Tigard City Council will annex land in River Terrace area

by: JAIME VALDEZ - Cars speed past undeveloped land along Southwest Roy Rogers Road. There may not be much here now, but city officials expect the area to blossom in a few years with shopping, parks and thousands of new homes.
The city of Tigard is growing, little by little.

The Tigard City Council is expected to approve a plan later this month to annex nearly 270 acres southwest of Bull Mountain, doubling the area known as River Terrace in the largest annexation by the city since it attempted to annex Bull Mountain nearly a decade ago.

The soon-to-be-annexed land comprises two sections of land known as Area 63, southwest of Roy Rogers West.

Joining already annexed land in the area, the expanded River Terrace will stretch across 500 acres along Southwest Roy Rogers Road from Scholls Ferry to Beef Bend roads, nearly enclosing Bull Mountain within the city limits.

It’s all part of a plan to develop the area over the next several years.

Property owners in River Terrace hope to gain access to city services, such as water and sewer lines, so they can develop the land, said Darren Wyss, a planner with the city of Tigard handling the River Terrace annexation.

Those plans have been in the works for more than a decade by Washington County and Tigard. Roy Rogers West and Area 63 were included in the River Terrace Community Plan approved by the City Council in December.

“Although they happened at different times, this whole chunk will be the focus of the community plan,” Wyss said.

The first section of River Terrace was annexed in 2011. Cheryl Caines, a planner with the city of Tigard, said the city would have annexed all of River Terrace at once in 2011, but needed to wait until Roy Rogers West was brought into the Urban Growth Boundary to connect to Area 63.

“We had to wait for that to be finalized before the people in (Area) 63 and Roy Rogers West could petition to annex,” Caines said.

That 2011 annexation caused some concern among Bull Mountain residents, who worried the unincorporated area being surrounded by the city might lead city officials to consider a forced annexation of portions of Bull Mountain.

The city’s failed attempt to annex Bull Mountain in 2004 left an often-times contentious relationship between the two communities for years. Since then, the city has tread carefully with annexations, particularly on or around Bull Mountain.

City officials have said several times that although much of Bull Mountain will be surrounded by Tigard, there are no plans to attempt another annexation of the unincorporated area.

“We need to concentrate on getting the community plan done and get these folks (in River Terrace) annexed, and that is the focus of our efforts,” Wyss said.

If Bull Mountain residents wanted to annex, Wyss said, that’s something that could be looked into on a case-by-case basis.

“At some point in the future, if (Bull Mountain residents) want to annex to get services from the city, they can,” Wyss said. “But they really don’t have a reason to annex, since they get those services already.”

Lisa Hamilton, who has lived on Bull Mountain for years and serves as vice-chairwoman of the Bull Mountain-area Citizen Participation Organization, said Bull Mountain residents have been preparing for the River Terrace annexation for years.

Hamilton said she has heard some concerns from Bull Mountain residents about the River Terrace annexations, but she doesn’t see a problem with the city’s goals for the area.

“It’s what we expected,” she said.

While the community isn’t entirely enveloped by the city, it does bring up some questions about what to do with Bull Mountain, she said.

“It has long been my hope that the residents of that area could work together with the county and the city of Tigard to maybe begin discussions about a mutually beneficial long-term plan,” Hamilton said. “I think enough time has passed, and there are enough new faces that it may be a possibility.”

Plans for development along River Terrace are expected to continue through 2014 before any development can begin.

When finished, the area will include new parks, shopping centers and at least one new school. County officials expect between 2,300 and 3,200 new homes in the area during the next several years.

The city’s annexation hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 7:30 p.m. at Tigard City Hall, 13125 S.W. Hall Blvd.

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