In the News

Pipeline construction begins for Willamette Water Supply Program

Over the next couple of weeks, crews will tunnel beneath Highway 217 and Southwest Scholls Ferry Road.

Anyone driving along Highway 217 at Scholls Ferry Road will probably notice some increased construction activity as crews begin work on a new pipeline for the Willamette Water Supply Program project.

COURTESY MAP: WILLAMETTE WATER SUPPLY PROGRAM – Two tunnels are being installed at Highway 217 and Scholls Ferry Road for Willamette Water Supply Program drinking water pipeline work.

Read the story at Hillsboro News Time

Willamette Water Supply Project on track for 2026 completion

When completed, the new system will provide drinking water to thousands of people in Washington County.

WILSONVILLE, Ore. (KOIN) — In Wilsonville, the fall rains aren’t slowing down the work on the Willamette Water Supply Project. 

Construction crews are driving equipment through mud, digging trenches and laying massive pipes. 

“About 25% of the 30 miles of pipeline has been constructed, and some of our big facility work is about to begin,” explained Marlys Mock, communications supervisor with the Tualatin Valley Water District and spokesperson for the project. She said crews are in the thick of construction right now. 

The Willamette Water Supply Project is a massive pipe system that will supply drinking water to three communities: the Tualatin Valley Water District, Beaverton and Hillsboro. All three areas expect significant population growth in the next 50 to 100 years and intend to use the water supply project as a way to meet the needs of future Washington County residents. 

Construction crews work to install pipe for the Willamette Water Supply Project in Wilsonville on Sept. 27, 2021. (KOIN)

The three communities started exploring options for a new drinking water system about 10 years ago, Mock said. The City of Hillsboro was particularly concerned about finding a back-up water supply. Hillsboro Water’s current source water is from the Upper Tualatin River and its tributaries. In the summer, the river level drops too low for reliable use, so Hillsboro customers depend upon water stored in the Barney and Hagg Lake reservoirs to meet demand. If the Scoggins Dam on Hagg Lake failed during a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, the city’s supply could be extremely limited. 

Read the entire article on KOIN

Tualatin-Sherwood, Roy Rogers roads projects begin

Road improvements, along with the installation of a 66-inch water pipeline, are planned.

Long-anticipated roadway improvements to Southwest Tualatin-Sherwood and Roy Rogers roads will begin in Sherwood on Aug. 16.

The Tualatin-Sherwood Road/Roy Rogers Road intersection with Highway 99W has a lot of traffic, especially during commute times and is expected to have more traffic in the future,  the Washington County Department of Land Use & Transportation stated in a news release. The project improves traffic flow and safety for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists on Tualatin-Sherwood/Roy Rogers Road from Borchers Drive to Langer Farms Parkway.

The $40.6 million project also includes installing a 66-inch diameter section of pipe as part of the Willamette Water Supply Program. That program includes building a 30-mile pipeline from an intake facility along the Willamette River in Wilsonville and pumping the drinking water to Hillsboro. The pipeline also will also be used as a backup water source for the city of Beaverton.

Installing the pipe while the roadway is being done will reduces costs and traffic impacts, officials have said.

The road improvements will include the widening of Tualatin-Sherwood Road where two westbound through lanes will be added, as well as widening Tualatin-Sherwood Road east of Langer Farms Parkway, with a second eastbound through lane added beyond that intersection.

The project also calls for Highway 99W improvements that include adding two eastbound-to-northbound dual left-turn lanes, a westbound through-lane, an eastbound-to-southbound dedicated right-turn lane and a southbound-to-westbound dedicated right-turn lane.

Plans also call for the widening of Highway 99W to add a northbound lane from Tualatin-Sherwood Road to Langer Farms Parkway. Bike lanes also will be added to both sides of Tualatin-Sherwood Road, between Borchers Drive and Langer Farms Parkway, officials say.

Roadwork will be completed in four phases. Tualatin-Sherwood and Roy Rogers roads will remain open during the project.

The first stage of the project, which will last a full year, will begin on the east side of Highway 99W between north of Langer Farms Parkway and Tualatin Sherwood Road. Work also will be done on the south side of Roy Rogers Road between Lavender Avenue and Highway 99W and the north side of Tualatin-Sherwood Road between Highway 99W and Olds Place.

All construction is expected to be completed by September 2024. Money for the project comes from both Washington County s Major Streets Transportation Improvement Program and Willamette Water Supply System reimbursements.

Matt Meier, senior project manager for the county, said plans are to restripe and shift travel lanes throughout the duration of construction with most of Stage 1 travel restrictions occurring during work at night.

However, at one point, Roy Rogers Road at Scholls-Sherwood Road will be partially closed from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, for five consecutive days in order to remove a median.

That work is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 13 but could change.

Read the article in the Sherwood Gazette

Water treatment facility approved in Sherwood

Planning commission gives go-ahead to build plant on 46 acres off 124th Avenue

Sherwood has given the go-ahead for the construction of a new water treatment facility that will treat drinking water as it makes its way from Wilsonville to Hillsboro.

On Dec. 8, the city’s planning commission unanimously approved the facility, which will be built on 46 acres of land just west of Southwest 124th Avenue that will be accessed along a future roadway, Southwest Blake Street.

The unanimous decision by the commission had no additional conditions of approval, according to Erika Palmer, the city’s planning manager.

Willamette Water Supply Program is building a 30-mile pipeline from an intake facility along the Willamette River in Wilsonville, a project that will be able to provide up to 60 million gallons of water each day but could provide as much as 120 million gallons of water each day. Water from the pipeline will then be sent to the state-of-the-art treatment plant in Sherwood before being sent to Hillsboro residents as well as customers in the Tualatin Valley Water District and Beaverton.

Construction of the facility is expected to begin as early as late 2021 and will occur in phases that will last through late 2025, according to Marlys Mock, a spokesperson for the program.

“The recent Sherwood Planning Commission approval is a significant milestone as we move plans for the Willamette Water Supply System Water Treatment Plant forward,” Mock said. “We look forward to continuing to engage the city of Sherwood and our surrounding community as we construct this important regional infrastructure and begin operations for a new seismically-resilient drinking water supply for partner agencies by 2026.”

Much of the pipeline has already been installed and more is expected along Southwest Tualatin-Sherwood Road between Teton Avenue and Langer Farms Parkway in 2021. That will include widening the roadway there to five lanes — two lanes in each direction and a center lane — in a joint project between the Willamette Water Supply Program and Washington County Department of Land Use and Transportation.

The treatment plant will include a forest viewing platform that oversee a nearby wetlands area and include accompanying educational elements about the site, said Mock.

Installation of the treatment plant will join other ongoing projects along Southwest 124th Avenue. Trammell Crow is building five buildings on the southwest corner of Tualatin-Sherwood Road and 124th Avenue within Sherwood city limits, while a 108,000-square-foot Portland General Electric operations center is being constructed on the southeast corner of Tualatin-Sherwood Road an 124th Avenue in Tualatin.

In 2012, Sherwood voters approved annexing the 300 acres of land on the east side of 124th Avenue, south of Tualatin-Sherwood Road, in an area known as the Tonquin Employment Area.

Read the article here. Sherwood Gazette, Ray Pitz,  December 21 2020

Water customers in Hillsboro to see rate increases in 2021

“Hillsboro Water carefully manages drinking water rates, and strives to ensure equity and affordability for all customers,” said Niki Iverson, director of the Hillsboro Water Department. “Water rates are designed so all customers pay their fair share based on how they use Hillsboro’s water system and how much water they use.”

Read the article at Hillsboro News Times

Hillsboro News Time, Max Egener, November 16 2020

Pipeline water treatment plant project to get under way in 2022

Water supply program plans to seek approval to build a new water treatment plant in Sherwood.

Ray Pitz,  Tuesday, August 25, 2020, The Times

An ambitious pipeline project that will result in providing drinking water for those in the Tualatin Valley Water District, along with residents in the cities of Beaverton and Hillsboro, is moving forward with plans to begin construction on a water treatment plant in 2022.

The Willamette Water Supply Program, a joint project between the Tualatin Valley Water District, Hillsboro and Beaverton, is expected to submit a land-use application to the city of Sherwood in September to build an expansive water treatment facility in Sherwood, just off of the 124th Avenue extension, according to Marlys Mock, media and community relations coordinator for the program.

Built on 40 acres of property annexed by the city of Sherwood last winter, the future treatment plant will be constructed on 20 acres of land that will be accessed along a future roadway, Blake Street, west of 124th Avenue. The facility will be able to withstand a catastrophic natural disaster such as an earthquake, according to Willamette Water Supply Program officials.

At the same time, road and other improvements will be made on another 20 acres also owned by the Willamette Water Supply Program.

“There will be pedestrian/bike amenities on Blake (Street) and then Washington County also requires us to build out some improvements on 124th (Avenue). That will be happening as part of this project, too,” said Mock.

The new treatment facility, expected to be completed in 2026, will include viewing platforms that oversee nearby wetlands areas, along with accompanying interpretive signs.

The plant will be able to provide up to 60 million gallons of water per day but is designed for a maximum of 120 million gallons of water each day.

The overall pipeline project calls for the construction of an intake line that originates on the Willamette River in Wilsonville.

Tualatin Valley Water District has customers in Washington County as well as unincorporated portions of Beaverton and Hillsboro. The pipeline would provide a backup source for Beaverton water, city officials there have said, and while the Clackamas River is the main source of water for Tigard, TVWD serves portions of that city as well.

The pipeline will eventually make its way up Grabhorn Road, where two 15-million-gallon reservoir tanks will be built.

“At the top of Grabhorn on Cooper Mountain, that’s where we’re building our reservoir tanks,” said Mock. “We’re planning on starting construction (in 2021).”

In addition, a portion of the pipeline will be installed along Tualatin-Sherwood Road, beginning in 2021 and completed in the fall of 2024. That installation will include improvements to the road between Teton Avenue and Langer Farms Parkway, where it will be widened to five lanes — two lanes in each direction and a center lane — in a joint project between the water agency and the Washington County Department of Land Use & Transportation.

The pipeline project is being funded by Tualatin Valley Water District and Hillsboro and Beaverton ratepayers.

Read the story at The Times

Hillsboro Willamette Water Supply System Map And Pipeline Route Updates

This map update reflects changes to the Scholls Area Pipeline Project north section (PLM_5.3).

Hillsboro Water Department has planned years in advance to ensure there is plentiful drinking water today, tomorrow, and in the future for the community.

While Hillsboro’s sole water supply source is the upper-Tualatin River, projections show by 2026 that Hillsboro’s water needs will significantly increase.

To meet future drinking water demand, the City of Hillsboro, Tualatin Valley Water District, and City of Beaverton are partnering to develop the mid-Willamette River at Wilsonville as an additional water supply source.

Design and construction of the new Willamette Water Supply System (WWSS) is underway, and includes building:

  • A modified water intake on the Willamette River at Wilsonville.
  • A state-of-the-art water filtration facility near Tualatin/Sherwood.
  • Water supply tanks in Beaverton.
  • More than 30 miles of large diameter transmission water pipeline traveling north from Wilsonville, through Beaverton, and into Hillsboro.

The system is designed to withstand the impacts of a large earthquake or other natural disaster, and will be built to modern seismic standards to help restore service quickly after a catastrophic event.

Recently, the WWSS system map was updated to show the latest pipeline route and better reflect the timelines for each project. Specifically, the map shows two areas where the preferred pipeline alignment has been refined through design:

  • This map update reflects changes to the Scholls Area Pipeline Project north section (PLM_5.3). Analysis of the preliminary design alignment along Clark Hill and Farmington roads identified significant seismic risks. The updated alignment was selected after several alternative alignments were analyzed for seismic stability, environmental and community impacts, construction feasibility, and opportunities to partner or coordinate with Washington County.
  • This map update also reflects changes to the previous alignment for the Beaverton Area Pipeline Project (PLE_1.0). This alignment was revised and renamed to the Metzger Pipeline East Project (MPE_1.0), after studies concluded the Metzger alignment provides cost efficiency and reduces construction and environmental impacts compared to the original route.

No changes were made to the alignment through Hillsboro, which includes approximately six miles of pipe along the current and future Cornelius Pass Road from the Sunset Highway on the north to Rosedale Road on the south.

The latest map and schedule – updated regularly – can be located online.

Beaverton’s newest neighborhood adding 3,000 homes

The new community is being built around Mountainside High School, across a state highway from Tigard’s River Terrace.

In the area, crews have been working for months to install pipelines and other infrastructure for the Willamette Water Supply Program, which will provide a drinking water source from the Willamette River. Officials in Hillsboro, Beaverton and the Tualatin Valley Water District — the main partners on the project — say it’s needed to supply the area with enough water for all the new residents of those communities.

Don’t look now, but South Cooper Mountain — the neighborhood of townhomes and houses across Southwest 175th Avenue from Mountainside High School — is starting to look like a real community.

Residents are beginning to populate what Beaverton has officially designated the East Neighborhood, as construction continues around a small but growing cluster of homes.

South Cooper Mountain began accepting applications for development in 2015. In 2017, Mountainside High opened at the corner of Southwest 175th Avenue and Scholls Ferry Road. It’s at the heart of the South Cooper Mountain area now under development.

To date, Beaverton has issued 107 building permits for South Cooper Mountain. Twete said the city expects to receive more applications as the area continue to take shape. Some subdivisions like housing developers Arbor Home’s South Cooper Heights are already being inhabited by families despite the surrounding construction.

“If you went out, you’d see patio furniture and cars in the driveway,” said Twete.

“You’ll also see other areas where there has been excavation, where they’ve been building water lines and putting infrastructure in place,” added Anna Slavinsky, who leads the Beaverton planning division.

It’s true. And there’s much more to come.

“We estimate that there will be over 3,000 homes once the area is fully developed,” said Cheryl Twete, Beaverton’s community development director. “Right now, there are entitlements in place for 2,800.”

Parallels in Tigard

In many regards, the development at South Cooper Mountain mirrors what’s happening on the other side of Highway 210, or Scholls Ferry Road. The boundary between Beaverton and Tigard runs along the highway, and on its south side, Tigard continues to build up the largest planned development in its history.

Tigard got a head start on Beaverton. The city annexed hundreds of acres on the west side of Bull Mountain — the next “mountain” south of Cooper Mountain, although both more closely resemble gently sloping hills — in 2011. Ground broke on River Terrace in 2015, when Beaverton was still soliciting development plans for the land across Scholls Ferry Road.

In both communities, the development area has been divided up into blocs, with construction phased instead of going forward across the entire area at once. Now nearly five years into its construction, River Terrace still has some blocs yet to break ground, while construction in South Cooper Mountain has just fairly recently expanded out from 175th Avenue.

Yet despite River Terrace’s size and more advanced stage, South Cooper Mountain is expected to be somewhat larger once it’s fully built out. Tigard officials estimate River Terrace will top out around 2,500 homes, several hundred fewer than are already planned for South Cooper Mountain.

Polygon Northwest, the primary developer in River Terrace, was approved to build a subdivision in South Cooper Mountain called The Ridge, which is set to begin welcoming residents this summer. The developer was acquired last month by rival Taylor Morrison Home Corp., which is in the process of rebranding — although work is continuing as planned.

Although currently the South Cooper Mountain area is dominated by single-family homes, the first apartment building in the new neighborhood is scheduled to break ground within the next few month.

Also, just last week, 175 new affordable housing units were proposed within the development area on the west side of the Mountainside High School campus, according to Twete.

“Affordable housing is a huge need in our community, and we are really excited to see the possibility of getting some fixed-income housing here in South Cooper Mountain,” Twete said.

More planning to be done

With homes going up and residents moving in, the South Cooper Mountain project team has shifted to planning for the roughly 1,000 acres of unincorporated land north of the current development.

The South Cooper Mountain Annexation Area, which makes up just 544 acres of the 2,300 acres encompassing South Cooper Mountain, was officially brought into Beaverton in 2011 after the expansion of the city’s urban boundary.

Following the annexation, the city created a Concept Plan that was published in 2014. That plan includes not just the recently acquired territory, but the entirety of South Cooper Mountain. Holding just a sliver of the 2,300 acres, the city mapped out this plan with the intention of eventually acquiring the rest of the area.

“The SCM Concept Plan was a high-level feasibility study and visioning exercise that covers a large area,” Slavinsky explained. The plan divides the 2,300 acres into three primary areas: the South Cooper Mountain Annexation Area, the Urban Reserve Area and North Cooper Mountain, the latter of which is already developed but is situated outside city limits.

Due to the large scope of the project, the city then created a smaller, more detailed Community Plan specific for the South Cooper Mountain Annexation Area, the region within the city’s boundaries.

The Community Plan covers everything from contextualizing the South Cooper Mountain Annexation Area’s landscape to the community’s planned land use, resource protection and infrastructure. It took three years to create.

Past, present and future

With housing and land developments still underway in South Cooper Mountain, the surrounding roads will also see major roadwork being done.

Washington County is currently in the process of widening Southwest Roy Rogers Road in Tigard, which continues into Beaverton as 175th Avenue. On the Beaverton side, 175th Avenue has undergone widening as well, complete with bike lanes and sidewalks, for the anticipated influx of pedestrians and cars. Some of that work is ongoing.

Around 2:30 p.m., when the final bell sounds at the high school, there is a flurry of activity in South Cooper Mountain. Dozens of students cross 175th Avenue at the light. Many have parked their cars along South Cooper Mountain’s partially complete network of streets — for now, just a place for them to leave their cars during the school day.

Construction is furthest along in South Cooper Mountain’s East Neighborhood, and that’s where the community’s small but growing population now lives. But houses are starting to rise on the other side of Mountainside High School as well, where five more neighborhoods in the South Cooper Mountain area are planned.

In the area, crews have been working for months to install pipelines and other infrastructure for the Willamette Water Supply Program, which will provide a drinking water source from the Willamette River. Officials in Hillsboro, Beaverton and the Tualatin Valley Water District — the main partners on the project — say it’s needed to supply the area with enough water for all the new residents of those communities.

With all that still underway in the South Cooper Mountain Annexation Area, the project is making plans to expand into the Urban Reserve Area, an even larger section of land to the north.

“Right now, we have expanded our interest to … the area that is just to the north of South Cooper Mountain,” said Twete. “That includes about 1,200 acres, since that area was added to the new urban growth boundary.”

Although the Urban Reserve Area is not yet annexed into Beaverton city limits, the South Cooper Mountain project team is already developing a community plan to guide its eventual development, similar to the community plan they developed for the South Cooper Mountain Annexation Area.

Currently, the team is only in the early phases of drafting a plan, and it doesn’t expect the plan to be complete for another three years.

In the meantime, there’s plenty of construction work on South Cooper Mountain still to do.

Read Portland Tribune story here. Monica Salazar and Mark Miller, Saturday, February 15, 2020