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Census: Portland, Hillsboro growing fast

PORTLAND TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - Portland is now the 26th largest city in the nation and continuing to grow.Portland is now the 26th largest city in the country, according to new figure released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Portland's 1.9 percent growth rate was the 15th highest among major cities in 2015, pushing its population to 632,309. That was enough to jump two plus higher than its previous level.

Hillsboro also set a record in the new figures, exceeding 100,000 people for the first time. The census now places the population of the Washington County city at 102,347.

The growth in Portland comes as the City Council is completing working the update of the state-required Comprehensive Plan intended to govern determine how the city develops over the next 20 years. Although there is already enough zoned capacity in the city to accommodate the projected increase, the council is concerns that too much of the new housing will be unaffordable to most existing residents and those wishing to live here.

Among other things, the council has approved an amendment that could encourage the constriction of more lower-density multifamily housing in neighborhoods now zoned for single-family homes. It is supported by affordable housing advocates and land use watch dogs, but questions by some neighborhood organizations.

Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey says his city is prepared for the growth. He praises the Hillsboro 2035 Community Plan for proposing well-planned housing expansions in such areas as Orenco Station, Downtown Hillsboro, AmberGlen, and South Hillsboro.

“By planning decades in advance for smart growth, the City of Hillsboro has earned a reputation as a highly-desirable place to live and a strategic place to do business. This has led to many new employment opportunities and an increased demand for housing, transportation, and other services that impact our residents’ quality of life," says Willey.

The census report can be found at www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2016/cb16-81.html.

A Metro story on the report can be found at www.oregonmetro.gov/news/census-bureau-says-hillsboro-crosses-100k-portland-still-booming.