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Tigard mayor: 2007 full of good news

The city is working on traffic issues, improving downtown, involving citizens, adding parkland

TIGARD - Mayor Craig Dirksen optimistically began his 2007 State of the City address at Tuesday's City Council meeting by saying, '… I find myself at the beginning of the New Year with really only good news to tell you.'

The City Council's goals last year included updating the city's Comprehensive Plan, continuing the revitalization of the historic downtown, finding funding to correct traffic problems, and improving the involvement process for citizens.

'The Comp Plan project is on track and scheduled to be completed this year,' Dirksen reported. '… The downtown plan is moving forward in an aggressive way… Our 99W congestion study in partnership with the state of Oregon is almost complete… so the needed improvements have been identified…. '

As for communication between the city and citizens, last year a new citizen-involvement program called the City Active Neighborhood Network was implemented. The city is divided into 13 neighborhoods, and each active group will have its own Web page designed to be a conduit for information between the city and the neighbors.

Every recent survey shows that citizens consider parks and open spaces a high priority, and 'we're delivering,' Dirksen said.

In addition to the opening of the Jim Griffith Memorial Skate Park, 'in the past two years, the city has added over 18 acres of new parks, including open space in our most park-deficient area…' he added. 'Over the last several years, the city has been quietly buying up undeveloped property near the top of (Bull Mountain) until today we have assembled over 30 acres of meadow, forest and ravine, all within Tigard city limits.

'Once we have created public access points, Cache Creek Nature Park will be available for the enjoyment of Tigard residents and will be Tigard's second-largest park after Cook Park. While most of this park will remain in its natural state, over time some limited uses will be developed such as hiking trails, picnic areas and children's play areas.'

Also in the coming year, Bull Mountain residents will have access to a new park on top of a buried reservoir across Bull Mountain Road from Alberta Rider Elementary School.

'We are almost doubling the size of Jack Park with direct access from Walnut Street… ' Dirksen said. 'The city is currently negotiating the purchase of another 5 acres for active parks and another 28 acres for preserved open space, and we expect these transactions will be completed in 2008 or 2009.'

According to Dirksen, the city is on a sound financial footing and for the last few years has been adding to its ending-fund balance.

Dirksen encouraged people to visit the city's Web site at www.tigard-or.gov for more information.