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Archive for the ‘parks’ Category

Its time to starting thinking about the ‘I’ word.

Posted by Peter W on December 10, 2007

The Oregonian had an article about Washington County thinking about the ‘A’ word: Annexation. The county will be having discussions in 2008 to talk about how to provide urban services and so far it sounds like they’ve just been discussing annexations (which of course Beaverton and Hillsboro are happy to talk about too).

Might it also be time to start talking about the ‘I’ word: incorporation? Perhaps it doesn’t make sense to have just two sprawling cities. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to have Aloha, Reedville, South Hillsboro, and North Bethany urbanize and become towns or cities.

The advantage of incorporation over annexation is that citizens would have more voice in what their tax money goes to (which seems to be people’s biggest reason to resist annexation – they don’t want the cities to siphon off tax money without providing something valuable in return).

Of course, people may not even feel the need to be incorporated, since they currently get ‘urban’ services from non-city sources such as the Parks District (THPRD), the Fire District (TVF&R), the county’s enhanced sheriff patrols in urban areas, Clean Water Services (sewage and storm water management), and a county wide library service. In addition, the county provides urban transportation infrastructure and is now doing urban planning for North Bethany and West Bull Mountain.

It seems like the two options are:

1. Combine all the currently urban, unincorporated area into a new mega-city.

Basically the county would spin off its urban services into a new city that would serve all of the urban unincorporated area in the county.

2. Encourage incorporation of separate cities.

The best way to encourage this would be to make it known that the county wants this, let people know what they need to do for this to happen, and most importantly, the county would scale back the urban services it provides. I think scaling back services would have the biggest effect. What if the library system only served people within city boundaries? What if the sheriff patrols were equalized between urban and rural areas? What if when the county planned for new areas, they also planned for them to incorporate as a new town? Finally, what if the county declared that only areas inside cities would be eligible for urban transportation infrastructure improvements?

The main advantage of having many smaller towns or cities is that they could each be designed to be self sufficient, with a good jobs/housing mix and a town center with grocery stores and markets, restaurants, a library, fitness centers and other things people use often. That would make peoples communities more livable, make it easier to walk or bike to commute or for errands, and would reduce cross-county automobile trips.

This is wishful thinking now, but they could also link up each town or city center with high speed and frequent rail service to make getting around easy for folks who need to. This is even more wishful thinking, but if there was green fields between towns, you would be just a short walk away from the country, and people could get food from very nearby local farms (can you imagine what will happen when we run out of oil, gas costs $30 a gallon, and our society still depends on trucking in food from even just 20 miles away?).

I’m looking forward to bringing these ideas to discussion next year.

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Posted in beaverton, hillsboro, north bethany, parks, planning, washington county | Leave a Comment »

Possible future Beaverton / Portland bike commute route

Posted by Peter W on May 22, 2007

The Red Electric Trail could be a possible future connection between Beaverton and Portland for recreational trail users as well as commuters.

Unfortunately, according to this article in the Portland Tribune, the trail could take $17 million dollars and 20 years to complete.

It would be interesting to compare the cost of this project with other trail and transportation projects. I’m not sure how the $17 million compares, but I know 20 years seems like a long time. I wonder if there is any way to make it happen faster (or cheaper, for that matter).

Another article about it is this one from BikePortland.org.

The Red Electric Trail Planning Study is available here: http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/index.cfm?c=eefgc

Posted in bikes, parks, planning, transportation, washington county | Leave a Comment »

Park Trails as Transportation

Posted by Peter W on March 7, 2007

There is a nice way to get from the Orenco area to the North Bethany area that involves taking the Rock Creek Trail, finding your way through a maze-like neighborhood, and then taking the Golf Course Trail (I might have that name wrong). Unfortunately very few people probably know about it because it seems the local Park districts focus on providing these parks as a means of recreation for neighborhoods and it doesn’t even occur to them that some people use them for transportation.

What they ought to do is:

  1. Post maps at main entrances.
  2. Post signs at forks, saying where each trail goes to.
  3. Create some kind of route markers to guide people from one trail through the neighborhood to the other trail.

TODO: talk to Mary Ordeal (name?) if she is still the Parks person for Hillsboro, and talk to someone from THPRD.

I wonder if there are other trails that need help around here?

Posted in bikes, parks, transportation | Leave a Comment »