and the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development.

Daniel Platt, a student from University of Oregon and first-time visitor of Mount Angel, worked with a group that focused on how community can do more with its Bavarian theme. He said he was impressed with all the creative suggestions that residents offered.

“One resident had a great idea for transforming a downtown alleyway into an old world European-style walkway, with cobblestones, and string lighting, and bistro seating,” Platt said.

Some of the other groups focused on ways to make the city more walker and biker friendly, and on ways to add new public art to the downtown.

Presenters from Gdansk University of Technology in Poland, who are creating a public spaces manual, emphasized via Skype that inhabitants must come first – before tourists – in identifying and creating projects. They pointed out some inexpensive ways to create a sense of value and place.

With more than 40 people present when the morning session started, City Manger Eileen Stein said she was pleased with the turnout and the Skype connection with Gdansk.

“It was Saturday night for them and they spent their evening connected with us on our Saturday morning,” Stein said. “They had given much thought to Mount Angel and had ideas to share given their research into how to design well used public spaces in their country.”

The UO “Green Cities” students will complete their research on Aug. 7. The Gdansk “Mentor and Student Research Lab” students will complete their research in early September.  Their professor, Ric Stephens, said a compilation of these papers will be prepared for the city and will include both in-depth research and  specific recommendations.

“I was surprised by both the quantity and quality of the ideas proposed,” Stephens said. “The participants had given a great deal of thought as to specific projects and programs that will make Mount Angel a more vibrant community.”

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