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Welcome to our coverage of Washington County. Browse posts below and click the headline for the full story. If you have news tips or feedback please get in touch.

Washington County commissioner says adjacent landowners should help pay for sidewalks, bikeways

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
Washington County Commissioner Greg Malinowski.

In a ringing reminder that the ballots arriving May 2 in Washington County will offer residents a choice between two very different futures, a county commissioner is calling for what sounds like a big change in the way street infill projects are paid for.

District 2 incumbent Greg Malinowski, who represents northwest Beaverton and the nearby unincorporated areas, suggested in an Oregonian op-ed Monday that the county should be able to bill property owners for at least some of the cost of "sidewalks and bikeways" along their property.

(more...)

Washington County election hinges on land use and transportation issues

Thursday, March 20th, 2014
Washington County Chair Andy Duyck and
challenger Allen Amabisca.
(Photos from campaign websites)

Two months from today, voters in Oregon's second-largest county will decide who will have their fingers on the region's biggest sprawl button.

Though Washington County, which sits on the western third of the Portland metro area, isn't facing the rocketing housing demand it once was, its political conversation continues to be dominated by issues of land use, real estate development and transportation — and its five-member board is essentially split 3-2 in favor of expanding urban growth boundaries.

Three of those seats, though, are up for grabs, and a trio of candidates — two challengers, one incumbent — are hoping to tip the county's balance against suburban expansion. Candidates in two of those races faced off at an event covered by the Oregonian Wednesday night.

County Chair Andy Duyck said that the central question of the campaign is whether the county has enough room in its urban areas to continue developing single-family homes.
(more...)

New Washington County bike map worth a look

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

If you haven't explored the Washington County by bike yet, you're really missing out. From scenic bikeways to a state park and miles of beautiful rural vistas, the riding is world class.

Now, just in time for the start of spring, the Washington County Visitor's Association has released a brand new map that puts all the best routes at your fingertips. Sure, GPS devices are swell, but — as we learned recently — there's no substitute for an accurate printed map that never needs to be recharged.

We got a few copies of the new map here at the office and it's very nice. The thing that stood out to me was the addition of the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway, a 50-mile route that starts southeast of downtown Hillsboro and meanders its way up to Vernonia via the Banks-Vernonia State Trail.

Allison George with the WCVA says their map is the only place where you can see the bikeway route overlaid with road characteristics such as traffic volume, presence of bike lanes, and so on. Here are some other upgrades George highlighted in the new map: (more...)

Scofflaws abound on local freeways: Police make 452 stops in five hours

Thursday, January 30th, 2014
traffic on i-5 -1
Many law-breakers among them.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Just how much do people break the law when they drive on local freeways? A lot.

This fact is usually hidden from public eye for one main reason: Local law enforcement agencies simply don't have the human resources to stop all the people who break the law. They are underfunded and understaffed. Dangerous driving and blatant disregard for Oregon traffic law is so common that police officers are forced to stop only the most egregious violators.

It's only when law enforcement agencies do targeted enforcement missions that the full picture of lawlessness emerges.
(more...)

At current rates, Washington County bike network will take 62 years to finish

Thursday, January 30th, 2014
Beaverton to Tualatin ride-3
Jim Parsons of Beaverton (upper left), attempts to join traffic at the corner of Southwest Canyon and Lombard in 2011.
(Photos by J.Maus/BikePortland)

A public meeting in Beaverton Thursday will give Washington County residents a chance for in-person feedback on a 20-year transportation plan currently slated to devote vast amounts of money to widening local streets.

(more...)

Washington County proposes protected bike lane outside Nike HQ

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014
The new bike lane would be similar to this one in
Toronto, Washington County Bicycle-Pedestrian
Coordinator Shelley Oylear said.
(Image courtesy Washington County)

The main drag outside Nike's Washington County headquarters could soon be home to one of the region's first curb-protected bike lanes.

At an open house tomorrow, the county will present plans to widen 1.8 miles of Walker Road north and west of the fast-growing sportswear giant, making it a five-lane thoroughfare throughout the stretch and adding better sidewalks, storm drainage, street lighting and a low, rounded curb separating bike and auto traffic.

Washington County Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Shelley Oylear said the project is part of a growing understanding in county government that it's impossible to build wider and wider roads forever — as the county gets more dense, there simply won't be space for almost all trips to involve a car.

"People are going to have to expect that if we build a four or five lane road, that's it," Oylear said in an interview last month.

(more...)

Eyes on the Street: New signal for Fanno Creek path at Hall Blvd

Thursday, January 16th, 2014
This new signal has been installed on SW Hall Blvd in order to make it easier for Fanno Creek Trail users to cross.
(Photo by Bill Anderson).

(more...)

The Friday Profile: Shelley Oylear, Washington County's eye on biking

Friday, December 27th, 2013
Washington County Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Shelley Oylear.
(Photos by M.Andersen/BikePortland)

North Portland; unincorporated Washington County. Planning; engineering. Biking; walking. Government service; neighborhood activism.

Shelley Oylear, the only public employee in Washington County with the word "bicycle" in her job title, is the 36-year-old queen of having feet in two worlds. And with a new six-mile off-road path just opened and three miles of new curb-protected bike lanes in the works, her diverse background is paying off for the people of the metro area's west side.

(more...)

Priority check: Washington County spending $21 million on Farmington 'improvement' project

Friday, November 15th, 2013
Southwest Farmington and Murray.
(Image: Google Street View.)

In 2002, looking for future bottlenecks in its road system, the City of Beaverton was troubled by traffic projections for the corner of Southwest Farmington and Murray, one mile west of its historic downtown.

Detail of project concept drawing. (Note the widened
intersections and proximity of a nursing home.)

By 2020, traffic engineers calculated, the number of cars using Farmington would soar from 27,000 cars per day to 36,000, clogging traffic unless the five-lane intersection there — which hosts a 7-Eleven, an apartment complex, a senior living facility and a nursing home — were widened to seven traffic lanes. But after unsuccessfully casting about for years to find money for their "Farmington Road Improvement Project," the city mothballed it.

Then a funny thing happened: nothing. There was no permanent traffic jam. Eleven years and two business cycles later, Farmington actually carries 700 fewer cars per day.

The seven-lane intersection, however, is back from the dead. The project, which also includes a new center lane further east on Farmington, newly striped bike lanes, a segment of sidewalk and a new signal and realignment of 142nd Avenue, is on track to be paid for by $21 million in Washington County property taxes.

(more...)

Long trucks now restricted on Jackson Quarry Road in Washington County

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013
Great for bikes — but not great for long trucks.
(Photo: Washington County)

A road in rural Washington County that's a popular cycling route should become a bit nicer to ride on thanks to a new ruling by the county's Board of Commissioners. The ruling prohibits vehicles longer than 30 feet from using Jackson Quarry Road (map), a narrow and winding road that connects to West Union, which is a key connector for many cycling routes in the Helvetia area.

Here's more from Washington County's Dept of Land Use & Transportation:

Washington County's Board of Commissioners has authorized a 30-foot vehicle length limit on Jackson Quarry Road between Mason Hill and Helvetia roads. Signs identifying this restriction will be installed soon. Trucks exceeding 30 feet in length must use an alternate route or apply for an oversize truck permit. (more...)

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