TriMet renames Tigard Transit Center for former Washington County commissioner

A recent event recognized three decades of community service and elected leadership by Tom Brian in Washington County.

On May 6, Brian was honored at an event attended by approximately 200 community, business and public officials when TriMet renamed the Tigard Transit Center in his honor. The Thomas M. Brian Transit Center in downtown Tigard serves as a crossroads for both TriMet buses and Washington County commuter rail service, WES.

This event - a very deserved celebration and acknowledgement of Brian's contributions and innovative leadership - leave a burning question in our mind: In Brian's absence, has the train of opportunity already left the station, or is there more to come?

Granted, we recognize that Brian has been out of public office since Dec. 31, and Washington County government and progress in the Westside have not collapsed or come to a noticeable standstill.

Yet the unfilled needs and remaining opportunities of Washington County and its many communities remain quite large and, in some cases, very daunting.

We worry that without Brian's innovative spark and ability to deftly lead on a local, regional and national leadership level, some needs and opportunities will go unresolved.

This is not a knock on new Washington County Chairman Andy Duyck. But it is an acknowledgement that in the past it was Brian who significantly drove Washington County.

Going forward, the westside will need the collective drive of Duyck, other county commissioners, local mayors, community leaders and business leaders to make things happen on a host of issues.

These issues include:

-- Urban and rural reserves. It is now up to the state to sign off on last-minute changes to westside urban and rural reserve boundaries. Yet, this issue remains contentious for some members of the agricultural and environmental community.

It's time that all parties agree that the reserve boundaries are as good as they can be and should be approved for what they are intended to be: the nation's most rigid and defined urban growth boundaries, providing 40 to 50 years of future land use certainty and protection.

-- North Bethany. Planning for this expansion area will rely on infrastructure services that remain exceedingly difficult to fund in this economy.

-- Economic development along the WES line. We think that Brian was right from the beginning. WES will only achieve its complete success if it provides a spark of economic revitalization along its rail route linking Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin and Wilsonville. Will that happen? When might it happen?

-- Water resources. Brian led the effort to convince the federal government to allow and help pay for an expansion of Hagg Lake in western Washington County and provide future municipal, industrial, agricultural and environmental water resources. With vast increases in local population coming, will these water supply services ever occur?

-- Washington County Fairgrounds. Plans to fully redevelop the fairgrounds in Hillsboro move slowly forward as a land-swap agreement involving the armory engages both federal and state agencies. We hope the plan proceeds. Although not often visited by county residents living in Tigard, Tualatin and Beaverton, the county fairgrounds site is a jewel of possibilities waiting to happen.

-- Economic development county-wide. Washington County's economy is most definitely driven by Intel, whose future here seems well assured for at least the next 15 to 20 years or more. Thank goodness. But looking ahead, economic opportunity needs to expand, diversify and be greatly strengthened in localized areas such as Tualatin's industrial community, Tigard's downtown, Beaverton's downtown, Aloha and the area north of Highway 26 between Highway 217 and Southwest 185th.

Tom Brian will not be around as an elected official to lead the achievement of these and many other important outcomes. Nevertheless, they are essential. And getting them done will require Duyck and many new and atypical partners to work together to get things done in a timely, beneficial way.

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