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Ken Gibson tells Washington County Public Affaiirs Forum about the small city's ambitious growth plans for the future

BARBARA  SHERMAN - King City Mayor Ken Gibson reports that the former 'senior-only' town now includes a growing area of young families and has plans to add hundreds of acres to the city limits.King City is working toward providing a balance of housing and jobs as it grows in the future, Mayor Ken Gibson told members and guests at the weekly Washington County Public Affairs Forum on Oct. 30.

But first, he clarified that he is not a politician. "I'm a civil servant," he explained.

Gibson, who started serving on the City Council in 2008, told the group that "what was good for the 20th century is not necessarily what is good for the 21st century."

He added, "How do we bring housing and jobs to King City? We have hired a company called Urbsworks to plan King City's future, and we are providing for community input. Some people don't want change, and maybe no change is right for them but not for everybody else. We listen and we understand, but we can't let that stop us from growing. We haven't done a lot of growing since 1966 (when the city was incorporated)."

Gibson described the "new" King City as a blended family that includes the original 55-plus King City Civic Association residents and the newer subdivisions to the west, including Edgewater on the Tualatin that have many young families.

"How do we bring them together so the 55-plus group doesn't feel left out and the younger people don't feel left out?" he asked, pointing out that right now the City Council is balanced with three KCCA members and three from Edgewater. Gibson is the perfect bridge between the two as he lives in Edgewater but pointed out that he is old enough to live in the KCCA.

"We have a lot of diversity on our council, and I don't just mean race but also backgrounds, which helps us to make good decisions about King City's future," Gibson said. "We need that balance."

King City has very few developable lots left, but one that holds promise is at the corner of 131st Avenue and Fischer Road, where the developer is planning a mixed-use development that would include possibly a coffee shop and small restaurant, pizza place or ice cream shop along with row houses.

King City also is looking west, planning to submit an application to the Metro Council next year to bring about 500 acres from King City west to Roy Rogers Road between Beef Bend Road and the Tualatin River into its urban growth boundary.

"About 300 acres are buildable, and the rest could provide recreational opportunities," Gibson said. "And we are looking at building a town center at Roy Rogers and Beef Bend roads. King City has never had a town center with a city hall and library and restaurants. It will become the hub of King City if everything happens according to plan.

"But I would never want to lose what King City already has," he added. "The KCCA has mostly one-level homes, and not a lot of developers now are building one-story homes. We are asking developers that if they want to build in King City, we want them to build some single-level homes."

Gibson said he is excited about King City's future.

"We have obstacles and no guarantees," he said. "Metro will decide on UGB expansions in 2018, and if we don't get approved, the next opportunity is 2021. It doesn't make sense to wait. Delaying the process will only make it more difficult."

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