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Tualatin's spirit awarded given to former city manager

Yvonne Addington has influenced Tualatin's growth for decades

by: TIMES PHOTO: CHRISTINA LENT - The Tualatin Chamber of Commerce honored Yvonne Addington with its Spirit of Tualatin award April 24 at the Tualatin Country Club.The argument could be made that Yvonne Addington knows more about the history of Tualatin a than anyone. Ask her a question about a city occurence anywhere from when her grandparents moved here in 1920 to the present, and Addington is likely to not only have an answer on hand, but all of the background that led to the answer, as well.

Last week, the former Tualatin city manager and current Historical Society board member was honored with the Spirit of Tualatin award by the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce.

“You look around and her fingerprints are everywhere,” said City Manager Sherilyn Lombos when presenting Addington with her award.

When Addington grew up here, the town had 300 people and not much else. Tualatin schools were a long way out, and she and her siblings had to attend the neighboring Tigard district. Even running water was an issue. Her family constantly volunteered their efforts to the city because as she said, it was the only way to get anything done.

By the time she began working for the city in 1965, the wells were going dry. So, the city hooked up to the Bull Run Watershed. To be fair to taxpayers, a law was made stating that only those within Tualatin city limits could use the water, and everyone else would have to be annexed. The annexations that followed led to many of the interesting boundary lines that are seen today.

“Those two things really caused the city of Tualatin to grow,” Addington said.

Then, in 1975, Portland relinquished funds that had been in place for a new freeway, opening up money for a different project. Tualatin-Sherwood Road was on the list, but so was Molalla Avenue. When Addington met with Clackamas County officials, the big question was who would go first.

“The Clackamas County commissioner said, ‘OK, let’s flip a coin.’ I won the toss, so Tualatin-Sherwood Road got built first,” she said. “Everything we had to do had to be innovative.”

With the road in place, the city’s vast industrial land could really start to be developed. But, Addington said, much of the growth, like the downtown area and the schools, came after she stopped working for the city to join the governor’s office, which she retired from six years ago.

With Tualatin, she’s most proud of her efforts to bring in Legacy Meridian Park Hospital, build the parks and buy land for the library. Though getting it approved and within city limits wasn’t easy, the hospital truly takes the cake, she said.

As an aside, Addington mentioned that she also successfully lobbied for I-205’s implementation. Now, having joined the Historical Society because she “couldn’t stand to do housework,” Addington is also an Ice Age Committee chairwoman.

Without her efforts, Addington admits that Tualatin wouldn’t look the way it does now. She helped bring in roads, parks, companies and funds to a town that she watched grow from 300 people to 26,000.

“It still looks like my hometown in places, if you look,” Addington said. “Tualatin is my heart.”

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