Area joins more than 200 acres in River Terrace

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - A car speeds past undeveloped land along Southwest Roy Rogers Road. Known as River Terrace the area is expected to be developed into parks, homes and retail space starting next year.River Terrace, made up of Area 64, Area 63 and Roy Rogers West.After years of expectation and discussion, River Terrace is complete.

On Tuesday, the Tigard City Council approved the annexation of 268 acres on the western side of Bull Mountain between Southwest Roy Rogers Road and 150th Avenue north of Beef Bend Road.

The annexation is the first step in a years-long plan to develop the area over the next several years.

The land — made up of two areas known as Roy Rogers West and Area 63 — joins already annexed land along Roy Rogers Road, expanding the “River Terrace” area to about 500 acres, the largest annexation by the city since it first attempted to annex Bull Mountain nearly a decade ago.

Now annexed, the area will have access to Tigard city services such as water and sewer lines, which are necessary before development can begin.

“I think this is a breath of fresh air to have the citizens come and do what you have done,” City Councilor Marland Henderson told a room filled with area residents, who each petitioned to join the city. “And, of course, we will welcome you to the city.”

City Councilor Gretchen Buehner has been interested in the River Terrace area for 15 years, she said. She believes the development will be vital in the coming years.

“I think that this is very necessary for the future growth of the city,” she said.

Today, few people live in the largely undeveloped area, with less than 30 single-family homes spread across the nearly 300 acres. That number is expected to change substantially after planning for the area is complete.

When finished, the area will include new parks, shopping centers and at least one new school. Between 2,300 and 3,200 new homes in the area are expected during the next several years, according to Washington County.

“River Terrace is going to be a great place to live,” said Matt Welner, a planner with Metropolitan Land Group in Beaverton, which owns property in Area 63 and led the charge to bring city services to the area.

Development planned after 2014

For residents and property owners in the area, the annexation is a long time coming.

The area was first brought into Metro’s Urban Growth Boundary in 2002 with the eventual plan that it would be developed.

“This area was targeted a long time ago to address our regional growth and this is the next step to fulfilling that expectation,” Welner said.

Talks about joining the city have been going on in earnest since 2011, after the city first annexed the neighboring portion of River Terrace in Area 64

“We realized that the city was really the only logical service provider for the services that were needed here,” Welner said.

The city has held a “neutral” annexation policy for years, after it unsuccessfully attempted to annex Bull Mountain in 2004. It offers incentives to residents who approach the city and request annexation.

Welner said those incentives — which included phasing in city taxes over several years — helped to persuade on-the-fence landowners in the area.

“That message really helped us in the discussions we were having with property owners,” Welner said. “I think that was what ultimately got us over the hump with a lot of residents.”

Although annexed at different times, plans for the entire River Terrace area will happen at once, said Cheryl Caines, a planner with the city.

Roy Rogers West and Area 63 were already included in the River Terrace Community Plan approved by the City Council in December, she said.

Plans for development along River Terrace are expected to continue through 2014 before any development can begin.

Open house forums with the community are planned for February.

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