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City council debaes whether school sports fields should be included in the 'inventory' of available sport facilities

Wilsonville City Council heard a recommendation during its April 16 meeting that it consider adding more sports fields to the current inventory but councilors were not universal in seeing the need.

Wilsonville Parks and Recreation and GreenPlay LLC — a consultant specializing in parks and recreation and open space facilities — presented suggestions for a comprehensive parks and recreation master plan that would establish goals for all parks facilities in Wilsonville except Memorial Park and Boones Ferry Park, which have their own. SPOKESMAN PHOTO - Memorial Park's playing fields comprise the majority of the City's outdoor sports faciliites.

Based on feedback from community members and its own assessment, GreenPlay recommended Wilsonville add additional fields.

However, Councilor Charlotte Lehan said the city has enough sports fields if one takes into account West Linn-Wilsonville School District-owned fields, but says better collaboration between the city and the school district to utilize the school land and fields is needed.

"We have enormous primary and middle schools. They are all 15- and 20-acre sites because that was the joint decision between the school district and the city that we would put that land acquisition into joint-use facilities at the schools rather than separate fields all over, so we ended up with schools with much bigger playing facilities than there used to be," Lehan said. "You can't look at the city fields independent of the school fields."

A GreenPlay representative told Lehan and the council that it considered school fields when assessing the overall quantity of fields but considered them less significant because they are unavailable during school hours.

Councilor Scott Starr, though, said the City should consider adding sports fields.

"We haven't seen much growth in the way of fields since the mid '90s. We're hurting for that, especially turf fields that are in use all year-round," he said.

GreenPlay also said that while local parks are well-maintained and having ample amenities, drainage improvements and playground upgrades would be beneficial.

Progress on Kinder

Morgan pipeline

In other council business City Attorney Barbara Jacobson reported the most recent discussions with Kinder Morgan, which owns a high-pressure gasoline pipeline that runs through Wilsonville. She said Kinder Morgan has agreed with the City's position that the pipeline resides in a high-impact area and said it would send engineers to assess whether implementing safety measures, like adding more shut-off valves, would be necessary. The pipeline currently does not have shut-off valves that are in close proximity to the pipeline in Wilsonville. "My impression is they are trying to do everything they can. They also have internal processes that they want to be careful of in terms of setting a precedent. At the end of the day I think we will get the answer we're looking for," said City Manager Bryan Cosgrove.

2017 reports shows crime rising with population

In his presentation Wilsonville Police Chief Rob Wurpes outlined the 2017 crime report, which showed a 9.3 percent increase in police calls, an increase in traffic stops from 3,488 to 4,077, an increase in theft crimes from 303 to 373 and prostitution crimes that increased from 27 to 58 but Wurpes said this was largely due to a sting operation.

Wurpes said correlation versus causation errors are common when assessing crime statistics but attributes population growth as a key factor. "Calls for service go up (with population growth). Reported crime goes up. That's not an uncommon trend. I really think that's the primary thing," he said.

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