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Council concerned about traffic in planning for new Tualatin City Hall

Ingress/egress concerns over ONA building

COURTESY OF THE CITY OF TUALATIN - A rough artist's rendering shows how a new Tualatin City Hall might look alongside the Tualatin Commons.In a city infamous for its downtown congestion problems, Tualatin's elected officials said Monday that they want to know what impact a new City Hall building would have on traffic before they study potential sites in more detail.

Tualatin tore down its City Hall last year to make way for the extension of Southwest Seneca Street. The city is now looking at finding a new home for city offices — Tualatin currently shares space with other public facilities, such as the Juanita Pohl Center and the Tualatin Public Library — and has winnowed its options down to just a few properties.

One of the leading possibilities has been the former Oregon Nurses Association building, known as Aspen Place, on Southwest Lower Boones Ferry Road near Tualatin Community Park. But some councilors said they are worried that the streets leading to the building — and the impact a new City Hall might have on traffic patterns — may make it unsuitable.

“The attraction for us to the Aspen Place building for a long time was the fact that we perceived it to be less expensive than the other options,” said Councilor Ed Truax. But "we've heard tonight that probably isn't true. … I'm not a traffic design guru, but I don't know how you would redesign all that to get easy ingress and egress to that building ... if you're going to attract presumably more traffic than the building attracts now. And so for me, the luster's kind of gone from it.”

Lou Ogden, mayor of Tualatin, countered that it is not yet known if Aspen Place would be as expensive as building a new City Hall east of the Tualatin Commons, which comes with a total cost estimated at $16.4 million.

City officials have said voter approval will likely be sought next year for a bond measure to pay for the new City Hall.

Council President Monique Beikman suggested the city should commission a traffic study and include several options, including a new building next to the police station, before it decides which sites it is serious about exploring for a future City Hall.

“Then we can kind of decide which ones are viable and make sense, and then go ahead and get (consultants) to do more due diligence on that part,” she said.

Parking is also a consideration for the city. The Commons site would have ample parking for a City Hall, according to projections shared by Deputy City Manager Sara Singer on Monday, but Aspen Place would likely need seven more available spaces.


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