2019: Ground breaks on long-anticipated Center for the Arts
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.
"Magical," said major donor Patricia Reser.
"Dream come true," said Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle.
"It will bring many communities together to share, and have joy, and even shed tears for who we are as humankind," said Native American consultant Arlie Neshahi.
If it seemed like expectations were running high at the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Patricia Reser Center for the Arts in Beaverton on Nov. 13, 2019, well — consider how long many of its advocates have been working to build it.
Reser, whose family foundation has put up $13 million for the arts center, came up with the idea more than a decade ago. Doyle, who was elected mayor in 2008, had a similar idea. The concept made its way into a community plan in 2010. But it took until November 2019 for the first shovels to go into the ground at the corner of Southwest Crescent Street and Rose Biggi Avenue.
The Reser Center for the Arts will feature a two-level, 550-seat theater; a gallery space; room for private and public events; rehearsal space; and a seven-story parking garage, to be located next door, which it will share with The Lofts, a nearby condominium community that overlooks the Beaverton Central MAX Station.
Central Beaverton became a happening place in the last years of the 2010s, and that trend is expected to continue into this decade as well. Years after voters approved an urban renewal plan in 2011, the city's urban renewal agency is finally coming into the kind of money that can transform a vacant lot or a run-down building.
Nearby, the former site of the Westgate Theater has been transformed by the construction of The Rise Central, a mixed-use development that broke ground in 2017 and opened in 2019, and the Hyatt House, a hotel that broke ground in May 2019 and is expected to open in late 2020 or early 2021.
Doyle and other civic leaders see the rapid redevelopment of Central Beaverton as key to forging a downtown core that has economic vitality, a unique character and regional attractions.
More so than neighboring Hillsboro, which has a historically distinct downtown area and was bolstered by the construction of the Platform District at Orenco Station — a sort of "satellite downtown" about a mile south of Intel's Ronler Acres campus — in the mid-2010s, Beaverton has long been a sprawling patchwork of neighborhoods loosely bound together by a city government based in a small, largely stagnant downtown. That's no longer the case, city officials and business leaders will insist, and they can point to examples like the Reser Center for the Arts to show how the tide has turned.
The nearly $51 million arts center is expected to open its doors in 2021.
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