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Were growing; we're commuting

Just-released Census data shows number of Tigard residents has doubled eight times in last four decades

The U.S. Census has been slowly distributing information since the beginning of the year, and information about Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood is starting to take shape.

'If you didn't know what you were looking for, you could get lost in all this data,' Tigard City Planner Darren Wyss said, Tuesday night.

Wyss presented recent U.S. Census findings about the city of Tigard to the City Council, Tuesday, and the results show a growing trend.

Tigard has doubled in size nearly eight times since 1970. Back then, the population of the city was 6,499; today, the city's population is more than 48,000.

The city has grown about 14 percent since 2000. That's on par with other local cities, including Tualatin and Beaverton.

Beaverton grew by about 15 percent over the last decade to a population of more than 89,800. Similarly, Tualatin saw about 12.5 percent more residents.

But Sherwood and King City are where people have migrated to the most over the last decade.

Sherwood - which for years has been one of the state's fastest-growing communities - saw a 35 percent increase in population since 2000, and King City grew by 37 percent over the last 10 years.

'It's not surprising,' said David Wells, King City's city manager. 'We have significant area that is underdeveloped on the west edge of town.'

In 2000, King City's population was little more than 1,900. That number has grown by more than a third to more than 3,100 in the last ten years.

Wells said that many residents are drawn to the small city because of its central location to Tigard and Tualatin, as well as the lack of industrial land.

'We border farm lands and rural reserve areas,' Wells said. 'It's a very nice, small community.'

If current estimates hold, Wells expects to see the city grow to more than 4,000 by 2015.

Importing and exporting workers

Current figures show that most residents in Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood leave the area to go to work each day, and another group of outsiders drive in to work at local businesses.

In Tigard, only 8 percent of residents actually work within the city limits, with the majority of residents commuting into Portland or Beaverton for work.

About 91 percent of people who work in Tigard live elsewhere, many from Beaverton and Portland.

Those numbers are slightly better in Tualatin and Sherwood, where 14 percent and 12 percent of residents work in their respective cities.

The news isn't that surprising, Wyss said, but the numbers are important to understand.

'We sort of know what's going on, but this provides the data to back it up,' he said. 'We've known all along that we export workers and import workers, but there was never a good way to show that.'

The cities have also seen a shift in diversity with Latino and African American populations growing in each of the cities.

In Tigard, both the Latino and African American populations have have nearly doubled in size.

Latinos currently make up about 12 percent of Tigard's population, and 17 percent of Tualatin's. African Americans make up about 2 percent in Tigard and 1 percent in Tualatin and Sherwood.

Census data is important for the city to have, Wyss said, because those numbers are used by the city for federal grants and long-term projections.

'These are things we will have to keep in mind as we plan for the future.' Wyss said

More detailed Census information, including poverty statistics, will be released this winter.

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