Council approves Herman Road improvements

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Herman Road Improvements
A $2.9 million project to improve SW Herman Road will be the final piece of the Leveton Urban Renewal District to fall into place a full 11 years after the district stopped generating tax increment finance revenue. After the project is completed the district will be fully disbanded for good. Courtesy City of Tualatin

It may have stopped generating tax increment financing revenue 11 years ago, but the Leveton Urban Renewal District is still producing improvements for the city of Tualatin. 

Established in 1985, Leveton is a 382-acre urban renewal district that improved a swath of north Tualatin that now houses a big chunk of the city’s tech sector businesses. There were transportation, water, sewer, and storm drainage projects that allowed this to happen over a 26 year period using tax increment financing (TIF). The district stopped generating revenue in 2010, but roughly $2.9 million remained unspent until now. 

That ultimately led to last month’s 11th and presumably final amendment to the district, which will allow the city to carry out an improvement project to Southwest Herman Road with those remaining funds. 

“We’re going to allocate all remaining TIF funds, roughly $2.9 million, to this project with the aim of closing out this district,” Jonathan Taylor, the city’s Economic Development Manager, said at the Aug. 9 Tualatin City Council meeting. 

The idea for the project came from area businesses nearly two years ago, Taylor added, and addressed both transportation and workforce mobility in the area.

The substantial amendment to the district was required because in 1989 the City of Tualatin added an additional 33.3 acres to the Leveton District, exceeding 1 percent of area boundary. Under Oregon law, this meant that any future addition, no matter the size, would require a substantial amendment.

The Herman Road Project is part of the city’s Transportation Systems Plan and will add a sidewalk/walking path on the north side of the road, bike lanes on both sides, fix drainage issues, and add a center turn lane at the industrial driveway of Herman Road. 

The project will be paid for with existing funds; there are no existing long-term indebtedness commitments remaining in the district.

This last point was emphasized by Taylor and other city officials, who have heard from Tualatin residents worried that the district would be reopened. 

“We did get a letter from a citizen thinking we are reopening the zone, but I’m assuming based on what I know that’s not the case,” Mayor Frank Bubenik said. 

Mike McCarthy, the City Engineer, is carrying out design work, which is nearly half complete. Construction of the project is anticipated to take place during 2022-23.  After that, it will be time to disband the district entirely. 

“Closure will be based on that final check being cut to the contractor,” Taylor said.