Oregon’s growth has planners looking ahead

John Williams of Metro points to an regional urban planning map, Jan. 28, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
John Williams of Metro points to an regional urban planning map, Jan. 28, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Felicia Rahm is the sales manager at downtown Portland’s Heathman Hotel. She’s also a transplant to the city from Tucson, Arizona.

Felicia Rahm is the sales manager at downtown Portland's Heathman Hotel. She moved here from Arizona, Jan. 28, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Felicia Rahm is the sales manager at downtown Portland’s Heathman Hotel. She moved here from Arizona, Jan. 28, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

“I was here for all of 24 hours and I made the decision to move,” she told KOIN 6 News. “I absolutely fell in love with the city.”

She and many other people love Portland and all of Oregon. New figures just released show Oregon is one of the top states in the nation for people on the move. They’re moving here for jobs, affordable housing and the lifestyle.

Oregon’s population grew to nearly 4 million in 2013, an increase of more than 35,000. Of those, 23,000 moved from other states — mostly California and Washington state.

If the economy continues to improve, Oregon will continue to grow by as many as 52,000 people by the year 2020.

John Williams of Metro told KOIN 6 News they are “working hard to get ready” for the growth.

He heads the planning and development for the regional government that coordinates with local governments in the Tri-County area — where most new people are moving.

Metro is working off a plan called the 2040 Growth Concept to deal with the growth and dealing with infrastructure improvements from public transportation to housing.

One big issue is traffic.

“What we’ve learned in this region is that we really can’t build our way out of that kind of congestion,” Williams said.

Metro supports the Columbia River Crossing, despite opposition from Washington state. Metro is also encouraging development along the Portland-to-Milwaukie light rail line, despite objections in Clackamas County.

One other thing Metro is looking at is to expand the urban growth boundary where new development can take place.

“We’re adding places to the urban growth boundary that are prepared for it, that the communities have the systems in place to handle the growth, and to build the community that they want,” he said.

That may be in places like Wilsonville and Sherwood, and around thstate urban areas like Bend and Eugene are also poised to handle a lot more people.

 

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