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Starting soon – a new community

Tedious discussions about streets, sewers and water lines are a necessary step toward creating something quite remarkable in the southwest corner of Gresham - a brand new community, pretty much planned from scratch.

The significance of the Gresham City Council earlier this week give the go-ahead to the preliminary plans for Pleasant Valley, won't be fully appreciated for probably 15 to 20 years. That's how long it will take for the community of Pleasant Valley, which was brought into the city's urban growth boundary a decade ago, to completely develop.

Pleasant Valley's progress has been stalled for years because no one could figure out how to pay for the infrastructure - the aforementioned streets, sewers and water lines - needed to serve a community that eventually will have 5,000 dwelling units and three commercial districts. However, a financing deal worked out between the city of Gresham and the main developers involved in Pleasant Valley now will allow development to move forward. The agreement seems fair to us. Developers will accept more of the upfront infrastructure expenses. They also will be reimbursed for some of their costs as development occurs and the city begins collecting system development charges.

All parties involved were correct to persevere toward a financial solution. Once it is built, Pleasant Valley - which occupies the area between Gresham, Happy Valley and Portland - promises to be a unique asset for East Multnomah County. Because the entire area has been planned as a complete community, this won't be a typical suburban neighborhood. Instead, it is envisioned as a pedestrian-friendly place offering many types of housing, retail districts, parks and open space. Think Fairview Village, but on a much grander scale - and also with less density.

As it is built out, Pleasant Valley will provide a variety of housing choices to people wanting to live in East County. It will address the ongoing pressure for growth, but in an orderly, high-quality and environmentally sensitive manner.

Home construction will start next year, and if you accept the fact that growth is inevitable, Pleasant Valley will ultimately be a desirable addition to this region.