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Metro: Growth will happen; be ready for it

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Growth is going to happen, and we'd better be ready for it, according to new District 2 Metro Councilor Carlotta Collette.

Speaking to the West Linn City Council at Monday night's worksession, Collette described a new program that Metro is presenting to each of the cities and counties within its jurisdiction.

The program is called 'Making The Greatest Place,' and is a substitute for the previous mandatory expansions of the urban growth boundary.

At the meeting, Collette voiced Metro's prediction that the region would grow by one million more people within only a few decades. She came to West Linn to ask for cooperation in making the area ready for the influx and in managing the locations for growth.

Her reason for thinking that prediction is accurate is the desirability of the Northwest.

'One of the problems (with managing growth) is that this is one of the better places to be,' she said. 'In a great continent, this is one of the better places. Every time there is a fire in southern California, more people move here.

'I don't think there's any plan to shut (growth) down. I don't see how we could. The best we can do is have policies that protect the things that we most value, shorten our commutes and make our communities more livable.'

Unfortunately, Collette said, as we make it better for ourselves, it also becomes more attractive to those who would like to move here.

Collette described a two-year process that has recently begun, which will produce policies to manage growth and identify areas where expansion makes sense.

One of the great challenges, she said, is to find funding sources and make new infrastructure more efficient, concentrating residential and commercial in town centers instead of satellite cities far from the metro area (such as Damascus).

Councilor Scott Burgess agreed that growth will happen, and said all you have to do is look back a few decades to make a comparison.

'What was here 20, 30 or 50 years ago looked different,' he said. 'The fact that it used to have cows and now has houses is not a negative impact of growth.'

Collette said Metro councilors want to see that growth happen in urban town centers and corridors.

The roundtable discussion Collette had with the West Linn council is being duplicated around the region, and another regional roundtable discussion is being planned sometime in May or June.

For more information, visit www.metro-region.org and click on planning and stewardship, and then on regional vision and policy.