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Apartment complex causes major bump in Durham population tally

In terms of sheer numbers, 515 additional people in Durham might not seem like much, but it’s enough to make the tiny town one of the fastest growing cities in Washington County, according to a new report from Portland State University.

The extra residents have caused Durham to grow by 37 percent since this time last year, according to a report released Tuesday by the university’s Population Research Center.

Located off Southwest Upper Boones Ferry Road, the sleepy town was home to about 1,365 residents in 2012, the report estimates, but those numbers have exploded to 1,880 this year, a 37.3 percent increase over last year.

To put that in context, between July 2012 and July 2013, Portland and Tigard each grew less than 1 percent.

Sherwood — once one of the fastest growing cities in the state — grew about 1.7 percent in that time, the study finds.

That’s a major improvement for any city. But if you drive through Durham today, you likely won’t find too many new faces around town.

That’s because those 515 additional people aren’t here yet, said City Administrator Linda Tate, but they are on their way.

City planners are preparing for a new apartment complex on Southwest Upper Boones Ferry Road, which is expected to bring hundreds of new residents to Durham.

In 2012, contractors broke ground on a 367-unit apartment complex which bridges the Tualatin and Durham city limits at 18409 S.W. Lower Boones Ferry Road.

According Tate, the residents who live in the Durham half of the apartment complex will be enough to cause the dramatic increase in population.

“That apartment complex should increase our population by about 37 percent,” she said.

The complex has been in the works for years, but stalled in 2008 when the economy went south.

The project made headlines for its unique “wrap-around design,” which features housing wrapped around a concrete parking structure, a first for the Northwest.

The complex is expected to be completed next year.

Researchers included the data in the current study, Tate said, because the applications have all been approved by the city, paving the way for the additional residents as soon as the complex is finished.

Tate said she doesn’t believe Durham’s park and friendly neighbors will be what entices residents to the new apartments, but the city has a lot to offer the new residents.

“Durham is an amazing little town,” Tate said.

The quaint city tucked behind Bridgeport Village is known for its tree-filled properties, including a neighborhood-sponsored Christmas tree planted in the middle of the road each December.

Tate said the city’s proximity to local amenities is what will attract future tenants of the new apartment complex.

“Obviously, its location is probably what will bring people in,” she said. “It’s close to the freeway and Bridgeport Village shopping center.”

Having an extra third of the population on hand will mean more money for the city, but Tate said it’s still unclear what the increased tax revenue will mean.

Elsewhere in Washington County, every other city in the county continued to grow. Tualatin added 1.5 percent to its population, bringing the city to 26,510 residents, the report estimates.

Wilsonville, in neighboring Clackamas County, grew by 5 percent, with more than 1,000 people moving to the city in the past year.

Washington County was the fastest growing county in the state, adding 1.5 percent more residents since 2012.

While Portland had the largest number of new residents during that time, Multnomah County as a whole only grew by 1.1 percent.



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