LAKE OSWEGO-Avamere Health Services of Wilsonville, OR, expects to break ground on two separate but complementary senior housing projects here in 2005. The Lake Oswego City Council last week approved the company’s plan for 105-unit complex for mostly independent seniors near the corner of Overlook Drive and Stafford Road. The project is slated to get under way in June. Earlier in the year, it approved Avamere’s plans for a 76-unit dementia-care and short-term care facility near the corner of Carman Drive and Kruse Way. Construction of that project is expected to start in February.Neighborhood residents fought the latest project, called Stafford Heights, for more than a year. It was originally approved by city staff and the city’s design review commission as 119 units and 169,000 sf, including 16 units of assisted living, an indoor swimming pool and substantial interior common areas. After a neighborhood appeal, the swimming pool was removed, the interior common areas were made smaller, one story was removed from the building’s west side and gabled roofs and wood trim were added to give the project less of an institutional appearance.Despite the changes, neighborhood groups weren’t satisfied, arguing that the development was still out of scale with the neighborhood and still would generate heavy traffic from employees and visitors. A city panel agreed, but Avamere appealed the decision to the City Council and won support of a majority of the council. In siding with Avamere, council members said seniors need options to remain in the community.

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