By Tom Henderson • Staff Writer • 

Developer eyes 500-home subdivision on west side

A Lake Oswego developer is planning to build 500 homes, and perhaps some apartments as well, south of Baker Creek Road near Michelbook Country Club.

Planning Director Doug Montgomery identified the prospective builder as the Stafford Lane Company. “We’ve had some preliminary discussions with them at the staff level,” he said of Stafford principals, “but they haven’t made formal application.”

Levi Levasa, a project coordinator with Stafford, said the company began working on the project about a year ago.

He said Stafford had acquired enough land for 500 homes, but development wouldn’t be immediate. It would play out in stages over time.

“That would be over a long period of time,” he said. “We’d probably end up breaking the property into pieces.”

Lavasa said he wasn’t yet sure how large the first phase would be. “It depends on the density of the zones,” he said.

“It’s such a big parcel, there are different zones involved. We’d be looking at a wide variety of lot sizes and housing prices.”

He said houses next to the golf course would be “large.” At the other end of the scale, he said, the company is proposing to mix in some “skinny” houses farther out, offering an alternative to townhouses.

Levasa said Stafford envisions starting adjacent to the country club and working its way west to Hill Road. Then it proposes to begin building north of Baker Creek Road.

He said it might add an apartment complex or two to the mix. “We don’t typically do the multi-family units, if we don’t have to, but we may have to in this case,” he said.

Mike Salsgiver, executive director of Associated General Contractors of Oregon, said projects of this scale are indicators of recovery in the construction industry. He said it was especially encouraging to see outside the Portland Metro Area.

“The market across the state is recovering,” Salsgiver said. “I don’t have any numbers for the Willamette Valley off the top of my head, but construction from the Salem area down to Medford is doing well. Transportation is not doing as well, but other construction has been improving for the past six or seven years.”

The change is good news for the contractors he represents, Salsgiver said.

“Employment is up,” he said. However, he also noted, “Finding good people is getting difficult for our guys, and has been for a couple of years.”

Stafford Land Company started about three years ago. The principals are Gordon Root and Rick Waible, who have each been in the development business for more than 30 years.

The company is divided into development and homebuilding wings, enabling it to follow a complete project. It recently completed construction in Scappoose and Silverton, and is currently working in Molalla, with more planned developments.

“We have 1,200 potential lots, on top of what we’re proposing in McMinnville,” Levasa said. “We’re trying to stick to the Portland Metro Area, but if there’s a good opportunity in the valley, we’ll go there.”

McMinnville represents such an opportunity, he said.

“That area is just kind of blowing up in terms of population,” he said. “Plus, it’s in a rural area, so people qualify for certain types of loans they might not be able to get in the metro area.”

Levasa said Morgan Will, who was not immediately available, has been chosen to manage the McMinnville project.

Asked when the application process would begin, he said, “That’s a tough one. As soon as possible is always the answer.”

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