by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Canyon Creek Road, shown here at its present terminus north of Vlahos Drive, will be extended south to Town Center Loop East under a plan to extend full street improvements between Town Center Loop and Boeckman Road. While certain details remain to be ironed out, the long-planned street connection between Town Center Loop and Boeckman Road is now one step closer to reality.

The Wilsonville Urban Renewal Agency voted April 7 to approve the acquisition of eight small parcels of property needed to complete the project, including a strip of land roughly 37 feet wide and more than 1,000 feet long owned by Mentor Graphics. That land, which already contains a publicly accessible paved walking path, will be partially donated and partially sold to the city under terms of a development agreement that has yet to be finalized.

Perhaps sold isn’t the right term: Under terms of Urban Renewal Resolution 242, the city will not be compensating Mentor Graphics outright for the property. Instead, a portion of the land will be appraised, with the final negotiated value being credited against a future reimbursement district that will eventually help pay for a part of the project costs through tax revenues.

“I think this board gave clear indication there was interest in having a full street improvement,” said Mayor Tim Knapp, who along with the rest of the Wilsonville City Council also doubles as an urban renewal agency member. “We gave direction to staff to go and negotiate with Mentor Graphics, and we’ve gone a long way along the road to the objective the board has. This seems to be to be the appropriate series of steps to take. It will come back to us for review and consideration, so I’m very comfortable with that as adequate.”

The so-called full-street build out would see construction of a three-lane road between Southwest Town Center Loop East and Boeckman Road. There would be bike lanes, large sidewalks and complete street lighting. When finished, the road would support an estimated 5,000-7,000 vehicle trips per day and provide future connection points to a large parcel of land the still will be owned by Mentor Graphics.

The project would complete a minor arterial link between Elligsen Road and the Town Center and provide a north-south alternate to Wilsonville Road and Parkway Avenue on the east side of the city. That connectivity also would benefit future east-side circulation as growth takes place in the Frog Pond area.

Engineering and construction costs for the project are currently estimated at around $6.2 million. It remains unknown, however, how much the property acquisition will add to that figure. Some councilors/agency members expressed concern about this type of arrangement, whereby councilors are asked to approve the purchase of property prior to a price being set.

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Canyon Creek Road will be extended south to Town Center Loop East. “The only reservation I have is being asked to authorize this without known what the cost is,” councilor Richard Goddard said. “It’s a blank check, and just as a principle it seems like the right thing to do would be to know what the costs are before we go ahead and buy it.”

Wilsonville Economic Development Director Kristen Retherford told agency members the problem with this approach is that city staff usually seek council approval for property acquisition prior to any negotiation over price.

Whatever the resulting cost, funding for the project will come from the city’s Year 2000 Urban Renewal District and be included in the urban renewal budget for fiscal year 2014-15.

Councilor Scott Starr noted the project should benefit both the city and Mentor Graphics. The former will gain a new, safer street, the latter a big boost in overall property value.

“This is pretty interesting, in that the only reason I wanted to do this through urban renewal,” Starr said, “is if we did the full street, because it brings a ton more value to the land to the west of the street ... overall, I think this could be a very good way for both the city and Mentor to do it.”

City staff was scheduled to return to the agency board with a draft development agreement at the agency’s April 21 meeting.

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