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Tualatin council discusses the future of Basalt Creek

City government continues plans with Wilsonville for undeveloped 847 acres between the two cities


The Tualatin City Council work session on Monday carried a definite tone of “let’s get on with it” when discussion moved to the Basalt Creek Concept Plan.

Basalt Creek, an undeveloped area of 847 acres between Tualatin and Wilsonville, has already been the subject of numerous discussions and meetings between the two cities, Tualatin determined to use the property for residences, Wilsonville aiming at commercial development and neither sure yet where boundary lines should be drawn.

Both cities will presumably break ground on projects in the area next year, but an agreement on where boundary lines will be drawn has to come first. And before they can agree with Wilsonville at next week’s June 17 joint council meeting, Tualatin’s council had to start agreeing with each other.

“The biggest decision being made in this process is the border,” said Councilor Joelle Davis. “We don’t control what they do with the land after this.”

“We’ve got to make a decision to meet our marks,” added Councilor Frank Bubenik. “We have to make a decision now to move forward.”

Council was presented with two different options by city staff, featuring two different land use scenarios. Both of which are subject to negotiations and change but provide a basis for how to proceed. Option 1 divide up the land almost equally in acreage, while Option 2 gave more acres to Wilsonville and took away from Tualatin’s proposed residential area. The rationale behind each option varied, and staff explained that they were trying to give council a mix of viable choices.

“I don’t think we should be subtracting from residential space,” said Councilor Wade Brooksby, who preferred Option 1.

The rest of the councilors agreed with him, but that decision came after a heated discussion between Mayor Lou Ogden and Councilor Ed Truax.

After some talk about how the land would best be used, Truax said, “I want to shoot myself because we’ve been sitting up here for a year trying to figure out what to do with the land.” And then, directly to Ogden, he added, “If I worked for you, I’d want to shoot myself.”

More talk ensued about the financial impact of each option and if they were fair to both cities. Eventually, however, the councilors seemed to agree that they couldn’t worry about that too much since the cities have expressed interest in using the land for different purposes.

“What I want to do is add to a liveable community,” Truax said. “If we wanted to max out our cash flow on this, we’d make it all industrial.”

The other councilors agreed with Truax, including Council President Monique Beikman, who expressed concern that they would be going into the joint council meeting with divided opinions.

“I don’t want to go in wishy-washy,” she said. “I want to go all in.”

Ultimately, they decided to push strongly for Option 1 at the joint meeting, knowing there would be room for debate as to exactly where the eventual boundary lines would be drawn.

The joint council meeting between Tualatin and Wilsonville is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 17 at the Juanita Pohl Center, 8650 S.W. Tualatin Road.

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