The City of Independence, with support from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), has hired urban design consultant First Forty Feet to lead the Central Talmadge Plan.
The Plan aims to create a new center (or heart) within the community, focused around the commercial, cultural, social, and health service activities available near Central High School. The Plan seeks to transition the primarily auto-oriented neighborhood and commercial area near the school into a more walkable, bike able (and trolley accessible) neighborhood with new and enhanced community gathering spaces and activities. The changes are also intended to promote safe and convenient access to and through the neighborhood for people of all ages and abilities.
The plan will build on the Independence Vision 2040 Plan and the Independence Transportation System Plan as well as other previous planning and engagement efforts to:
- Redevelop the area around Central Plaza to create a more dynamic commercial, retail and service hub in the heart of the town
- Link developments including apartment complexes and nearby manufactured home parks to the downtowns of Independence and Monmouth, and nearby goods and services
- Open existing vacant properties to new mixed-use development and affordable and/or senior-oriented housing
- Identify zoning changes necessary to enable and promote a more vital, walkable/bike able, mixed-use development pattern in the area
The Central Talmadge study area is located between the downtowns of Independence and Monmouth, and is centered around Central High School and Central Plaza Shopping Center. The area is a center for daily activities in Independence consisting of:
- Public schools for Independence and Monmouth
- Strip-style shopping including grocery stores and professional/commercial services
- A mixture of residential development types including multifamily development, manufactured home parks, and lower-density development. Areas of planned residential development are also nearby
- Several large vacant parcels including some of the only remaining undeveloped commercial land in Independence
- Regular trolley service from the MI Trolley with three stops on Monmouth Street
- An incomplete transportation network that is auto-focused with limited walking and biking options
The project timeline includes several opportunities to engage with the project staff and provide input. The process will conclude with a final adoption hearing in Spring 2024.