School Board OKs urban renewal extension
The West Linn-Wilsonville School Board approved three noteworthy motions during their Jan. 8 board meeting: support for extending the Wilsonville Year 2000 Urban Renewal Area and Revenue Sharing Agreement, declaring items as surplus and amending a district policy on teaching about religion.
The Wilsonville Year 2000 Urban Renewal Plan was scheduled to close in 2020 but the City of Wilsonville is asking for an extension of three years to build a bridge — and fill in major safety and transportation concerns — over what it calls the "Boeckman Road Dip." The bridge is expected to be a $14 million project; in terms of 'forgone' revenues if the plan is extended the district expects it to be minimal, less than $25,000 annually.
In order for the City to extend the urban renewal area, the law requires 75 percent of the taxing districts representing the permanent rate levy in that urban renewal area to consent to the amendment.
Before the Board made a decision, board member Dylan Hydes questioned why the dip in the road was so dangerous and asked how it would improve property values.
Susan Cole, finance director for the City of Wilsonville, replied by saying that the speeds on the road aren't sufficient for future roads in the area.
"My understanding from our city engineer is that with the development of Frog Pond and the development to the east of Frog Pond, including where the new school is, we would have to drop the speed limit to maybe 10 mph or even less because of the dip and the approaches to the various stop signs and intersections," Cole said. "Right now this road does not have adequate pedestrian or bicycle facilities and so the Boeckman Dip Bridge would also include sidewalks and bike lanes."
She also added that the bridge would put traffic above the wildlife corridor that runs through the creek in the area.
WL-WV Superintendent Kathy Ludwig weighed in and said that road is one that goes to Meridian Creek Middle School but also to the future school site, so the board unanimously accepted the proposed plan amendments.
Also in the meeting, the board declared a large list of items in storage such as old computers, projectors, printers, furniture and more as "surplus," so the district can dispose of the items or donate them to charitable or educational institutions.
"We plan on our technology to last six years (and) every two years we replace a third of our technology, at least that's the plan we try to follow," said Curtis Nelson, IT director for WL-WV schools. "It is the nature of the technology world. Stuff that's six years old is frankly pretty old."
To end the Monday meeting, the board approved more concise and inclusive language to the district's policy amendment that now reads: "Teachers shall not, openly or covertly, favor or disfavor a particular religion or religious belief, but may be permitted to expose students to information concerning religions and religious beliefs." Although board member Betty Reynolds was worried "favor or disfavor" might be too subjective, they all agreed to adopt the policy amendment.