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TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Jim Lange, president of Pacific Community Design, stands at the River Terrace development on the corner of Southwest Scholls Ferry Road and Southwest Roy Rogers Road. Pacific Community Design is the project developer for Polygon Northwest.The River Terrace neighborhood of Tigard, under construction for more than a year now, is coming together quickly.

Within the past few weeks, a key element in what makes a neighborhood a neighborhood has materialized, according to city officials and the president of the project's development consultant: people are moving into their new homes.

It's an “exciting milestone,” said Marissa Grass of the Tigard Public Works Department.

“I think it's wonderful,” said senior planner Susan Shanks, who has been working on the River Terrace project since 2013. “I have to say, as a long-range planner, it is extremely rare to do a long-range planning process but have the timeline for implementation of that project be in the near term.”

As planned, River Terrace will represent an enormous addition to Tigard's housing stock. About 1,500 homes have been approved, with some now under construction and a handful already built. The city is planning for about 2,600 new housing units — mostly standalone, single-family residences, with at least one multi-family complex planned as well.

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - A playground and a shelter sit on a hill at the River Terrace development west of Southwest 150th Avenue. Orchard Park, as it is called, will eventually become part of Tigard's public parks system.

Developer phasing work across seven sections

The corridors along Southwest Roy Rogers Road and 150th Avenue where construction is taking place were annexed into Tigard in 2010. They are connected to the rest of Tigard proper by what is known as a “cherry-stem,” with the city limits linked to the River Terrace area by a thin strip of land stretching west along Southwest Scholls Ferry Road.

The project developer is Polygon Northwest, and its development consultant is Pacific Community Design, a firm based in downtown Tigard.

COURTESY OF THE CITY OF TIGARD - A map of the River Terrace planning area lays out planned and built amenities.Jim Lange, Pacific's president, said River Terrace has been divided into seven specific developments. Of those, he said, four have begun construction, and two have progressed to the point where a handful of homes are being occupied.

Polygon at Bull Mountain, located just west of 150th Avenue — and roughly equidistant between Southwest Bull Mountain and Beef Bend roads to the north and south — is both the smallest of the seven subdivisions, by number of homes anticipated, and the furthest along right now, Lange said.

Perhaps the most visible developments right now are River Terrace Northwest, located at the southwest corner of Southwest Roy Rogers and Scholls Ferry roads, and Polygon at West River Terrace just to its south. The former subdivision is rising within sight of the new and as-yet-unnamed high school being built at the intersection's northwest corner.

While most of River Terrace is located in the Tigard-Tualatin School District, Grass and Lange noted, a small slice just south of Scholls Ferry Road sits in the Beaverton School District, which is building the new high school.

River Terrace Northwest and Polygon at Bull Mountain are about two miles apart. But Lange said an effort is being made to integrate the subdivisions into a cohesive neighborhood.

“There are elements that we are seeking continuity from project to project,” he said. “Colors may change, but a lot of the material of park benches, fountains, trash cans, bike racks, even shelters, streetlights (are the same). If you notice, the street signs are not typical. Most street name signs are green with white lettering. We wanted to add something a little distinctive, so we have white signs with black lettering.”

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Several natural stormwater filtration ponds are featured at the River Terrace development on the corner of Southwest Scholls Ferry Road and Southwest Roy Rogers Road.

Natural stormwater filtration touted as feature

Lange is excited about another common feature of the subdivisions, one that the developer believes answers one of the major criticisms of new home construction in the Bull Mountain area: stormwater management.

As Lange explained it, each development will feature at least one bioswale — an area to which all stormwater runoff in the subdivision will drain to be naturally filtered by native wetland plants. The water will then collect in a pond or a series of ponds, which will vary in water level depending on the weather.

“Part of the standard is that they have some community amenities in them — educational things, habitat things, recreational opportunities — trying to treat them as more of a park,” Lange said.

By design, Lange said, the “stormwater facilities” resemble — and, essentially, are — landscaped wetlands. He said the idea is that they will serve as additional greenspace rather than simply being an “eyesore” in the neighborhood.

Asked if he thinks residents will see them that way, Lange chuckled and pointed to a row of new houses on Southwest Anna Grace Lane, all of them overlooking one of the bioswale areas in the River Terrace Northwest subdivision.

“If you notice, those five are sold,” Lange said.

Shanks echoed Lange's enthusiasm. The stormwater facilities are planned to compliment parks and trails that are also being developed throughout River Terrace, she explained.

“I'm hopeful that it really will work together as a cohesive whole in the way that we've all envisioned,” she said, adding, “So far, it all looks very positive, and I just hope that it continues this way.”

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - A peek inside a model home shows an open floor plan with a living and dining room, as well as a kitchen, at the River Terrace development off Southwest 150th Avenue.

Commercial center, school also planned for neighborhood

While River Terrace construction is coming along, there are major pieces of the project that have yet to even break ground.

Roy Rogers Road is under Washington County's jurisdiction. To handle the additional traffic load both from River Terrace development and Beaverton's South Cooper Mountain area to the north, including the new high school, the county is planning to widen the road from two lanes up to five, install new traffic signals, and add sidewalks and bicycle lanes.

Signals will be put in at Roy Rogers Road's intersection with Bull Mountain Road, as well as its intersection with a new east-west street called Southwest Jean Louise Road. The existing signalized intersection at Scholls Ferry Road will also be improved, said county spokeswoman Melissa De Lyser.

Roadwork is slated to begin in 2018. De Lyser said it is scheduled to conclude by the end of 2019.

The community plan for River Terrace also calls for a commercial development, which has not yet begun construction, on the east side of Roy Rogers Road. A new Tigard-Tualatin school named for former principal and school board member Art Rutkin is also slated for construction, provided voters in the school district approve a $291 million bond measure this fall.

Grading work has begun on River Terrace East, near the southeast corner of the intersection of Scholls Ferry and Roy Rogers roads, and roadwork and building construction will soon follow. Three more subdivisions along the east side of Roy Rogers Road are planned as well, with construction beginning on at least the northernmost development next year, according to Lange.

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - A natural stormwater filtration system sits in the middle of the River Terrace development at Southwest 150th Avenue.

By Ray Pitz
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