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Despite concerns, Troutdale annexation approved

Resident points out problems with green space and intersection

A recently approved annexation will slightly increase Troutdale's size and make way for a housing development, but at least one resident is skeptical about the city's ability to provide services for the property.

City Council approved the annexation of two separate tracts, totaling about 16 acres, in the Beaver Creek area at its Tuesday, March 11, meeting. Owned by Christine Singer and Lois Summers of Troutdale, the Cherry Stem annexation properties are to the west of Troutdale Road and south of Southeast Cochrane/Sweetbriar roads. The territory is located within the Troutdale/Multnomah County urban planning area and the urban growth boundary.

Randy Wilder of L and M Development is interested in a housing project for the property, which is designated low-density residential and zoned single-family residential.

Annexation will clear the way for city services such as sewer, water and other utilities, but a nearby resident is concerned that other services, such as park space and safe pedestrian crossings, are lacking. Sandy Glantz, a resident of Sweetbriar Lane, spoke out against the annexation. She presented photographic evidence of what she considers a dangerous intersection at Troutdale and Cochrane roads as well as a green space area near Sweetbriar Elementary posted with 'no trespassing' signs.

'There are 656 homes in the Sweetbriar area served by a 1.38-acre mini-park,' she said. 'I don't believe the (city) services can be met.'

She also expressed concern about traffic, speed limits, school crowding and storm-drainage issues.

'The city of Troutdale can't afford to bring in more homes when they can't afford the services,' she said.

Councilors appeared receptive to Glantz' concerns, paying particular attention to the intersection crossing and 'no trespassing' signs. The intersection is on a blind curve and is served by a crossing signal button mounted on a pole behind a mud puddle.

'They have to take responsibility for that,' she said, noting the 45 mph speed limit is too fast for the crossroads. 'It's a horrible intersection.'

Councilor Doug Daoust noted that the city Planning Commission found the properties would be adequately covered by city services. Some of Glantz' concerns, he noted, extend beyond the criteria established for city annexation.

'(Glantz) brought up some good points,' he said. 'The council in the future may look at the parks master plan to include the southern part of the city a little more.

'And the intersection pointed out as dangerous can be improved when development occurs' in the area, 'which it likely will,' Daoust said.

Councilor Jim Kight spoke of the rapidly developing landscape of East County, lamenting the loss of pastoral atmosphere as farmland has given way to business complexes and housing developments.

'I can see no open space at all in 15 years (from now) other than in parks,' he said. 'Those 'no trespassing' signs I find highly objectionable.'

Despite the concerns, Kight and all his fellow councilors approved the annexation motion.

'I listened carefully,' he said. 'I was looking for a reason not to support this, but I couldn't find one.'

Although Glantz was the only resident who expressed concerns directly to the council, she says she has support from many of her neighbors.

'I get people thanking me,' she said, adding she is frustrated that city leaders don't seem to be listening. 'It's a done deal. I do feel like deaf ears are hearing this.'

In other council business:

• At the Tuesday, March 25, meeting, the city council considered whether to approve a refinancing of general obligation bonds on the city's sewage treatment plant. Approval will allow a possible 3 percent to 5 percent savings on interest payments. That could translate to about a $500,000 savings, said Paul Hughes, finance director.

'Every now and then, the interest rates fall,' he said. 'If the market rates drop to a level to create a 3-percent savings, it's prudent for professionals to analyze the debt and see if we can take advantage of a refinance.'

Built in 1999, the sewer plant's bonds are scheduled to be paid off in 2018.

• In other business, council will decide whether to authorize a $1.174 million loan for a new Parks and Facilities building.