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Troutdale arrives at historic moment

The Outlook applauds the majority decision the Troutdale City Council reached on Tuesday, setting in motion a project that will eventually create hundreds of jobs, strengthen local commerce and genuinely add to the economic and social prosperity of this city.

After years of on-again, off-again prospects — and at the end of two years of negotiations between Eastwind Development and the city of Troutdale — a sales agreement has finally been reached on city owned property.

While considerable hurdles still remain, this was the one obstacle that had to be cleared if this project had any hope of moving forward. Now, with the agreement in hand, Eastwind is free to begin the challenging work ahead of building a destination hotel, medium-sized convention center, retail shops and entertainment facilities along the west bank of the Sandy River, behind the Columbia Gorge Premium Outlet Mall.

This decision means the city and the developer can stop haggling over the value of the land, and instead put their collective heads together to implement this project.

To put the project into context, this development is of the same historic importance as the redevelopment of the city’s downtown north side, or of the blossoming of McMenamins Edgefield from an abandoned poor farm.

It means a blighted portion of Troutdale — once known for its rotting sheep carcasses at a shuttered rendering plant — will be transformed into a jewel, the envy of neighboring cities.

Among the obstacles still ahead is the challenge of providing logical access — a road — to the development. The best, most direct path for that road leads through the outlet mall, which recently sold.

We remain hopeful that the new owners will see the value of the increased vehicle traffic through their mall, and they will recognize the benefits — more shoppers — of close proximity to the Eastwind development.

We also are well aware that this sales agreement did not garner a unanimous vote of the City Council. To the three members of the Troutdale council who voted no, we hope you will acknowledge the support this project is receiving across the region, as well as from within your own business community.

With your objections fully noted, we hope you take this as an opportunity to clean the slate and lend your support to this project as it moves forward.

The Eastwind development will provide another “let’s go there” opportunity for all residents of East Multnomah County, which makes this a win for the entire region.