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Document will set direction for Hillsboro's future

HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: TRAVIS LOOSE - Hillsboro Long Range Planning Manager Laura Weigel (left) speaks with Hillsboro Food Co-op President Karen Smith (center) and Co-op volunteer Cindy Cosenzo at the Comprehensive Plan Community Summit April 7. People in the co-op arent just interested in food, but all things community related, Smith said.  Ive ben spreading the word, Cosenzo added. Everyone needs to be involved in this. At a pair of community summits held earlier this month, Hillsboro residents were given an opportunity to provide input and feedback for the city’s forthcoming major Comprehensive Plan update.

On April 2 and 7, roughly two-dozen residents visited the city’s main library to show planning department staff what’s most important to consider when planning for the city’s future.

According to city staff, the Comprehensive Plan — a state-required policy document — is meant to be an expression of the community’s values and a vision for how Hillsboro will grow and develop.

While the Comprehensive Plan is made up of seven core areas and various subtopics, the summits focused specifically on two: bolstering community involvement and enhancing livability and recreation.

Though Hillsboro officials have made tweaks and minor updates to parts of the city’s Comprehensive Plan over the years, the plan itself hasn’t seen a full major overhaul since 1983 — when the city’s population was closer to 30,000.

Now nearing 100,000 residents, “I can see the city is rapidly evolving,” said resident Ian Hannis. “[The summit] gave us an idea of what to expect in the future.”

Hannis, an employee of biotech company Genentech, has lived in Hillsboro for the past eight years and currently resides in the Brogden neighborhood.

Though it’s been exciting to watch Hillsboro grow, Hannis said, “There is still some trepidation. Change can be great, but it can also be challenging or frustrating.”

The more people who move to Hillsboro, he added, the more everything has to change to accommodate that growth.

Previously, city staff sought community input to help inform the Hillsboro 2035 Community Plan, which serves as the foundation of the Comprehensive Plan update.

“Public comment from that effort has informed a lot of the policy and goal directions of the Comprehensive Plan,” said Long Range Planning Manager Laura Weigel.

But unlike the 2035 plan, the Comprehensive Plan looks more closely at land use patterns, transportation, and delivery of public services among its seven core areas.

“Getting people’s ideas and incorporating those into the master plan — this is what makes a community,” said Hillsboro Pharmacy and Fountain owner Doug Johnson. “This is the blueprint for our city’s staff to recognize what’s important to people ... without it, they don’t know which way to go either.”

“It’s a good idea to get public input for the future of the community in which I live,” said 30-year Rock Creek resident Elizabeth Christensen. “I’m hoping the Hillsboro government listens and acts on the public impetus.”

A bilingual survey is available until May 1 for residents who were unable to make it to either summit at

“The survey is twofold,” said Senior Planner Aaron Ray. “One is to engage community input relative to city priorities ... and part two gives us additional ideas to include in policies.”

The five other core areas of the Comprehensive Plan will be covered at other summits between now and 2017, and will all ask for more public input to further shape the overall Comprehensive Plan update.

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