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Oregon City voters reject Beavercreek annexation

The Oregon City Golf Club is slated to become a mixed-use development with sustainable features

Voters soundly defeated an effort to annex 114 acres along Beavercreek Road into Oregon City last Tuesday; the annexation would have paved the way for a mixed-use development featuring a 'job campus' on the site.

Voters rebuffed the effort by a two-to-one margin, with 2,851 voting against the annexation, and 1,377 in favor. The land, owned by the Herberger family, is the home of the Oregon City Golf Club. It was brought into the Metro Urban Growth Boundary in the late 1970s, and is now part of Oregon City's Beavercreek Road Concept Plan Area.

The plan outlines development in a 434-acre area along the Beavercreek Road area, and while the rest of the concpet plan area was not part of this particular annexation, it could be affected by the vote in the long run. City Manager Larry Patterson pointed out that the plan outlines certain percentages of zoning uses like residential and retail. Losing the businesses or homes in one area could throw off percentages for the entire project.

'For that plan to develop as currently proposed it needs the housetops that were part of the annexation,' he said. 'It brings into question the whole economics of that plan as it's laid out today.'

The land was designated as urban reserves by Metro, the regional governing body, but Oregon City is required to plan for it and eventually annex it into the city, a fact that frustrates Patterson and other city leaders. He said that when all is said and done, the concept plan may cost up to $1 million, with no guarantee that an annexation will be successful.

'We are given the responsibility to plan all these things, we spend millions doing it, but we don't have the authority to make it happen,' he said.

Oregon City Mayor Alice Norris said she has brought that particular issue up with Metro, as she is a member of the governing body's Reserves Steering Committee.

'That's something that Metro has to deal [change]' she said.

Norris said the city has experienced some 'push-back' against annexations, but only with larger properties such as this one. She said that for the city's part, leaders will work on the citizen education process, so voters understand how different annexations and concept plans fit together. She noted that at least 150 people were involved in the concept plan, calling it very 'community-driven.'

Kami Kehoe, chair of the Holcomb Outlook Community Planning Organization, co-authored a statement against the plan in the voter's pamphlet. She said the job campus slated for the golf course site is a 'great idea,' but believes the planning process showed there could be more residential use on that land than originally anticipated. She said voters rebuffed the annexation because they're fed up with unchecked growth mandated by Metro.

'I think defeating this annexation sends a really clear message to the city, to the state and to Metro … the message is that there is a process in place mandating that growth is supposed to happen and the only way for citizens to have a say is to vote down' the annexations.

Rose Holden's family owns the golf course land. She said they were 'hugely disappointed,' and said the voter's pamphlet statement contained 'misinformation.' Holden noted that the family and city had been working to make the Beavercreek community a sustainable development.

'We'll be back at it again and we'll try to do a better job,' she said. We're planning a complete community that includes jobs and housing so people can work where they live.'

Matthew Graham contributed to this report.