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Tigard to protest Bull Mountain boundaries

The city wants to annex 61.5 acres - 33 acres of public land controlled by the city and 28 acres of private property

TIGARD - In a move Bull Mountain residents said may jeopardize their attempt to form a new city, Tigard officials recently said that they want to annex 61.5 acres outside Tigard's western boundary.

The acreage - about 33 acres of public land owned or controlled by Tigard and 28 acres of private property owned by about a dozen citizens - is part of the proposed boundary for the new city and would represent about 3 percent of its land.

Tigard city officials sent a letter to the Washington County Board of Commissioners this week, saying they intend to protest the boundary proposal for the new city during a public hearing to be held Tuesday on Bull Mountain's incorporation effort and ask that the 61.5 acres be removed.

In addition, the city is seeking support for the annexation move from the members of the Tigard Water District Board, a special governing body for the water supply system of the unincorporated residents on the mountain, and the Intergovernmental Water Board, an advisory group to the city of Tigard made up of representatives from Tigard, the water district, King City and the city of Durham, plus an at-large member.

The water district and the Intergovernmental Water Board own about 11 acres of the total being considered for annexation to Tigard - a piece of property known as the Menlor Reservoir that is used to store water that supplies the local area. The reservoir, under an agreement with the water district and the intergovernmental Water board, is operated and maintained by the city of Tigard.

'Our position is that those properties under our control should not be in the new city,' said Tom Coffee, Tigard's community development director.

He added that having city-owned lands under the authority of another jurisdiction would complicate land use decisions regarding the property.

As to the private property included in the annexation proposal, Coffee said the land lies between the city limits and the Menlor Reservoir and would be annexed in order to provide a logical boundary. Those property owners have not been contacted yet by the city, Coffee said.

In responding to Tigard's pending protest and annexation move, advocates for Bull Mountain incorporation said they fear Tigard's decision will hurt public support for the formation of the new city. They said they have already distributed a report to residents on the mountain that outlines how a city on Bull Mountain would be financially viable. The report was based on the proposed boundary.

'We settled on what we believed was the most logical and least contentious boundary,' said Lisa Hamilton-Treick, a director with the political action committee Residents for Bull Mountain Incorporation. 'We never anticipated that (Tigard) would propose yet another big bite out of this community.'

Hamilton-Treick said she did not know what specific financial impact the proposed boundary change would make to the new city. She said attorneys for her group were looking into it.

Of the lands Tigard wants to annex, only the 28 acres of private property would provide tax revenues to the city. The remainder of the land is tax-exempt because it is publicly owned.

Tigard's request to change the proposed boundary for the new city, clearing the way for its annexation of the land, will be considered next week by the Board of County Commissioners.

The commissioners will also take testimony from the public about what lands should be included or withdrawn from the boundary - and whether incorporation of Bull Mountain would benefit its residents.

The commissioners are scheduled to vote on August 8 on whether the issue of incorporation for Bull Mountain should be on the November ballot.