Committee gathers insight from citizens at open house, fine tunes suggestions

The city of Troutdale hosted its second town-hall style open house to gather feedback about Troutdale's Town Center Plan at the Community Policing Center on Wednesday, May 23.

The plan is a vision for the city that guides city staff on how to set policies regarding its downtown core along and around the Historic Columbia River Highway.OUTLOOK PHOTO: MATT DEBOW - Brent Ricks, general manager of the Columbia Gorge Outlets, speaks with attendees about possible development opprotunities in the city of Troutdale.

The city hosted its first meeting on the topic Jan. 30, shortly after the Town Center Plan's ad hoc committee formed in 2017. The first meeting was held to learn what citizens wanted from the plan.

The follow-up community meeting was to fine tune what was proposed, which identified strengths and weakness in the plan, said Planning Commission Chairman Tanney Staffenson.

One issue the city will need to address is how to develop the city's Urban Renewal area — about 48.2 acres south of Interstate 84, west of the Sandy River and just north of Troutdale's main business district.

Development could include attracting more shops and restaurants.

"You look at what Gresham's done with their core," Staffenson said. "The restaurants and shops that's been fantastic."

Local business owner Dean Hurford, a Town Center Committee member, emphasized the importance of engaging the community during planning stages.

"Too often at the 11th hour somebody will say, 'Why didn't you talk to us?'" Hurford said.

Staffenson added that developing Troutdale's urban renewal area will provide a strong growth opportunity for the city.

"That's what's going to make Troutdale the Pearl District of East County," Hurford noted, referring to the Northwest Portland neighborhood that transformed from an industrial sector to a stylish district of upscale businesses.

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