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Troutdale approves urban renewal extension

URA plan extended to 2026


When the Troutdale Urban Renewal Area was approved by voters in 2006, the economy was a different atmosphere prior to its downturn two years later. With the economy now on the up and up, the URA needed renewed to allow development to occur. After months of discussion, the Troutdale City Council passed an amendment extending the plan until 2026 at its Tuesday, Feb. 10 meeting.

The area includes 48 acres near the Sandy River, largely comprised of the former water sewage treatment plant land. Eastwind Development — a subsidy of the Yoshida Group — has been in negotiations with the city to purchase a 12-acre site located behind the city’s factory outlet mall west of the Sandy River. The plot is adjacent to eight acres of industrial property already owned by Eastwind. The council approved the terms for sale with Eastwind in August 2014, but negotiations have since stalled as both sides continue to make allegations against each other. These have largely surrounded the appraisal price of the land. While discussing the proposed plan amendment, it was made clear that the extension was not specifically intended for Eastwind.

“The extension is in no way tied to Eastwind,” said Erich Mueller, finance director.

At times, the council had discussed extending the plan for only two, three or five years, to “push” Eastwind and move the project forward, but especially Mayor Doug Daoust emphasized that the URA is intended to encourage development with many potential partners.

“It just makes sense to me that we don’t want to kick out investors. It just makes so much sense that we do not want to create a barrier to investment,” Daoust said. “It’s our plan that we’re dealing with. We’re not trying incentivize Eastwind and push them.”

The plan allows for a maximum $7 million indebtedness, although the city does not have to proceed with a contract. Each step of the way, the council has the final approval.

The amendment passed 6-1, with Councilor Rich Allen the only vote against an extension.

“I voted no on the Troutdale Riverfront Renewal Plan amendment because it allows for public funding of private development with no spending limit specified or target set for a return on investment,” Allen said. “The people work hard for their money and I question rather this should even be legal.”

Exactly how the URA works has continued to be a question both within the council and from Troutdale citizens. With the 10-year extension, Daoust and Councilor Larry Morgan proposed a public outreach campaign.

“It’s not meant to be a political message and it won’t be,” Daoust said. “If it were up to Larry and I, we would have started two weeks ago before we had this 10-year extension meeting.”

The tentative plan is to partner with Deane’s Graphics in Vancouver, Wash., for the creation of professional public outreach materials.

“We owe it to (Troutdale citizens) like we said we were going to in December, to outreach,” Morgan said. “They voted for it. They’re our employer and we owe it to them.”

At this point, the only potential project is the proposed luxury hotel complex, restaurant, spa and recreation area by Eastwind, but the timeline of a final contract is unknown. Matt Wand, project manager for Eastwind, declined to comment on the amendment extension.

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