Tualatin CIO President’s Report

361

Do Our City Council Members Care?

Residents living in Byrom, Martinazzi Woods, and Ibach CIOs are imploring our City Council to change how projects are approved for Basalt Creek. Why? Traffic on SW Boones Ferry towards the I-5 interchange already backs up after 3 pm. So does the traffic on SW 65th.

As currently mapped, the Basalt Creek development will add 1-2 more vehicles for each of the hundreds more residential units being planned along SW Boones Ferry Road Area, truck traffic from industrial and residential development along SW Grahams Ferry Road, through traffic from SW 124th, and commercial vehicles from future industrial development identified along SW Boones Ferry Road south of Greenhill Land (to be conducted by the City of Wilsonville).

And then imagine the proposed Basalt Creek Parkway Extension. It isn’t the 5+ regional freight connector originally planned to connect Highway 99 to Interstate 5. However, as planned, this expressway will never directly connect to Interstate 5 or Interstate 205. It just places more traffic on SW Boones Ferry, heading to or from the I-5 interchange. It won’t help.

A common question is: Do the Tualatin City Council members care about us, our neighborhoods, and our livability?

I believe the answer is – yes, but they may not fully understand the wide range of negative impacts on livability due to the Basalt Creek development.

While the city adopted a Comprehensive Plan for the Basalt Creek Area in 2019, that plan lacked critical information for effective integrated and regionally coordinated planning for the Basalt Creek Area – including effective assessments on traffic congestion; noise, air and water pollution; and other negative impacts on natural resources, which currently exist, and which will exist at full build-out of Basalt Creek Area.

Identified safe, effective integrated, and regionally coordinated land use planning based upon accurate and current assessments and forecasting of traffic, transit, parks, stormwater management, natural resource management, and employment zone development needs are necessary for the Basalt Creek Area. Let’s do it now to protect and enhance livability in Tualatin.

What can local citizens do?

We can bring attention to the problem. Speak up. During the Basalt Creek application process, CIOs leaders continue to report that the traffic study used by applicants is out-of-date. The city has delayed an update. More and more residents are calling for action. Now, a group of residents in the Byrom area have formed a grassroots group called Together Let’s Make Tualatin a Great City – Norwood Says No. You are going to see yard signs and banners with that message. There is a website with more information at www.norwoodsaysno.org.

The shared current concern for Norwood Say No and CIOs is an application and pending plan text amendment to change an existing land use designation to allow High Rise-High Density zoning, thereby further increasing traffic and other possible negative impacts.

Tualatin needs to immediately change its planning and development procedures to include an effective, comprehensive, integrated, and coordinated plan with other local governments to meet these requirements for the Basalt Creek Area. The city, at times, has been using what one local resident calls a “piecemeal” land use planning approach. It may work for infill planning, but not for major development or planning for the urbanization of over 300+ acres of land in an area with challenging constraints, including steep canyon walls, basalt rock, and multiple significant natural resources.

Is there hope? I’d say yes. 

JOIN YOUR LOCAL NEIGHBORHOOD CIO- City of Tualatin  Community Involvement Organization Program

Concerned residents can join your neighborhood CIO and help improve communication between citizens and the City of Tualatin. These community-based organizations are the City of Tualatin’s identified Citizen Involvement Program for Land Use Actions.

For more information, go to our website www.tualatincio.org. Speak up.