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Cornelius may push for state growth boundary solution

If Metro Council won't grant an expansion near city, leaders will go to Salem

This Thursday, the Metro Council will decide the fate of the region's Urban Growth Boundary and it's unlikely that Jef Dalin will like what he hears.

Dalin, acting mayor of Cornelius, has been advocating, along with other city officials, for the regional government to expand the boundary near the city so that more residential development can occur.

City officials thought they had a good case. There's no more space inside the city limits for a planned residential development. Most of the city's residential land already has homes. And the Hillsboro School District wants to build a high school in the city in order to accommodate the growth its seen in the southwestern portion of its district.

But last week, the Metro Council voted to keep its sights set pretty narrowly in the coming urban growth boundary vote, with proposed expansions near Hillsboro, Beaverton and Tigard, leaving Cornelius in the lurch.

'We think we've been playing according to the game,' Dalin said. 'Are we really just zeroed out? Do we need to go to the legislature and the governor?'

It's still possible for the Metro Council to add a portion of land to the south and east of Cornelius city limits, but the political tea leaves don't indicate that's likely.

The council will consider expanding the urban growth boundary to include 1,985 more acres for residential and industrial development at its Thursday, Oct. 20 meeting.

The acreage is in these four locations in Washington County:

• 1,063 acres south of Hillsboro, in the vicinity of Southwest 229th Avenue and Southeast Tualatin Valley Highway, to provide as many as 7,150 new housing units.

• 543 acres west of Beaverton, in the vicinity of Southwest 175th Avenue and Southwest Scholls Ferry Road, for additional residential development.

• 330 acres north of Hillsboro, in the vicinity of Northwest Meek Road and south of U.S. Highway 26, for the purposes of attracting future large-site industrial employers.

• 49 acres west of Tigard and Bull Mountain for residential development. The area is commonly known as 'Roy Rogers West.'

The council has talked about expanding the urban growth boundary to include the first three areas for months. The council unanimously voted to add the 49-acre Bull Mountain site to the expansion proposal at its Oct. 13 meeting.

They could do the same for the Cornelius parcel, but it's not clear what the city's chances are. But Dalin said he'll push for a fair hearing of the city's land crunch whatever the outcome Thursday.

'I think we're just asking for an opportunity,' Dalin said.

Portland Tribune reporter Jim Redden contributed to this news report.