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Tigard City Council approves annexation of River Terrace

TIGARD - Dozens attended the Tigard City Council meeting Tuesday as the city unanimously approved the annexation of more than 230 acres of land along Roy Rogers Road and nearby Barrows Road.

The land, known collectively as River Terrace, is the largest annexation by the city since its failed attempt to annex Bull Mountain in 2004, but unlike the Bull Mountain annexation nearly all who attended the meeting came to support the decision.

'It's time to annex it and move on with our lives,' said River Terrace resident Jim Beardsley. 'We've waited too long for this.'

The land was brought into the urban growth boundary in 2002, with the intention of being annexed eventually.

The city has kept a hands-off approach to annexation since the Bull Mountain attempt seven years ago, which sparked an at-times contentious relationship between the two communities.

The city has stayed neutral toward annexation since and works with property owners on a case-by-case basis.

About 80 percent of property owners in River Terrace approved of being annexed into the city. Property owners say they hope to take advantage of city services such as access to the city's water supply.

'This is a very rural area of mostly farmland,' Tigard Associate Planner Cheryl Caines told the Council Tuesday. 'Urban services are needed to develop this area, as was envisioned when this area was brought into the urban growth boundary.'

In order to annex the land, the city also annexed portions of Barrows Road and Scholls Ferry Road.

That upset some Bull Mountain residents, who feared that the city might engulf the unincorporated area.

'We will be surrounded on three sides by Tigard,' said Bull Mountain resident Tom English, whose property abuts River Terrace. 'How will this island of Bull Mountain be treated as you have ongoing needs for financing and other infrastructure?'

City officials have said that the city is not attempting to force the area into annexing. That sentiment was repeated again Tuesday.

'There is no intention by this council to take any steps toward doing an island annexation of that area without the request of the people living there,' Mayor Craig Dirksen said.

City planners must now begin work on a community plan for the area, which will take about two years to complete and will help decide how the area will eventually grow.

That's good news for River Terrace resident Joanne Criscione.

'We used to live in a rural area on a quiet country road and now we live on a freeway,' she said. 'It's really dangerous. This area needs to be planned like a community.'

Tigard Police will begin patrolling the area immediately, but it will be several years before the area begins to develop.

'It has been a long, tedious, circuitous, convoluted process,' said Council President Gretchen Buehner, who first began working to bring the area into the urban growth boundary in the late 1990s. 'I am glad to see that the right conclusion has finally come to the floor.'