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State of the city is strong and growing

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - TVF&R opened a new fire station and operations center in north Wilsonville in 2013, one of many public and private projects that have spurred significant growth in the city in the past several years. In a longstanding Wilsonville tradition, Mayor Tim Knapp gave his annual State of the City speech recently, focusing on the extensive growth, both business and residential, the city has seen over the past year.

“The (housing) bubble and the Great Recession had a big impact on a lot of people in a lot of ways,” Knapp said. “But Wilsonville has fared well in a lot of ways.”

The mayor spoke about the record-breaking construction activity the city has seen over the past few years, as well as large-scale industrial and commercial development projects completed recently. Knapp also addressed the numerous public engagement initiatives the city has engaged in during the past year. They include task forces focused on economic development, urban renewal, tourism and a potential aquatic center. The last three remain active.

Rounding out his address were remarks detailing current and future city development planning for the future Basalt Creek and Coffee Creek industrial areas and the Frog Pond and Advance Road residential areas.

“Construction has grown,” Knapp said. “It’s had some ups and downs, but since the declining numbers in the mid-2000s we’ve had some pretty large increases.”

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Stream Global moved to Wilsonville in 2013 and brought to the local economy some 1,200 jobs, with 300 more anticipated by the company. The 2011 completion of the $70 million Old Town Square shopping complex had a big impact on those numbers, he added, while single-family home construction reached an all-time record in 2013 with the city issuing permits for 180 homes worth $43 million.

The city’s economic development strategy, approved last year by the city council, is aimed heavily at attracting traded sector companies and other large businesses to the city and appears to be bearing fruit.

In the last several years, Pacific Foods, Stream Global and Southern Wines and Spirits have all moved to Wilsonville and into sites that formerly sat vacant, shuttered by the original tenants. by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - The former Joes distribution center on Boeckman Road is now home to Southern Wines and Spirits, part of the continued growth in the city in the past year.They included, respectively, the former Nike warehouse, the former Hollywood Video Headquarters and the former Joe’s distribution center on Boeckman Road.

The latter project consists of a $3.3 million remodel and is set for completion later this year. The company, Knapp said, estimates that some 250 jobs will be added when the work is done.

On top of that, the city saw the Oregon Institute of Technology complete a $3.2 million remodel of the former InFocus building on Parkway Avenue in 2012, while a $1.75 million remodel of the former Dodge dealership in north Wilsonville is paving the way for the World of Speed auto museum and its planned interactive exhibits. On a related note, a $2.6 million project to open the Ron Tonkin Grand Prix luxury auto shop on Parkway Avenue also will be completed this year.

“There are literally hundreds of smaller industrial and commercial permits issued,” he added.

And those only count projects completed by private sector firms. On the public side of the ledger, Wilsonville is keeping pace, as the last year has seen the completion of the new $6.5 million SMART facility on Boberg Road as well as Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue’s new $4.8 million fire station and command center on Elligsen Road. In addition, the city recently completed a nearly $1 million overhaul of the parking lot and drainage in Memorial Park and also opened a new city park in the Montebello neighborhood.

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - The former Nike distribution center on SW 95th Avenue is now occupied in part by Pacific Foods, one of several firms to invest in formerly vacant warehouse space in Wilsonville in the past year. Those projects came on the heels of the $21.5 million Interstate 5-Wilsonville Road interchange project completed in 2011 in conjunction with the Old Town Square development.

Knapp also addressed the numerous ways in which the city has tried to connect the public with these types of projects to gain more complete buy-in from local residents.

“Public engagement is an important component in how we approach that,” he said. “We have asked for help from many citizens, businesses, public agencies, all kinds of groups that have an interest and who have a stake in Wilsonville.”

The continued buy-in of the private sector to Wilsonville, Knapp added, is a testament to how the city is viewed locally and further afield.

“I think that speaks very strongly to how our community is perceived throughout the region and beyond,” he said. “They can be confident of investing here and having success in the long run.”

In attendance for the Jan. 23 address were a number of other elected officials or their representatives, including Clackamas County Commissioner Paul Savas, Washington County Commissioner Andy Duyck, Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden and John Valley, a field representative for U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley.




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