2014: Washington County gets a little bigger
Editor's note: This story is part of the The Times' special series, "Decade in Review." This series features three stories that helped to define each year of the 2010s. These can retell single stories that captivated readers of the time, a saga that played out across many articles, and even stories that were crowded to the margins by other news at the time but have made a lasting impact on our region.
2014 brought plenty of change to Washington County. In fact, it literally redrew the county lines.
For the first time in 160 years, the jurisdictional boundary between Washington and Multnomah counties actually changed on Jan. 1, 2014 — and fittingly, the tweak expanded Washington County by 160 acres.
The change came under an agreement between the two counties on the future of what planners had dubbed "Area 93." The 160-acre piece of land lies on the western slopes of the West Hills, about 2½ miles north of the interchange between Highways 26 and 217.
Area 93 had long belonged to Multnomah County. But it wasn't anywhere near other urban parts of Multnomah County — separated from Northwest Portland by Forest Park, not to mention a minor mountain range — and adjoining parts of Washington County were developing quickly, like North Bethany a few miles to the west.
The county governments concluded the best solution was to do something they hadn't done in more than a century and a half: redraw the map to make Area 93 part of Washington County.
"You can see that the area is bordered on two sides by a very highly urbanized Washington County, so it only makes sense that the simplest (approach) would be to move it into Washington County and serve it from this side," Andy Duyck, then-chairman of the Washington County Board of Commissioners, told The Times.
Multnomah County had held some public meetings and developed a concept plan for how the area, also known as Bonny Slope West or West Bonny Slope, should be developed. When the land was transferred to Washington County, planners in Hillsboro took over.
A community plan for partially developing Bonny Slope West was finalized in 2015. Up to this point, there has been little change in the area — other than the obligatory relocation of a "Welcome to Washington County" sign several hundred feet to the east at Northwest Laidlaw and Thompson roads.
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