Project Updates

Powerful ecological enhancement amid rapid urbanization

Tree for All (December 2018)

For years, partners have been preparing to transform this reach of Chicken Creek. In 1996, thanks in part to the grassroots support of Friends of Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, the US Fish & Wildlife Service purchased the surrounding land and initiated restoration efforts. In 2009, a half-mile upstream from the refuge, neighbors on Green Heron Drive began working with the City of Sherwood, contractors, and other partners to enhance the creek near its crossing with busy Roy Rogers Road. Since 2017, the US Fish & Wildlife Service has been creating opportunities for volunteers to do hands-on creekside restoration near the southern edge of the refuge.

More recently, partners embarked upon a long-awaited project that will realign Chicken Creek to its historic path, embracing the role that beavers can play in the placement of woody debris and revegetation. Project steps include modeling and excavating the historic path of the creek; rerouting and filling in the current channel; removing invasive species and replanting native vegetation; reestablishing a creek connection to the floodplain; and beginning long-term monitoring.

Read more here.




County, city officials usher in new era with South Hillsboro dedication

“Along with the road and power grid infrastructure, the new area will also need water pipes, with one of the main ones being the Willamette Water Supply, a 66-inch pipe extending from Wilsonville to Highway 26, passing right through South Hillsboro.”

A monstrous project two decades in the making is finally under way.

Though groundwork in South Hillsboro began earlier, roughly 100 people — Washington County and city officials and developers — celebrated at the SoHi groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, Aug. 9.

When the dust settles years from now, more than 20,000 residents will inhabit roughly 8,000 new housing units on 1,400 acres of what will be a new Hillsboro community the size of a small city between Southwest 229th and Southwest 209th avenues, just south of the Tualatin Valley Highway.

“I’ve been driving by this property for 20 years knowing this will be developed,” said Mayor Jerry Willey. “To actually see something come out of the ground over the next year is really spectacular.”

The South Hillsboro project is huge, with several different organizations and agencies joining forces to see it through.

There are the three main developers to start (Pahlisch Homes, Newland Communities and Hagg Lane LLC.), the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Bonneville Power Administration, the Willamette Water Supply Program, Washington County and Union Pacific and Portland & Western railroads — just to name a few.

“This is really a partnership,” said Washington County Commission Chairman Andy Duyck. “South Hillsboro is not a typical community.”

If both the county and city hadn’t come together to plan for its infrastructure needs, Duyck said Tuesday, the project would not have happened.

Proactively addressing the $140 million in traffic improvement needs was key, he said.

Along with the road and power grid infrastructure, the new area will also need water pipes, with one of the main ones being the Willamette Water Supply, a 66-inch pipe extending from Wilsonville to Highway 26, passing right through South Hillsboro.

“It was kind of important we put the pipeline in at the same time we put the road in,” Willey said.

With an estimated completion date of 2026, the first stick of pipe will be laid in September, according to water supply program director David Kraska.

“These projects take a long time to get done,” he said. “Nothing’s easy.”

The Bonneville Power Administration will need $2.7 million to raise low-hanging power lines; the county and city will have to coordinate with both ODOT and the railroad companies to build one rail crossing at Cornelius Pass Road, improve the crossing at 209th Avenue and cul-de-sac the crossing at 229th Avenue; new schools, new parks and 15 miles of new walking and bike trails will also be constructed; and the three main developers will have to coordinate building all the new roads and land plots at the same time.

“Here we are after all these years,” said Hagg Lane owner Joe Hanauer. “It’s exciting.”

Hagg Lane will be the principle developer for the Butternut Creek community, set for land Hanauer has owned for more than 20 years.

“I’ve held this land longer than any other developers … and remained committed to the notion that this complete community could work,” he said. “Once the building season starts in 2017, we can start our improvements.”

Hanauer believes residents will start moving into their new Butternut Creek homes as early as spring 2018.

Newland Communities vice president of operations Jesse Lovrien echoed Hanauer’s estimation that homes in Reed’s Crossing, Newland’s community in South Hillsboro, will also be on the ground in early 2018.

“We spent a lot of time building unity with the other developers,” Lovrien said. “It takes a lot of energy getting coordinated … but we’re going to continue working well together going forward.”

“Developers get accused of creating burdens on a community,” said Dennis Pahlisch, founder and owner of Pahlisch Homes. “But the current taxpayers in Hillsboro are not funding this expansion area. Our staff worked hard to balance all that.”

Also working hard is the Hillsboro School District, which has 90 acres in South Hillsboro reserved for three new elementary schools and one middle school. A new high school could potentially land just to the south of the new development, outside the urban growth boundary, according to Superintendent Mike Scott.

“We’re extremely excited about the opportunities before us,” Scott said, noting an estimated 4,000 new students could enter the school system after the project’s completion. “Don’t be surprised if there’s a bond (for additional funding).”

But that — along with plenty of others regarding police and fire service — will be a future question for Hillsboro residents, who will now watch the city’s southern portion grow before their very eyes over the next several years.

“It’s the result of well more than a decade of collaboration with hard working people,” Willey said. “The demand (for housing) is high and in short supply. This is obviously the place for 20,000 new Hillsboro residents.”

Read original article in the Hillsboro Tribune

Hillsboro toasts groundbreaking on new community

Massive South Hillsboro project breaks ground; welcome mat out for 20,000 people

By Allan Brettman | The Oregonian/OregonLive  on August 06, 2016

“When Metro added South Hillsboro to the urban growth area in 2010, its intent was to address the region’s pressing housing needs, said Andy Shaw, Metro Regional Affairs Manager.”

An earth-moving truck rumbled behind Jesse Lovrien as he spoke with a reporter, proof that the largest planned residential development in Oregon history is at last becoming a reality after 15 years of politicking and planning.

“We’re moving about 600,000 yards (of dirt) in our first phase,” said Lovrien, vice president of operations for Newland Communities, the lead developer of Reed’s Crossing. “Moving from high spots to the low spots.”

Reed’s Crossing will be the first development in the much bigger and broader planned residential community known for now as South Hillsboro.

When fully built over the next two decades, South Hillsboro’s 1,400 acres will be home to roughly 20,000 residents. Approximately 8,000 homes of all types – large houses, small houses, townhouses, condominiums and apartments – are planned for the former farmland.

The South Hillsboro Community Plan also calls for 286 acres of new parks and open space, with 15 miles of new, multi-use trails linked to schools that will be built in the community. South Hillsboro – a placeholder name likely to be replaced with something more marketable — also is expected to include a state-of-the-art transportation network to accommodate motor vehicles, bicycles and expanded transit service.

Construction had at one point been scheduled to start in 2014. Stumbling blocks arose. Then construction was slated to start in 2015. Then more stumbling blocks.

Not this time.

Tuesday morning, Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey will lead a ground-breaking ceremony at the construction site – a symbolic coda for Willey. Term limits will prevent the mayor, first elected in November 2008, from seeking another four-year term. South Hillsboro has been in the works for Willey’s entire administration to this point.

The development could push Hillsboro past Gresham to become the state’s fourth-largest city. (After Portland, Eugene and Salem.) More importantly to the Metro regional government, it would add a whole lot of housing capacity to the Portland area at a time population continues to surge and home prices are rising fast.

“With all the jobs increasing in the area, the city is desperate to increase housing so people will not commute long distances to their homes,” said Hillsboro planning director Colin Cooper.

Earth moving began July 18 at the northern edge of the site, along Tualatin Valley Highway. The southern edge will roughly be Southwest Rosedale Road with 209th Avenue on the east, 229th on the west. The early work is expected to accommodate $40 million in construction of two, new main arterials: an extension of Cornelius Pass Road into the site, connecting with an east-west arterial linking Southeast Alexander Street on the west and Southwest Blanton Street on the east.

Homes built by Newland Communities – in the project called Reed’s Crossing — will be the first of three major residential construction components.

Lovrien, the Newland vice president, stood in the dusty field on a recent day and rattled off the project’s particulars.

“Approximately 3,800 single family units with an additional 600 to 900 multi-family units and 90 acres of mixed-use with a town center right in the middle of it,” Lovrien said. “We’ll be building amenities to the town center (and) open spaces.”

Reed’s Crossing’s name was inspired by Simeon Reed, the Portland liberal arts college namesake who once owned the property where the development will take place. Reed’s partner in the farm was William Ladd, the former Portland mayor who created Ladd’s Addition in the 1890s. The area where South Hillsboro will be built was once known as Reedville.

The first houses on the 422-acre Reed’s Crossing site, however, are not likely to be built until early- to mid-2018, Lovrien said, even though a website for the property says homes may be available in 2017.

When they are available, development fees to pay for new public infrastructure in the area will average about $52,000 per house, said Jamie Howsley, an attorney at Jordan Ramis representing Pahlisch Homes, one of two other large developers now involved in South Hillsboro.

“We’re building basically a new city the size of Forest Grove,” Howsley said. “It will have new parks, roads, sewers, water. To the extent everything will be new, that stuff will be passed on to the eventual home buyer.”

Pahlisch Homes will be building on 120 acres on the western side of the South Hillsboro site. Developer Joe Hanauer will build on a 189-acre site south of the Newland-led development.

“When I acquired it, I never had any view of developing it by itself,” Hanauer said of the property he’s held since the early 1990s. “I always felt it should be part of a larger master plan.”

Hanauer said he is surprised the length of time it has taken to reach the point of development, though.

“When I acquired this property I always thought it would be a longer-term investment,” he said. “But I didn’t expect it to be 23 to 24 years.”

The development of South Hillsboro comes none too early for Gerard Mildner, Portland State University associate professor of real estate finance, who says the project is desperately needed because of the region’s housing shortage.

“We need to be producing more housing units,” Mildner said. “We’ve been building at about 6,000 a year. We need to build more like 11,000 per year as a four-county region.”

Mildner faulted Metro, the regional government that controls the urban growth boundary, for its role in the housing crunch.

“The Metro Council has been deluded into thinking we can solve the housing for in-migrants with high density housing,” he said. “What they don’t realize is that high density costs money.” Mildner said, for example, the cost per square foot in a five story apartment building is about double that of apartments in a one-story structure.

When Metro added South Hillsboro to the urban growth area in 2010, its intent was to address the region’s pressing housing needs, said Andy Shaw, Metro Regional Affairs Manager.

“It’s taken a little while and Hillsboro has had to contend with some pretty significant infrastructure costs, but we’re excited to see the project take shape,” Shaw said.

Read original article on OregonLive

124th Avenue Extension Project

The first section of the Willamette Water Supply Program’s new water transmission line will be installed as part of Washington County’s 124th Avenue Extension Project.

Washington County is extending 124th Avenue north from Wilsonville to Tualatin-Sherwood Road to improve regional mobility and provide access to future commercial and industrial lands between Tualatin and Sherwood. The new road extension will include one travel lane in each direction. In addition to the 124th Avenue extension, safety improvements will be made on Tonquin Road and Grahams Ferry Road.

124th Avenue Extension Project Fact Sheet

New program manager tapped to get Willamette River drinking water to Hillsboro

By Dana Tims | The Oregonian/OregonLive  (April 08, 2015)

A long-time professional engineer has been tapped to help design and build a 30-mile pipeline that will provide Willamette River drinking water to more than 300,000 Washington County residents.

Dave Kraska, who brings more than 25 years of experience in the water industry, will serve as Tualatin Valley Water District’s Water Supply Department manager.

“We’re thrilled Dave has joined our team,” said Mark Knudson, the district’s chief executive officer. “His experience, reputation and personality are exactly what we need to deliver this complex program.”

The city of Hillsboro and TVWD, acting together, form the Willamette Water Supply Program. They are embarked on a $1 billion effort to supplement drinking water sources that currently include the Tualatin River, area reservoirs and the city of Portland’s Bull Run.

Continue reading New program manager tapped to get Willamette River drinking water to Hillsboro

Willamette Water Supply Preferred Route Identified

On Tuesday, March 3, the preferred pipeline route for the Willamette Water Supply Program was shared with the Tualatin Valley Water District (TVWD) Board of Commissioners. Program partners, TVWD and Hillsboro Water, agreed last week to move the preferred pipeline route to the next round of technical review and continued public engagement. The preferred pipeline route will be shared with the other jurisdictions along the route during the next two months.  The preferred route is more than 30 miles long, from Wilsonville north through Hillsboro and Beaverton.

This favored route is the result of months of work reviewing multiple routes against selection criteria and getting input from staff, policymakers and community members.   “It’s a great step forward—the technical team started with 117 route options, and a combination of criteria-based research and local community feedback has narrowed it down to this preferred option.” explained Todd Heidgerken, interim Program Director for the Willamette Water Supply Program.  “There is still more work to be done. The specifics of the pipeline route are far from final.”  Over the coming year, the Willamette Water Supply Program staff will continue with pipeline planning and design with input from the local jurisdictions.

Continue reading Willamette Water Supply Preferred Route Identified

Thank You to Open House Attendees

The Willamette Water Supply Program wishes to thank everyone who attended the recent  open houses. Your input is greatly appreciated!

More than 800 people attended the open house or participated in the online open house.  Participants said that coordinating pipeline construction with other improvement projects (like transportation projects) and utility work as the main benefit of the Project.  Construction impacts, particularly the potential for traffic congestion and impact on businesses and residents, was the primary concern expressed by attendees.

The input from the open houses is being used to help define the preferred pipeline route, coordinate construction with other agencies, and better plan for construction impacts. A preferred route for the project, from Wilsonville to Hillsboro and Beaverton, will be identified in 2015, with more public outreach planned for summer 2015.

Read the open house summary here.


Washington County’s long-term water needs on display at ‘virtual’ open house  (November 27 | Written by Dana Tims)

The Willamette Water Supply Program is exploring options for future pipeline routes and is seeking public comment.

A series of open houses was held recently at various points in Washington County, but residents have until the end of the day Friday, Nov. 28, to participate in an online “virtual” open house. Visit’s the site’s webpage for full information.

Program officials hope to get as much information from residents as possible about future pipeline routes they say will be needed to meet water demands that are expected to double by 2050.

Continue reading Washington County’s long-term water needs on display at ‘virtual’ open house

Planning starts on new water pipeline routes

Hillsboro Tribune (Tuesday, 25 November 2014 11:24 | Written by Kathy Fuller)

‘Multi-generational’ project will bring water from Willamette River

A Nov. 20 open house in Hillsboro brought close to 100 citizens to peruse maps and potential pipeline routes for the Willamette Water Supply Project, a decade-long undertaking to bring Willamette River water to Hillsboro and the Tualatin Valley Water District (TVWD)

It was the final of six open houses highlighting potential pipeline routes from the Willamette River in Wilsonville to Hillsboro and Beaverton. The project began in 2012 as TVWD and Hillsboro city officials studied potential sources for an additional water supply to meet growing industrial and residential demand. The project is a multi-agency, multi-jurisdiction effort to provide a reliable water supply for the next 100 years.

Hillsboro studied four options, including buying water from Portland; the Tualatin Basin Water Supply Project that would raise Scoggins Dam on Hagg Lake; and a plan to develop ground wells near Scappoose. The mid-Willamette River water source was deemed the most viable option. Hillsboro’s water currently come from the Tualatin River, Hagg Lake and Barney Reservoir in the Coast Range.

Continue reading Planning starts on new water pipeline routes