Dettmer: King City maturing into a regional leader
When most people hit their 50s, they are looking for a change — perhaps to expand one's horizons or mind. But what does a city do when it hits that point in maturity? If it's like the city of King City, it looks to expand and grow too.
Nestled in the area between Tigard, Tualatin, and Sherwood, along the Tualatin River is what was once known as the sleepy, exclusive retirement town of King City — built around a golf course in 1966. At first, the town was relatively self-contained. Residents would simply drive their golf carts for commuting around town for their basic needs. It was ahead of its time in requiring all utilities be underground — one of the first cities in the state to do so. It also included a small commercial property bordering 99W, which hasn't changed much in 50 years, but is now looking at a new vision.
In 1980, King City permitted its first non-age restricted subdivision, and in 1999, King City entertained its first urban growth boundary expansion. For the past 20 years or so, King City's population has more than doubled transforming from a senior community of 1,838 to a community of all ages, which now accommodates about 4,600 people.
King City itself is maturing and evolving today. It desires to be more open, inclusive, and welcoming. It's also on the precipice of a whole new era of expansion with the possibility of more than doubling its population again. Metro and the state's Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) recently gave the greenlight to expand the urban growth boundary (UGB), which allows King City to annex 528 acres of land west of its current city limits. King City's bold vision for this area incorporates nearly 44 acres of commercial-retail mixed-use space and more than 20 acres of hospitality/institutionally designated areas.
The remainder of the land will be designated primarily for residential use, contributing to the region's need for housing. Some of this development will include small pockets of neighborhood mixed use and large open green spaces along environmentally sensitive areas. The city's vision looks to create a town center and community gathering area, set in from Roy Rogers Road and Beef Bend Road, which will be surrounded by commercial and retail establishments. It will help spur economic growth and provide jobs to those living in the area.
The city has succeeded in receiving grant awards from the Oregon's Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Metro. ODOT's Transportation & Growth Management grant will help produce a Transportation System Plan (TSP), which WEA member DKS is working to complete. Last month the city was also awarded a grant from Metro's Construction Excise Tax program for master planning the area being incorporated.
With the support of LCDC, ODOT, Metro, Washington County, and the surrounding communities, King City can grow and expand into the role of regional contributor. It's hoping to create a smart city with a whole new persona.
King City's Mayor Ken Gibson and the City Council have developed bold and progressive goals. These include being responsive and accommodating to its residents by creating a warm, welcoming, highly desirable place where people and businesses want to be. At the same time, King City is confronting tough issues head-on and rising to the challenge to find answers that may be "outside the box."
Earlier this month, the Oregon Mayors Association (OMA) recognized Mayor Gibson with its Mayors Leadership Award. He was recognized for his demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities which have contributed to lasting benefits in his community; his involvement in community affairs and intergovernmental relations; his exceptional skill in helping to facilitate productive relationships between the governing body and city employees; and his help in encouraging other Oregon mayors to reach their full potential as community leaders.
These are exciting times in King City, and the opportunities for new development are just around the corner. In fact, the King City Plaza that I mentioned above has a new owner, and this has rejuvenated interest in its development potential along 99W. The long-term vision is to reorient businesses from 99W to 116th Avenue and provide pedestrian safety enhancements along the internal corridor. As a result, the city is coordinating with TriMet to possibly fulfill a vision of making a transit hub and transfer station in the southern portion of the Plaza, providing a better connection to public transit.
If you haven't been to King City lately, I encourage you to look at what's happening in what is now a vibrant and evolving mature town.
Brantley Dettmer is president of the Westside Economic Alliance's board of directors and chief operating officer of Kaiser Permanente's Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro.
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