Featured Stories

Growing a city while keeping a hometown feel

Hillsboro is helping to grow Oregon’s future — from microprocessors to tulips, arts and culture, vital industries, education, centers of commerce and green spaces. Hillsboro is a well-planned, affordable, hometown with a strong, economic base and one of the state’s most diverse populations. As we look forward, we see some very exciting projects taking seed.

If you’ve been downtown lately, you’ve probably noticed some activity at Fourth Avenue and Main Street. A new mixed-use development is growing at the corner and the four-story building will have about 10,000-square-feet of retail on the ground level and 71 market-rate apartments on the other three levels. Street trees, ornamental streetlights and paving treatments that match the existing features along downtown Hillsboro’s Main Street are planned, along with a public courtyard with tables, benches and canopies, all accessible from Main Street. This will be a perfect blend of old and new.

As our population increases, we need to plan for more great neighborhoods and, at the same time, nurture our growth. South Hillsboro (SoHi), a 47-acre town center planned along the TV Highway, will be a complete, mixed-use community emphasizing schools, civic and open spaces, parks, trails and public gathering areas. SoHi will have more than 11,000 homes of varying styles and price ranges, 520,000-square-feet of commercial-use areas and 275,000-square-feet of public and civic space. We want to grow needed services and recreational opportunities for the future residences of SoHi as well as for the neighboring communities of Aloha and Reedville.

Another major project which Hillsboro plans to grow is AmberGlen, a 606-acre area between 185th and 206th Avenues just off of Cornell Road. Our vision is to expand the current business park into a vibrant, mixed-use area more like the Pearl District, with pedestrian-friendly shopping, dining and high-density housing options near the region’s light rail system and close to employment.

We hope to ultimately have between 5,000 and 7,000 housing units as well as 3 million square feet of office space and 500,000 square feet of retail.

This development will have a definite urban feel but with a welcoming Hillsboro hometown connection.

As Hillsboro continues to grow, we remain grounded in our values and continue to invest in our community. In November, we will start construction on the unfinished second floor of the Main Library, adding 32,000 square feet for library use.

The new space will add seating, provide more meeting rooms for library and community events and expand shelf space for more books. The library will remain open during construction and work is expected to be finished by May 2013.

Once work on the Main Library is finished, we will begin a complete remodel of the Shute Park Branch Library. Although that library will be closed for up to one year during the transformation, the collections and staff of the Shute Park Branch will move into the expanded space at the Main Library during that time. Once complete, new lighting will brighten the Library and window seating on the north side of the building will provide a peaceful space for the public. The remodel is expected to finish in March 2014.

One of the most exciting things on Hillsboro’s horizon is the development of Orenco Woods Nature Park. The city, in partnership with Metro and the Trust for Public Land, purchased the 42-acre site in December 2011.

The next step for this natural resource jewel is a master planning process which will begin in the fall.

We will involve our community in the process and, of course, continue our partnership with Metro. Our goal is to respect and preserve the natural tranquility of this land and provide Hillsboro residents and the region with recreational opportunities.

We will continue to grow great recreational activities for our community. This month, construction of our new stadium will begin so it will be ready for the opening pitch of our new, yet to be named, Single A short season baseball team. The city will own, operate and manage the stadium so it will be available for community use when the team doesn’t have games, or more than 300 days per year.

The all-weather turf at the new stadium will put it in high demand and will provide a year-round playing field, a plus in our wet climate. We anticipate it will be used by the school district, expanded adult soccer leagues, new league sports and athletic tournaments when not being used by the team. 

We are a vibrant community with a hometown feel. We are growing great things in Hillsboro.

Jerry Willey is mayor of Hillsboro.