View Full Version : Will Beaverton's plans for Urban Renewal promote Walking and Biking and Less Driving?

09-16-2011, 11:33 AM
I've added a map that illustrates road improvements to be made according to current urban renewal plans, should the voters approve urban renewal in November.

I'm re-posting some of the information about Beaverton's proposed Urban Renewal plans, that I'd posted last week but decided to temporarily pull. Here it is:

For months now, some of Beaverton's leaders have been encouraging residents to consider an urban renewal district (district referred to being Central Beaverton...my neighborhood...which includes the the Cedar Hills Crossing, Beaverton Town Square and the library.).

There's plenty of challenges associated with Urban Renewal, first of all which might be for many of you...including me...understanding the means by which city leaders get the money for urban renewal. From BURA (Beav Urb Redevelopment Agency) at the city's website, here's and excerpt from the FAQ page to get you started understanding this:

"... How does urban renewal work?

Within an urban renewal area, the assessed value of property within

that defined area is split into two categories: the current value and the

future additional value that would potentially result from improvements.

Property taxes on the difference between current and future value is the

amount of funding that would be available to the Beaverton Urban

Redevelopment Agency (BURA) to finance identified public improvement

projects. Once an area is redeveloped, properties within the area

typically generate more in property taxes. ..."

Proposed Central Beaverton Urban Renewal Plan Frequently Asked Questions (http://beavertonoregon.gov/DocumentView.aspx?DID=2065)

I encourage any person reading to offer better, more easily understood explanations than the one above, relating to the urban renewal formula for generating money to be used for urban renewal projects.

Coming up in November, is the Beaverton resident vote for urban renewal. I'll locate the exact date and post it.

What do you want or expect from the city's plans for Urban Renewal? The designated area for renewal is Central Beaverton. City leaders at the public presentation state that "Private Investment" is the fundamental goal they seek from urban redevelopment. Fix the infrastructure up, offer more amenities and hopefully... people with money will possibly be willing to invest in Central Beaverton, allowing the city to grow and prosper.

The city has actively encouraged suggestions and ideas from the public, so it knows that people have expressed that they're interested in the city being more practical to get around on by bike and on foot. In terms of specifics though, just how much better for walking and biking is Central Beaverton likely to become through urban redevelopment that voters have to think about voting either for or against?

I figure this is 'the urban renewal/urban redevelopment question' that readers of bikeportland might be most interested in having answers to. Sure, they probably want to see Central Beaverton prosper...have more employment opportunities, options for places to live...bigger, more beautiful buildings, more things to do. Just though, being able to more easily and pleasantly get around this 'street-crossed' city, without being compelled to use a motor vehicle to do it, has got to be on many people's minds.

Relative to the overall urban development picture in Beaverton, I'm wondering just how important people in Beaverton consider better conditions for getting around by walking and biking to be. If "Private Investment" truly is the fundamental objective sought through urban renewal, I can't help consider that expanded provision for automobile travel through Central Beaverton will take most of its traditional precedence over provision for travel by foot and bike. If the voices aren't there in very strong support for a very substantial network of bike-walk infrastructure to be developed through the urban redevelopment plans, what actually will be built is more likely to be a token concession to bike-walk travel infrastructure.

09-20-2011, 11:42 AM
Below is a map used by the City of Beaverton to illustrate a general idea of the road improvements potentially to be made, and the order in which they'd be made, if voters give the green light in November, to proceed with Urban Renewal. The map is part of the visual aids that have been mounted on easels and displayed at presentations to the public.

One biking and walking street improvement people have been hoping for, would be a paved connection of Millikan Way between Hall Blvd and Lombard. On the map, the route of the proposed change is confusing; note that the fuschia colored line crosses straight through the apartment/motel buildings, rather than to the north side of the 'V' shaped building where currently exists, a hard packed earthen use path serving as that connection.

The gold colored lines over the Beaverton Town Square area, cover routes through the parking lots that are informally used to some degree, as streets between the two major thoroughfares: Beav/Hillsdale Hwy and Canyon Rd., that straddle BTS. There are plans to possibly formalize those routes into official, improved streets, with the idea that doing so would improve conditions for everyone there. I have no idea of the current numbers of vehicular travel across those routes, or what projections may be in terms of increases or decreases in those numbers, that may be expected to result from improvements to be made.


Some notes about the Beaverton Town Square area (the area, lower right, marked with gold lines.):

Sidewalks provided through the parking lots are mostly 5' and 6' wide, the exception being the 9' wide east-west sidewalk stretching between Fred Meyer and Beaverton Town Square proper (the mall complex with the clock tower.). The 9' sidewalk often has shopping carts and overhanging car bumpers blocking part of its width. Designers of the parking lot and its amenities including the sidewalk, placed the lamp posts right in the middle of the sidewalk, effectively making the sidewalk at points along its length, only four and a half feet, or 54" wide.

10-24-2011, 01:58 PM
Alright westsiders...any of you that haven't heard, haven't read or remembered the announcement in the taxpayer paid for flyer you got in the mailbox about it, tonight is *** 'Beaverton's 'Fall Voter's Forum' *** . It's at the Beaverton Library on 5th, 6:30-9pm.

So if you're not doing anything and feel like laughing and snickering at, and maybe getting some worthwhile info and knowledge from the folks that are looking to fill David Wu's Congressional District 1 seat, you might want to drop by. They'll also be pitching the Urban Renewal plan, because of course, that's on the November ballot, as well as a levy to decide to provide more more money for schools.

Kind of a bonus for us calorie burning muscle powered travelers: these soirees tend to have some decent snacks early in the evening.

10-27-2011, 10:55 AM
Just a little summary of notable points transpired at Beaverton's Candidates Forum on Monday:

A pitch to support the school district bond. Retired school super Jerry Cologna was there. The pitch sounded good, but...hey...money is tight these days.

A five person panel to debate Beaverton's Urban Renewal plan: Doyle, mayor...council person San Souchi,. Sorry about being empty handed on the names of the other three guys, except of course, old, crusty Henry Kane, who along with another guy on the panel, is a critic of the plan. Urban Renewal funding seems to me to rely on a kind of 'funny voodoo math'.

The fundamental principle of it is that property values have to rise in order to pay for Urban Renewal related improvements. Obviously, rising property values mean people living in the area would be paying correspondingly more taxes....but proponents of the plan argue incessently that the funding is not a 'Tax Increase'. Kane doesn't buy it, nor does his fellow critic of the plan.

Beyond this, I'm still not quite sure how the funding works. Does involve bonds.

School District and Fire and Rescue supports the Urban Renewal Plan.

The candidates presentation was fine. The dems...Bonamici, Avakian...and one other dem were fine. Either Bonamici or Avakian would do well. Avakian seems stronger. The other dem....whose name I'm tying to remember...had good things to say. Probably a little bit too soft spoken.

The two repubs were worth watching and listening to. All these candidates have presented their pitch on previous occasions, so I suppose it gets to be a kind of a show for them. Cornilles is the younger good looking guy, moderate compared to his opponent, but still a repub. Greenfield is older, 50-60's, but looks good, robust. A hard line repub though (the poor banks or just over-regulated! It's killing this nations economy!) ...that sort of thing. Made a wise crack about being too honest to be a lawyer, so he became a used car salesman...and finally...a politician. Quite the comedian. Got a big laugh from the crowd on that one.

Event was a full house down in the Library's auditorium. Great vittles before the event....these little rollups with turkey or chicken in them. Not sure if vegan fare was there. Non-gluten folks were stuck high and dry. Great fruit...fresh papaya... and other fruits. But no coffee! That's ok. Headed after over to the 'Bucks, here in Beaverton, (as opposed to Santa Cruz) where outlaw motorcycle gangs are most certainly not fighting over who gets to hang out there.

I forgot to mention in the summary of the Urban Renewal Plan presentation, as expected, Denny Doyle, Beaverton's mayor did give a nod to improvements that would be made to walking and biking infrastructure as urban development proceeded. The city acknowledges that in active inquiries made to the resident public to determine what that public would like to see happen with urban development, people have said they would like their city to be easier to walk and bike where they need to go.

As for the rubber hitting the road though, or...maybe I should say, as to which rubber tred is most likely to hit the road with urban development improvements as per the plan, the uneasy feeling I found hard to escape, is that in words city leaders have offered in support of the plan, it seems most likely that the rubber of motor vehicle tires, rather than soles of shoes or bike tires is the mode of travel that the Urban Renewal Plan seems set to favor, as usual.

I'm fairly certain I heard one of the proponents mention the word 'connectivity', in the presentation. In this instance though, the reference is to street connectivity for motor vehicles, not foot and bike traffic. Away from the monster thoroughfares, Canyon and Beav-Hillsdale-Farmington Rd, Hall-Watson couplet, Beaverton has somewhat decent walkable, though minimally so...(too narrow) sidewalks. It would be a mistake not to notice the priority people still place on enabling easier access for greater volumes of motor vehicle traffic over certain areas around the thoroughfares, not currently possible due to incomplete or insufficiently developed streets at present.

This access is regarded as a priority, because one key goal associated with Urban Renewal, is having private investors see the area as being so attractive due to improvements made, that they'll be willing to spend millions and millions of dollars building big new buildings within the Urban Renewal district...Central Beaverton. This is a situation that may have some similarities to the situation in S.E. Portland Holladay St. . Here as is the case there, car access is considered a really big deal.

People, it's your money that will be spent. Think about what you want city leaders to do with it. Even if voters give Urban Renewal the thumbs up on the November ballot, deciding the specific details of the plan seems likely to be an involved process. Could be wrong, but this is what I understand at present. There will be opportunities for further public input on wants, but people that want to have big, broad pleasant to walk and bike avenues, are going to have to be prepared not to be passive.