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Whats our vision? From the Bangles to Beyoncé and beyond

The City of Forest Grove invites you to think back 20 years.

In 1987 the top pop hit of the year was 'Walk Like An Egyptian' by the Bangles. If you remember the lyrics to this song, you probably bought it on a cassette or on that cool new thing called a 'CD' and you very likely have a mortgage and a couple kids by now.

Do you know 2007's top song? Depending on the list, it's either Beyoncé's 'Irreplaceable,' 'Umbrella' by Rihanna or 'Roc Boy' by Jay-Z.

Perhaps your kid is listening to these tunes on an iPod. Over 20 years, hit songs and their technological presentation have changed. And in 20 years from now - who knows how young people will be listening to their music.

Change will be the topic of the city's annual town meeting from 9 to noon Saturday, Jan. 26, in the community auditorium.

After the State of the City address and council introductions, several residents will share their perspectives on how Forest Grove has changed over the past 20 years.

Speakers will include Wink Weber, Mark Nakajima and David Morelli. Then John White, a member of the Vision Update Committee, will present the new vision statement followed by Community Development Director, Jon Holan, who will present future trends expected over the next 20 years.

The bulk of the meeting will be spent in a community discussion of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing Forest Grove over the next 20 years.

All audience members are invited to share their answer to the question:

What do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing Forest Grove in the future?

Looking back over the past 20 years, many people note that the biggest change in Forest Grove is that more people live here. In 1987 approximately 12,000 people called Forest Grove 'home.'

It took nearly 100 years for the city to grow to 10,000 people - a population milestone reached in 1978.

But it only took 28 years for the city to double in size and reach 20,000 in 2005. Right now, the population experts at Portland State University estimate that Forest Grove has 20,775 residents.

What will be the city's population in 2030? Metro's number crunchers suggest that the city population will be 27,445 by 2030. So far, Metro's numbers have been pretty close to what has actually happened.

This means that about 7,500 more people will move into or be born in Forest Grove in the next 20-some years. These numbers present both challenges and opportunities.

The city's Comprehensive Plan is the tool that prepares us to accommodate these challenges and opportunities.

Over the next few months, the city will be compiling a list of tasks that will update the Comprehensive Plan.

This task list - also known as the work program - will be the topic of meetings throughout February. Every Tuesday and Thursday, with the exception of Feb. 14th, meetings will be held from 7 - 9 p.m. in the Forest Grove Community Auditorium. 1915 Main St.

Each meeting will address a specific topic. Residents are encouraged to attend the meetings that interest them the most and offer their suggestions about issues that need to be addressed during the comp-plan update. Each meeting will feature a guest speaker who will provide insight and background to the topics. The meeting schedule is:

•Tuesday, Feb. 5: Why We Do What We Do - The role of Metro and state planning goals in Forest Grove's comp plan update

•Thursday, Feb. 7: Up, Out and Other Options - land use, density and the Urban Growth Boundary

•Tuesday, Feb. 12: Keeping Roofs over Our Heads - housing affordability

•Tuesday, Feb. 19: Getting from Here to There - transportation

•Thursday, Feb. 21: Where We Work - economic development

•Tuesday, Feb. 26: Room for Learning - Forest Grove schools

•Thursday, Feb. 28: Natural Places - parks and recreation, green spaces and natural hazard planning

Kerstin Cathcart is a senior planner for the City of Forest Grove.