It has been quite a process this past decade- in fact for us ole timers lets make that 2 decades. The Orenco Station, The Platform District at Orenco, the Hillsboro Stadium, and the 6 Billion dollar Intel D1X Fab have created a city in a state of flux. We all understand this process and realize the jobs are important. Whether or not we are pro-growth or anti-growth or somewhere in between it is certainly universal that we HATE TRAFFIC! In the past 2 years the people in the City of Hillsboro and particularly those living and travelling in Orenco have been subjected to almost non-stop and unimaginable traffic and road construction on the major roads.
A flash point developed the past couple of months along NW 231st Avenue between Cornell Road and the MAX crossing. This past Spring and Summer we have all seen all sidewalks blocked, constant flagging stoppages with wait times of up to 15 minutes, and many near misses with pedestrians and cars. Edges have been left in pavement greater then the norms and cones have been knocked down leaving people driving in the wrong direction and dropping tires into holes. There have been altercations with staff from the Nutter Corp who is the contractor. Things seemed out of control.
Enter NextDoor.com and the neighborhood chatways that cover this region. A petition was started online there due to many of you voicing your concerns. To date 75 concerned citizens have signed that petition in about 4 days and that was forwarded to the City of Hillsboro. See that petition here. Here is a taste of what has been happening and some slides of what the resolutions are thanks to the Action and involvement of City Staff!
The City Responds- We Will See Improvements Soon
Upon receiving the petition the City of Hillsboro Staff, who I have the utmost respect for, reacted. Planning Director Colin Cooper and Transportation Manager Don Odermott both reacted quickly and got some answers. It appears there is a lot more to the story and we need to understand the process. Here is what came out of the meeting we had yesterday!
- This project is a requirement of Holland Corporation who developed Tesera, Platform 14, The Hub 9, The Rowlock, and now the Vector. They are running the show and managing this project.
- Holland is paying all the bills and have hired Nutter Corporation to oversee the roads.
- The City of HIllsboro has permitting and general oversight but not specifically project control.
- The developer, Holland, will not be allowed to occupy the new multi-million dollar Vector Building without their road improvements finished along NW 231st.
- The County is running a project on Cornell Road at the same time where improvements are being made. This has created coordination issues at times.
- The City Staff walked the site on 9-27-16 and found several problems. The main one in the short term for public safety is that no cars will park any longer along 231st in front of Sonrise Baptist. That section of road and the small bike and walking are will be cleared and left wide open until sidewalks are done on the West side of the road.
- Paving of the road that is now cut up will be October 5th to the 8th, 2017 and at that point things should begin to greatly improve. A complete 8 foot sidewalk and planter strip- see profile above – will be installed and walk-able form Cherry Street (apx) to Cornell road. This will be done on or about the end of October.
- At that juncture the community will finally have an actual connecting sidewalk for bikes and pedestrians and wheel chairs for the first time ever from the light rail to Cornell.
- A sidewalk and other road widening should follow that from the light at 229th avenue back down to Jacksons / Winco area.
- New turn lanes will be finished at 231st helping traffic flow in and out of the areas South of Cornell and there will be additional lanes to travel straight to Intel (North) and for getting off and onto Cornell. See the diagrams above.
- A pedestrian Island will be completed on the SW Corner of Cornell and 229th which will allow a shorter and safer walk across Cornell. A similar Island will be constructed on the SE Corner in 2017.
- A FULL SIDEWALK and BIKE PATH will also be installed in front of Sonrise Baptist in 2017 and that is part fo ongoing work that Intel is conditioned to complete as part fo the D1X opening.
In a nut-shell folks things are going to get better. Safer. Easier. At least that is the plan!
There should be no anger directed to our City. This entire URBAN process in Orenco has been years in the making and frankly is unprecedented. These were farm roads and the staff points out how many challenges the City and community face. There are dozens of cables and pipes and creek beds and culverts under the streets – 231st is a super complex snarl of these elements and it is also a bottleneck. The park on the corner was made possible by Holland Corp trading that land to the City and unfortunately because of MAX there were City, State, METRO, and Federal folks involved in all of this!
Better days are ahead for sure and we thank the City for their action and what will now be a close eye on the completion of this project!
Communicate any concerns your have to us at OrencoLife@gmail.com
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