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Open house provides Basalt Creek update

Concept planning for area between Tualatin, Wilsonville expected to wrap up this year.

PMG PHOTO: JAKE BARTMAN - Consultants and staff from the cities of Wilsonville and Tualatin collected feedback from citizens on development of the Basalt Creek area at an open house April 28.Though the audience consisted mostly of Tualatin residents, a mixed crowd of Wilsonville and Tualatin citizens turned out to Tualatin’s Juanita Pohl Center on Thursday for an open house that marked a milestone in a plan to develop the 847-acre Basalt Creek between the two cities.

The Basalt Creek area, which was brought into the urban growth boundary in 2004, has remained rural while its neighboring cities develop a concept plan for development there. The planning process began in earnest in 2014, and has involved the work of consultants and staff from both cities.

The most recent public phase of the project was in December, when the Wilsonville and Tualatin city councils met to discuss details of the plan. Of particular note was an agreement reached on a possible boundary between the two jurisdictions, with the planned Basalt Creek Parkway — which will run east-west across the area — identified as a suitable divide.

“We tried a lot of different boundaries, up and down,” said John Fregonese at the open house. “And actually, in the end, it came back to that: the most logical way, the cleanest way to do it is to go down the parkway.”

Fregonese is a consultant with Fregonese Associates, and a member of the team of consultants and staff from both cities who are developing a concept plan for Basalt Creek development.

Although the cities have reached a consensus on the boundary, that consensus depends on the fulfillment of 10 “considerations for success” agreed upon by the councils.

Among those considerations are agreements that each city should provide its own sewer infrastructure, and that the cities should work with one another and with “regional partners” — like Washington County, the Oregon Department of Transportation and regional governance agency Metro — to ensure that traffic doesn’t overwhelm infrastructure.

Other considerations include stipulations that the cities collaborate on developing a stormwater system, on protecting the Basalt Creek Canyon natural area, on deciding whether to extend Kinsman Road north of Southwest Day Road, and on determining how Wilsonville’s South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART) and TriMet will work in tandem.

The audience had many questions for Fregonese and other project team members after they gave a presentation on the state of the project. A number of attendees were concerned about the traffic that will be generated by developing the area, especially since the planned Basalt Creek Parkway is expected to eventually connect with Southwest Boones Ferry Road.

Fregonese replied that modeling indicated no intersection would be pushed past capacity by development, and he noted that the project team was working to plan the area so that it would not generate more than 2,000 peak hour trips — that is, more than 2,000 vehicles passing through during the busiest hour of the day.

Ray Delahanty of consulting firm DKS Associates said that the planned widening of Day Road to five lanes, along with the expansion of nearby intersections, would help to address some concerns.

“There’s no expectation that the network you have out there now is going to be adequate to deal with the traffic 20 years from now. So we do include some improvements in the plan,” Delahanty said.

He also discussed the eastern terminus of the proposed Basalt Creek Parkway and noted that someday a bridge may be built across Interstate 5 to connect the parkway with the Stafford area. But that the connection is so far out as to be “just a dream at this point,” he said.

The concept plan will guide creation of a master plan that more explicitly lays out plans for development. The concept plan is expected to be completed and adopted by the two councils by the end of this summer.

COURTESY OF THE CITY OF TUALATIN - A map of the Basalt Creek area, as presented at the open house April 28, shows expected future uses of the land shaded by color.