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UGB expansion worries Rivermeade residents

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Many come to King City's first open house on the issue to express their concerns about expanding the urban growth boundary

BARBARA SHERMAN - At King City's Feb. 6 open house in the Deer Creek Elementary media center to discuss its UGB expansion, Lois Rutkin polnts out an area of concern to City Manager Mike Weston (right) while King City City Councilor Bob Olmstead (left) and Rivermeade resident Dave Robinson look on.Several dozen people showed up at the Deer Creek Elementary media center for a Feb. 6 open house sponsored by the city of King City about expanding its urban growth boundary west to Roy Rogers Road between Beef Bend Road and the Tualatin River.

King City has been working with Urbsworks, an urban design firm, on concept planning and preparing a housing needs analysis for the area because the Metro Council will consider expanding the urban growth boundary in 2018, and King City hopes the area known as URA 6D will be included in the expansion.

Previously, the Metro Council designated the approximately 600-acre area as an urban reserve, and King City is currently coordinating efforts with Washington County and the city of Tigard to improve the extension of urban services throughout the River Terrace-Bull Mountain Planning Area north of Beef Bend Road.

River Terrace is a 500-acre area on Tigard's westernmost edge that was previously added to the urban growth boundary to accommodate future housing needs in the region and is currently being developed by Polygon Northwest.

However, a number of residents from the Rivermeade area just west of King City came to the Deer Creek open house with an attitude of "not so fast."

The close-knit, rural community is suspicious of what the future may bring if King City brings the area into the UGB. The Rivermeade area is roughly square-shaped and bordered by Beef Bend Road, the Tualatin River, and 137th and Myrtle avenues off Beef Bend.

The Thorpe family originally owned the area and in 1948 subdivided it into 5-acre or larger plots to sell; in 1953 the Rivermeade Community Club was created, and the family sold land for a park on the river at the end of 137th for $10 to the club.

The formation of the club led the Rivermeade residents to work together to get their roads paved and bring telephone service to the area. Residents can choose to belong to the club or not, and if they pay the annual $50 dues, they can use the park and boat ramp.

After 1965, keeping the lots to a 5-acre minimum was not strictly enforced, so some of the lots have been subdivided. All the properties use well water and have septic tanks, according to residents.

BARBARA SHERMAN - Currently the King City city limits begin where the BPA powerlines cross Beef Bend Road, but if King City officials have their way, the city limits will extend west to Roy Rogers Road between Beef Bend and the Tualatin River; the first step is for the Metro Council to put the area within King City's urban growth boundary.Rivermeade residents were notified by mail about the open house at Deer Creek and brought their concerns with them.

City Manager Mike Weston, city planning consultant Keith Liden and most of the City Council members were on hand to answer questions and discuss the UGB proposal with the attendees.

One question was how King City would pay for infrastructure improvements to the area, and Weston explained that would come from system development charges paid by developers plus increased property taxes from new development.

Weston also explained that if the area becomes part of King City's UGB, the first area likely to be developed would be at Roy Rogers and Beef Bend roads.

"There will be a huge increase in traffic on Beef Bend for people wanting to get to I-5," a man said. "Scholls Ferry is already a parking lot."

Other issues raised included putting multiple units on one lot, forcing residents to connect to sewer and water systems, and basically losing control of the area, where in some cases the third generation of the original families is now living.

"We will be surrounded," one man said.

The next opportunity for people to learn more about King City's application to expand its urban growth boundary is set for Monday, March 13, at 6 p.m. at Deer Creek Elememtary in the cafeteria.