Fruit Valley looks to build a ‘to-do’ list

Consultant will lead discussion on diverse neighborhood’s future

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian social issues & neighborhoods reporter

Published:

 

It’s got factories and farms. It’s got a wildlife refuge and a historic, modest neighborhood of over 2,000 households. It’s got railroad tracks, offices, a homey young school and new apartments to match.

If you go

What: Fruit Valley “to do” list, community discussion on neighborhood identity, problems, potential.

Who: Open to the public. Fruit Valley residents encouraged.

When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Where: Plum Meadows Community Room, 1919 W. 34th St.

Fruit Valley is an unusual neighborhood with a cross-section of uses. How do all these pieces fit together? How can they merge to form a coherent future?

Residents are invited to help fashion Fruit Valley’s near-term “to do” list under the guidance of Michele Reeves, a land-use expert with Portland firm Civilis Consultants. Last year, Reeves did much the same thing with Vancouver’s Downtown Association — focusing on small renovations and achievable upgrades rather than massive changes — and earlier this year, she advised the Fourth Plain Renewal Task Force on revitalization in connection with possible transit upgrades.

Now, Reeves has been brought aboard by the city of Vancouver and the Vancouver Housing Authority to think through Fruit Valley’s complex culture and make some recommendations. She’ll be holding a question-and-answer session with Fruit Valley stakeholders — residents, landlords, employers, employees — at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 15 in the Plum Meadows Community Room, 1919 West 34th Street. All are welcome.

“You have this whole mix of things going on that you wouldn’t normally put together in a neighborhood, if you were designing one,” said Reeves.

Vancouver recently finished a top-quality “sub-area plan” for Fruit Valley that includes dozens of technical recommendations for city planners and area businesses, Reeves pointed out, but it still leaves residents wondering, “What can we do tomorrow? What can we do if we don’t have millions of dollars to work with?”

The first step, she said, is identifying common themes and objectives, and also sorting out potential points of conflict. Those aren’t hard to figure out, she said, when you’ve got uses like factories and homes all within yards of each other.

“We want to get all the cards on the table,” she said. “I want to get a bunch of information from the community. We’re going to take all that and build a ... framework for Fruit Valley.”

Later on, Reeves said, she will make some recommendations of her own. That will be at a second meeting that takes place sometime in January, she said.

For more information, call Reeves at 503-867-8465.

Scott Hewitt: 360-735-4525; http://www.twitter.com/col_nonprofits; scott.hewitt@columbian.com.