Tualatin pursues parkland in Basalt Creek
One thing's for certain regarding Tualatin's newest addition to residential and industrial land being developed by the city — the Basalt Creek area is well on its way to having ample parks and recreation land.
The city is in the process of purchasing a 6.35-acre parcel of land at 23465 S.W. Boones Ferry Road, to be earmarked for future parks and natural area space.
On Oct. 24, the Tualatin City Council approved pursuing a purchase and sale agreement with a landowner in Basalt Creek for that parkland. The city will have the land appraised as well.
"We gave council some ballpark estimates, initial estimates … to give council an understanding of what we think the appraisal might come in around," Ross Hoover, Tualatin Parks & Recreation director, recently said.
Those estimates include $924,880, based on the Washington County Assessor's Office's real market value, along with an estimated land value of $1 million by Zillow and $919,661 from Redfin, real estate marketplaces.
If successfully purchased, the property will be added to another adjacent parcel of land, which was purchased on Oct. 21, for $2.6 million following a nine-month process. That parcel is 7.69 acres and contains large trees.
"A large majority of it was funded by the Metro parks and nature bond and what Metro calls the local share grant program," said Hoover. "About $1.6 million of that purchase came from Metro funds."
Both of the parcels are directly across the street from Horizon Christian High School.
Landowners actually reached out to the city, Hoover said, to see if it would be interested in purchasing their property to serve as parkland.
"They want to see kids and families enjoying the land like they did," Hoover said.
Basalt Creek Parkway essentially splits the future Basalt Creek development into two sections, with Wilsonville annexing land to the south of the roadway and Tualatin taking in 194 buildable acres to the north.
Tualatin officials originally estimated that they expect 575 new households to come out of the development with accompanying land that could create almost 2,000 new jobs.
In park planning for Basalt Creek, one of the things the city learned from residents and business owners is there is a groundswell of support for natural areas and preserving those areas.
Hoover said the east side of Boones Ferry Road, where both pieces of property are located, is largely a flat area of land before it slopes down toward basalt outcroppings and then moves into the canyon edge. It then moves further towards the creek bed before coming back up on the west side to a ridge on the canyon.
"It's a basalt canyon, and so these particular parcels were really intriguing to us throughout our process because the creek runs through the middle of the parcels and actually connects both sides of the Basalt Creek Canyon," said Hoover. "Both parcels include all that topography."
Across from the proposed parkland (and just south of Horizon High School), Community Partners for Affordable Housing is planning to construct Plambeck Gardens, which includes 110 affordable housing units. Just to the south of that project, 400 homes are planned as part of the Autumn Sunrise subdivision.
Once new residents move into the area, the parks department will start the process of imagining how this land can serve the community, parks officials say.
Parks system development charges, where homebuilders pay to create the infrastructure needed for new development, pays for the creation and maintenance of city parks.
Hoover highlighted the fact that the parkland is centrally located so that businesses and residents can converge and meet on the trail through a network of 12-foot-wide sidewalks designed to ensure residents can get around the area in ways other than cars.
"In our planning, there will be a crosswalk that will cross Boones Ferry that will lead directly to the park, to and from that parkland," said Hoover.
Hoover said as residents approach the city government and hope to sell properties, the parks department continues to talk with them.
"What we really focus on is making sure that people have a say in what their parks look like — how they interact with the parks. We steward that process. We steward the parks. But we really need the residents and businesses to determine what the nature of these parks is, what amenities they would like to see," said Hoover.
Once residents begin moving into the area, the parks department will start that process of imagining how that parkland can best serve that community with plans for future conversations and workshops on the topic.
As part of the parks planning process, Hoover said residents have said they want to see both natural areas and those with playground equipment.
One of the things the city discovered during the Basalt Creek planning process is "that there's a clear desire from our community members to create a connection into Wilsonville north (and)south," said Rich Mueller, Tualatin's parks planning and development manager.
He said the parks department has made clear to Wilsonville that they would like to connect to any natural or parkland areas the city to the south may come up with, if that's what Wilsonville officials want as well.
The trails in the future Basalt Creek parks and natural area will eventually connect to a regional trail that goes into Portland.
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