Several dozen residents of the rural area west of King City came to an open house in the Deer Creek Elementary cafeteria on March 13 to vocalize their opinions about King City possibly annexing their area in the future and offer suggestions about what type of development they would like to see.
King City is applying to the Metro Council for 600 acres in its urban reserve area west of the city between the Tualatin River, Beef Bend Road and Roy Rogers Road to be brought into its urban growth boundary for future annexation.
The open house was part of a three-day charrette March 13-15 that provided multiple opportunities for the public to gain information and provide input to city officials and consultants about the process.
At Deer Creek, people gathered around eight tables, with each one headed by a consultant, and following a PowerPoint presentation about the process to date, the groups came up with issues they saw as important, which the consultants wrote down on easels.
The ideas included leaving a buffer between developed areas and the river, which are critical as erosion issues "are getting worse;" people asked for no development within 1,000 feet of the river and within 200 feet of streams.
People suggested partnering with the city of Tigard (which has annexed a lot of the area west of Beef Bend) to address infrastructure needs; and someone said that King City should not have to pay for all the problems created by the city of Tigard when subdivisions approved over the years on Bull Mountain were not required to adequately handle water run-off, turning it into a problem for people living east of Beef Bend.
Protecting wildlife, including geese and heron; and preserving and protecting small streams that flow into the Tualatin River along with bird flyways are important to people. Preserving trees and common spaces also is important, and people also asked for walking paths with bridges over streams and canyons, and others asked for a connection to the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.
With Washington County wineries to the west of this area, suggestions were made to make the area a gateway to the wineries, perhaps with a riverwalk complete with restaurants and bars where people could sip a glass of wine and enjoy the river view.
Several people mentioned Progress Ridge, just west of Tigard across Barrows Road, as an ideal commercial model except for inadequate parking, with the need for an urgent care facility in a commercial area also desirable.
People requested a variety of housing types that "are not cookie cutter" and not a lot of multi-family housing because "we don't want the density of Portland." Townhomes along Beef Bend would be acceptable with single-family homes on larger lots built going toward the river, and a height limit of two stories in the area was suggested.
The need for affordable housing was mentioned as "good for the community, and those residents should have the same access to parks and recreation as other people," someone said.
King City could build a new city hall in the area and turn the old one into a library, while others said King City should first "invest in its own downtown."
Several people asked how residents of this area who shoot guns would be compatible with new housing coming in.
Many agreed that road access in the area is already a problem, and Beef Bend and Roy Rogers roads are dangerous and overcrowded, and should be improved with better lighting at night.
Some asked how Redmond, Sisters, Bend and Sherwood have managed to create cities with "good vibes and avoid bad vibes" and if King City could do the same.
Someone asked if residents want to see a multi-generational city develop, how are young people going to afford to buy there?
Keeping the character of existing neighborhoods is important to residents along with mixed housing types with gathering spots; smaller, one-story homes; shared common resources, and walking and bike paths; plus some suggested an amphitheater would be cool.
Some residents of Rivermeade, an area created in 1948 with multi-acre lots, said they want everyone to realize how special it is and to leave it alone.
Of course, many people don't want to see any changes, while others liked the opportunity of having some control over how the area is developed.
King City officials at the meeting, including Mayor Ken Gibson, stressed that even if the area comes into King City's urban growth boundary, King City does not plan to force annexation but will consider applications as they come in.