Tigard council to mull Southwest Corridor resolution Tuesday
Despite concerns by some members of the Tigard City Council about the planned location of a downtown light rail station, the council likely will sign off with conditions on a resolution next Tuesday supporting a preferred alternative for a Southwest Corridor light rail system that will run through the city.
On Oct. 30, the council met in a work session with city staff along with Metro and TriMet representatives to discuss the preferred alternative route that begins in Portland and makes its way into the city along Barbur Boulevard before crossing Interstate 5 into the city.
During the meeting, Kenny Asher, the city's director of community development, told the council although they would hear a staff report that might sound negative it's not because the city feels negative about the project. The applicant for the project is TriMet with Metro being the ultimate decision-maker involving the project.
City staff said among the issues it has with the preferred alternative is the economic impact of running the light rail into the Hunziker Industrial Core area, which could potentially displace 594 employees and affect 21 businesses. TriMet would be responsible for relocating those businesses at its expense.
The five TriMet light rail stations earmarked for the city include those at 68th Avenue and Highway 99W, Elmhurst Street, Hall Boulevard, Bonita Road and Upper Boones Ferry.
However, some council members are concerned that the location of a planned downtown Tigard station is east of Hall Boulevard and not in downtown Tigard's geographical area.
Councilor John Goodhouse said residents he's talked to are concerned there's no downtown light rail stop planned; or, specifically, no stop on the west side of Hall Boulevard.
While that location isn't expected to change, Asher told the council that the city, TriMet and Metro are expected to resolve other issues through a memorandum of understanding between the parties.
Still, the exact location of the Hall Boulevard station hasn't been determined, only that it would be east of Hall and south of Hunziker Street in the general area of where Archers Precision, a metal fabrication facility, is now located.
A light rail station, park and ride and the Tigard Transit Center also were studied for location in that area as well as a TriMet operations and maintenance facility. That latter facility could employ as many as 150 people.
City officials have said a steering committee looked at a dozen alternative routes coming up with a preferred choice, which is a modification to an original Ash Street alignment. That modification, now part of the preferred alternative, was an effort to avoid taking out businesses along Beveland Street by moving the alignment up to Elmhurst Street.
The rail line ultimately would end at Bridgeport Village with a park-and-ride station being discussed for a site currently occupied by a Village Inn restaurant in Tualatin. That proposal has drawn the ire of many area residents, as well as the Tualatin City Council. However, TriMet officials have said additional studies are underway to avoid having to relocate the popular eating place.
Meanwhile, Tigard Mayor John Cook praised TriMet and Metro for coming up with the route and negotiating with the respective jurisdictions involved.
"They were the white knight in this and played referee," he pointed out. "I think Metro deserves a lot more credit than they get."