The Wilsonville Council Chambers were packed at the March 6 City Council meeting for Mayor Tim Knapp's annual State of the City Address.
Detailing where the city has been over the last year and where it hopes to go in the near future, Knapp's address touched on transportation issues, proposed infrastructure projects, residential living options and economic responsibility.
In this vein, he spoke to the importance of land use and planning.
"All of this has to happen in the context of ongoing growth because we know that there's no way that we draw a line and close up the borders," Knapp said. "Our community is a desirable place to be and we expect that people will want to come here."
Despite touting the city's history with stewardship of natural resources, a large and involved volunteer force and professional City staff, Knapp didn't shy away from addressing some of the City's more problematic issues.
"To say right up front that we have some challenges is certainly true," Knapp said. "And it won't be a surprise to anyone that traffic is one of our major challenges at this point in time. Council is extremely aware of this and talks about it very frequently. So essentially, we're a victim and a beneficiary of our geographic location right on I-5."
Knapp recounted how
Wilsonville used to be located on a "farm to market" road
and how as the city developed, roads were added to meet
Wilsonville's growing population.
"Wilsonville roads can accommodate Wilsonville traffic, but when the freeway jams up and dumps all of its traffic onto Wilsonville streets, we can't accommodate that and there's no way that we're going to be able to build to accommodate that," Knapp said. "We're planning on some short-term spot improvement throughout the community, especially in the congested areas right adjacent to the freeway."
Although the city lacks control of I-5's impact on its surface streets, Knapp said that the city is actively advocating for regional traffic studies and improvements that could
positively affect Wilsonville roads.
The remainder of the address focused on themes of progress and connectivity and what the council and City are doing to alleviate those issues and build lasting solutions through cooperation.
"City government that works is important to make sure that all these things happen well,"
Knapp said. "I'm very pleased to report that Wilsonville City government is working very, very positively in many ways. I see different communities across the region when I go for events where we're collaborating with other cities and I know based on stories that I hear and comments that I hear made that Wilsonville is doing very well and is widely respected in the region and is achieving influence beyond its size, perhaps, given its geographic location and all of the other issues that we are involved in."
Moving forward, Knapp said that the City is committed to creating a complete community with appropriate goods, services, places to live and play at "all stages of (residents') lives." This will be achieved in part by a roster of development projects, including the proposed bike-ped/emergency French Prairie Bridge, the Town Center Master Plan, the Coffee Creek Employment Area, the Frog Pond Master Plan and the completion of Villebois, he said.
"It's an exciting time to be in Wilsonville," Knapp said.