Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey says the city is considering alternatives to asking the Oregon Legislature to direct the Oregon Department of Transportation to study the need for a new westside transportation corridor.

The decision follows a meeting with members of Gov. John Kitzhaber’s office. Although the City Council voted to submit a bill requiring a study to the 2013 session, Kitzhaber’s staff told Willey that the governor would not support it, hurting its chances for approval.

Willey says Kitzhaber’s staff suggested several options for pursuing such a study, beginning with the formation of an intergovernmental task force to refine the objectives. Willey expects to have that work completed by mid-February.

Forum to discuss growth issues

The Washington County Public Affairs Forum has scheduled a hot topic to kick off the New Year — the perspective of westside mayors on growth issues.

Scheduled to appear are Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle and Forest Grove Mayor Pete Truax. Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey has also been invited to appear. The program begins at noon on Monday, Jan. 14.

Doyle, Truax and Willey have questioned whether regional transportation and land-use plans are sufficient for the growth that Washington County is experiencing. And the next announced topic is likely to be controversial, too. How growth should be handled in unincorporated areas will be discussed at the group’s Jan. 21 forum.

The longtime civic discussion group holds it forums every Monday at noon at the Tanasbourne Old Spaghetti Factory, 18925 N.W. Tanasbourne Drive. They are open to the public. Lunches are also available at various costs for members and non-members.

Bike route meeting planned

A public meeting on the proposed Tualatin Valley Bikeway will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15, at the Forest Grove Community Auditorium, 1915 Main St., Forest Grove.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is proposing to erect signs and publish maps designating the proposed 50-mile bike route that runs along existing road from Rood Bridge Park near Hillsboro through Forest Grove to Banks.

According to state parks Bicycle Recreation Coordinator Alex Phillips, the route is proposed to be marked and publicized to attract bicycle-related tourism. Phillips estimates the cost at a round $2,000. The Washington County Visitors Association will help with the marketing.

Metro puts natural areas levy on ballot

The Metro Council voted Tuesday to place a five-year levy to maintain its natural areas on the May 2013 ballot.

The proposed rate is 9.6 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, which would raise around $10 million annually and cost the owner of a $200,000 home slightly less than $20 a year.

Metro owns about 16,000 of natural lands and open spaces.

The vote came despite a request from 19 mayors for more time to study the potential impact on their budgets. They include Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey, who says the group does not intend to fight the measure.

Law enforcement academies scheduled

Hillsboro and other Washington County residents interested in learning more about law enforcement will have two opportunities in coming weeks. Both the Hillsboro Police Department and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office are accepting application to participate in their Citizen Academy public education programs.

The 12-week Hillsboro program covers such topics as community policing, crime prevention and gang culture. Classes will be held Thursdays from 6:30 to 10 p.m., beginning Feb. 7. Application forms and instructions can be found on the Hillsboro Police Department’s website. They are due by Jan. 24.

The Washington County program begins on March 26. It includes ride-alongs, a tour of the county jail, and a look at the sheriff’s office “CSI” program. Classes are held on Tuesday evenings and Saturdays. Application forms and instructions can be found on the Washington County Sheriff’s Office website.

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