OPINION: A letter to Tigard voters
On the May ballot, Tigard voters have the opportunity to amend the City Center (downtown) Urban Renewal Plan. Tigard voters approved the original City Center Urban Renewal Plan in 2006 amending it by adding 37.7 acres in 2017.
Ballot Measure 34-305 proposes increasing authorized funding for projects and programs by $20.8 million and extends the duration of the plan nine years (2035). Your property taxes will not increase. Increased funding is through tax increment financing, which is not a new tax, doesn't raise existing taxes or extend a current tax.
Downtown Tigard has been transformed since. Urban renewal programs and projects play a key role in this transformation. New businesses, restored and improved storefronts, new sidewalks with trees and landscaping and a public plaza are just a few of the amenities that draw people to our vibrant downtown.
Investments in nearly 40 public improvements and infrastructure projects have attracted almost $50 million in private investment to downtown, including 234 new housing units and 28 matching grants to downtown businesses. Assessed land values downtown have increased 64% between 2006 and 2019 compared to a 53% increase citywide.
Matching grant programs
If you visit downtown regularly, you have likely noticed improvements at these businesses:
? Senet Game Bar
? Tigard Liquor Store
? Sherrie's Jewelry Box
? Tigard Cleaners
? Symposium Coffee
? Kepler's Upholstery & Furniture
? Tigard Taphouse
? Jeffrey Allen Gallery
? Tigard Main Street Cleaners
? Main Street Stamp and Stationery
? Under Water Works
These businesses invested in downtown Tigard, and Tigard invested in them.
Tigard Heritage Trail & Rotary Plaza
The three-quarter mile trail is a bike and pedestrian pathway that celebrates local heritage with historic and cultural landmarks. Rotary Plaza offers a space for community gatherings where the trail meets Main Street.
Tigard voters approved a park bond in November 2010 where money was set aside to purchase land in downtown for a plaza. In 2014, the city purchased property on Burnham Street. Now called Universal Plaza, design is underway for a community gathering place — with a splash pad! Approving this ballot measure funds completing the plaza.
Additional funding capacity and time would allow progress to continue on the voter approved plans that were stalled during the economic downturn in 2008 and the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Planned projects include:
? Public parking facilities
? Completion of Universal Plaza
? Extension of the Tigard Heritage Trail
? Additional community gathering spaces
? Affordable housing development assistance
? Opportunities for mixed-use development
Let's continue to invest in the transformation of downtown Tigard to create a place that draws even more people downtown to live, work, shop, dine, walk the dog or meet up with family and friends.
Join us in voting yes on Ballot Measure 34-305.
Jason Snider is mayor of Tigard. Heidi Lueb is Tigard City Council president. John Goodhouse, Liz Newton and Jeanette Shaw are Tigard city councilors. Together, they comprise all five voting members of the Tigard City Council.
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