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2018 is (almost) behind us, as we look at top stories in our communities throughout year

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Students in February 2018 light up the Tualatin High School football field with their phones in rememberance of lives lost, during a candlelight vigil following the shooting in Parkland, Fla. The year started with a vigil against gun violence at Tualatin High School and ended with a threat of gun violence at Westview High School.

We said goodbye to many longtime community leaders and hello to some new faces.

We introduced readers to a first-ever pride parade and went hunting for the horses that, formerly, served in the Portland Police Department's Mounted Patrol.

As 2018 wends its way to a close, we take a look back at some of the biggest and most impactful stories of the year. As always, the list is subjective: The staff of The Times culled files and back issues. We likely have forgotten (or underplayed) other stories. We'd love to hear from readers. Send feedback to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

TIMES PHOTO: JESSICA DARLAND - Greta Franck, 2, of Portland takes the Indian Festival of Color very, very seriously during the May Rang Barse celebration in Hillsboro.
BEAVERTON ECONOMY

Some large developments took shape in 2018 that will change the face of Beaverton — particularly its center — in a couple of years.

A long-planned performing arts center north of The Round/Beaverton City Hall got a boost when Patricia Reser, board chair of Reser's Fine Foods, was announced as the major donor of $13 million toward the $46 million project. A fundraising drive is expected to raise the remaining $9.6 million; groundbreaking is projected late in 2019.

Also planned nearby: A 350-car parking garage, financed by the Beaverton Urban Redevelopment Agency, and a 120-room Hyatt Hotel, which got the go-ahead Sept. 26. The Rise Central, a 230-unit apartment complex, is scheduled for completion in 2019.

Earlier in 2018, the planning commission approved Cornell Oaks Hotels, which plans hotels of 110 and 117 rooms on Southwest 158th Avenue on a site north of the Howard M. Terpenning Recreation Center.

Marriott Towneplace Suites has just opened its 112 rooms on Southwest Canyon Road at Highway 217.

Ground also was broken for a Public Safety Center that will house police and emergency management at Southwest Hall and Allen boulevards. Construction costs are projected to exceed the $35 million bond that voters approved for it in 2016.

At the close of 2018, Beaverton was ranked third of 10 cities named by livability.com as the best cities to raise a family. Beaverton was the only Oregon city on the list, and just one of two that was not a university town.

Washington County's economy continued to boom in 2018 with an unemployment rate of 3.3 percent in November, matched only in Benton and Hood River counties.

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Kathryn Kleinwatcher keeps an eye on her son, Travis Groth, as he rides Diesel at her home in Port Orchard, Wash. Diesel previously served in the Portland Police Mounted Patrol Unit.CAR CAMPING BAN

Despite these signs of prosperity, the Beaverton City Council voted 4-1 on June 12 to bar overnight car camping by homeless people on city streets after hearing three rounds of impassioned testimony from both sides.

Ban supporters argued that the city had to take steps against indiscriminate camping. Opponents said the ban would criminalize conduct by those who could afford it least.

The June 12 vote was notable for the final in-person appearance by Councilor Betty Bode, who spoke in favor of the ban and who completed her 16 years on the council in December. Councilor Lacey Beaty was the lone dissenter.

The council voted later in 2018 to allow overnight car camping in supervised parking lots with access to restrooms and trash disposal, although the mayor's office will have to present specific rules before the program starts.

ELECTIONS IN BEAVERTON

Beaverton city elections yielded no surprises May 15.

Councilor Lacey Beaty was unopposed for a second term. Councilor Marc San Soucie, a 10-year veteran, won a new term with 70 percent. Councilor Betty Bode chose not to run after 16 years and will be succeeded by Laura Mitchell, the budget committee chairwoman endorsed by all five council members and Mayor Denny Doyle.

But the 2018 elections resulted in the turnover of three of the five Washington County board seats after nearly a decade.

Board Chairman Andy Duyck chose to retire after 24 years on the board; eight as the elected chair. He will be succeeded by Metro Councilor Kathryn Harrington, who defeated Commissioner Bob Terry in the Nov. 6 runoff. Harrington called for change against Terry's support for maintaining current county policies.

Former Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey was elected to succeed Terry in District 4 (west). Pam Treece of Beaverton, executive director of the Westside Economic Alliance, unseated two-term Commissioner Greg Malinowski in District 2 (northeast).

The most expensive contest this year, however, was for district attorney, which Bob Hermann vacated after 20 years. Kevin Barton, his chief deputy, won – but spent only about half the $840,000 raised by challenger Max Wall, a Beaverton lawyer backed by out-of-state interests hoping to change charging practices.

TIGARD AND TUALATIN LEADERSHIP

As 2018 draws to a close, the cities of Tigard and Tualatin saw changes — both politically and to the landscapes of each town.

January would open with the realization that the end of the year also would bring to an end the terms of two popular mayors: one of whom had marked more than two decades of service.

The year opened in tragedy as a Tigard man was shot and killed in a field just outside of Sherwood after he allegedly fired at officers from his moving vehicle. That same month, the Tualatin City Council approved going to voters with a transportation bond measure to improve safety issues and several roads around the city after a city showed 91 percent of residents indicated that traffic congestion was a major problem around the city. The bond would pass in May.

In Tigard, the city approved plans for a so-called "lean code" in the Tigard Triangle, a move designed to make develop easier in an approximately 500-acre area bounded by Highway 99W to the north, Highway 217 to the west and south and Interstate 5 to the east.

At the same time, final State of the City speeches were delivered by both Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden and Tigard Mayor John Cook.

Along with a plea for healthier living, Ogden also touted the fact that his city has perhaps the lowest property tax in the entire metro region for a city of its size, due in large part to city industrial base. Over in Tigard, Cook said the city would pursue a local option levy to help pay for need police services, parks maintenance and other projects.

Not long after his address, Ogden would soon announce he was dropping a bid for a seat on the Washington County Commission. Instead, he'd seek the job of heading the state's Bureau of Labor and Industries.

And in May, the Tigard-Tualatin School District on Monday hired Susan Rieke-Smith to be the new superintendent. She replaced Ernie Brown, whose three-year tenure on the job ends after July.

Rieke-Smith has a doctorate in education and has worked for 18 years as an educator at all three school levels. She began her career in 2000 in the Salem-Keizer School District where she taught fifth grade, English language learners and worked in Title 1 schools (a federal designation for schools that serve low-income communities). Between 2004 and 2007, she served as an assistant principal at McKay High School in Salem and in 2007, she became principal of Houck Middle School in Salem. At Houck, she was recognized as Oregon's 2011 Middle School Principal of the Year.

From 2011 to 2014, she served as Salem-Keizer's director of instructional services.

She joined Springfield Public Schools as assistant superintendent in July 2014. In April 2015, she was named interim superintendent and was permanently appointed to lead the district in November 2015.

CHANGES TO CITIES

At a Tigard Rotary Club meeting in April, plans were revealed to construct a 13-foot-tall Rotary clock tower on Main Street as part of a focal point to the entrance of the Tigard Street Heritage Trail.

The spring also brought protests from students at local schools with up to 100 Tigard High students walking out of classes on a Friday to show support for more sensible gun control laws.

Then, Mayor John Cook, announced he would not seek reelection because he had and his wife had purchased their "dream home" on property outside Tigard city limits with plans to move into the new home in January.

In the summer, the Tualatin City Council announced plans to approve the Basalt Creek Concept Plan despite its misgivings that the property in question sorely lacked residential development.

Sad news came in July when it was announced that Curtis Tigard, whose grandfather was the city's namesake, passed away at 109.

Later, on a foggy morning in November, the 124th Avenue extension was dedicated, a long-awaited shortcut tying Tualatin-Sherwood Road with Tonquin Road and Basalt Creek Parkway. It will open the first part of the year.

A massive rebuild of Tigard High School is expected to be completed later in 2019.

LIVING HERE

The Times makes an effort every week to cover the arts, entertainment and things to do throughout our communities. Sometimes we go pretty far afield to find those stories.

Journalists Ainslie Cromar, Jaime Valdez and Kit MacAvoy took weeks this summer figuring out what happened to the eight horses that formerly served as the Portland Police Mounted Patrol.

They found the horses scattered throughout the Northwest. Murphy went back home in southern Oregon where he's competing in dressage, a highly skilled form of riding, while Red, Monty and Asher are family trail horses. Major found his place in Prineville, while Diesel went back home to Port Orchard, Wash. Olin aids people with mental or physical barriers as a therapy horse at Forward Stride in Beaverton and Zeus lives with a former mounted patrol stable attendant at the Lake Oswego Hunt Club.

The stories, photos and videos were among the most-visited web features of the year.

The Times also traveled to nearby Hillsboro for the city's fifth Rang Barse, or Festival of Color, kicked off in the city's Fairground Sports Complex. The event — Rang Barse means "shower or color" — celebrates Holi, the traditional Indian spring festival. And the primary motivation for most of the celebrants is to cover each other in brightly colored dye sprinkled from bags, or shot from water pistols, or simply floating as great chromatic clouds hovering over the park.

Washington County boasts a large and growing Indian population, thanks to major corporations like Intel and Nike

In June, Beaverton held its first-ever Pride celebration, across from the Beaverton City Library. Pride in the Park was the brainchild of Kate Kristiansen. The inspiration came to Kristiansen during a panel discussion on diversity during her campaign for City Council, and she filed paperwork with the city for it the next day.

"Everybody needs somewhere to belong," said Kristiansen, who identifies as part of the LGBTQ community, when asked why she wanted to bring a Pride event to Beaverton. "This is to show people, whether it's the children or the grownups, that your people are out here and your people are here today."

Over a six-week period, Kristiansen assembled a small team of local volunteers, used her social network to find LGBTQ- and ally-owned local businesses to operate vendor tables, and made much of the small festival's signage and decorations herself. She also connected with drag queen Rusty Nails — who emceed the event with gusto — through Facebook.

Kristiansen said Beaverton's Pride 2019 celebration will include a parade. The city has already approved a route.

As the year began to draw to an end, Alter Wiener, a well-known Holocaust survivor and popular speaker, was unexpectedly struck and killed by a car as he walked in Hillsboro. Wiener -- believed to be one of the last Holocaust survivors in the area -- once summed up his perspective on life and having suffered at the hands of the Nazis with a simple message: "That prejudice and stereotyping is absurd, hatred is self-destructive; love is powerful and makes life meaningful."

Finally, The Times's staff has never been happier to be wrong about any story than they were for the story of Evangelist Luis Palau.

In January, we reported that Palau of Beaverton has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Palau has preached around the world for more than six decades. He was born in Argentina in 1934 and moved to Oregon in his mid-20s. He is known for having a close relationship with evangelist Billy Graham, and has often been referred to as "the Billy Graham of Latin America." His ministry employs 70 people at its headquarters in Beaverton, and another 25 around the world, which includes offices in Buenos Aires and London.

But Palau got some good news early in November: His stage four lung cancer has stabilized. He credited prayer, chemotherapy and his response to immunotherapy for adding both to his well-being and adding precious days to his life.

He returned to the pulpit in November, speaking to a crowd of more than 500 men who had jammed into the gym at Southwest Bible Church for a men's night of evangelization with his down-to-earth, self-deprecating style, addressing such issues as the temptations faced by men, the trials of the Biblical Joseph described in Genesis and urging all those gathered to come and follow Jesus.

"Temptation makes life exciting but also dangerous," said Palau, who has lived in the Beaverton area since the early 1960s.

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