City Council agrees to allow Metro to resolve land dispute with Tualatin regarding Basalt Creek areac

In its final public meeting of 2017, Wilsonville City Council passed resolutions that address Wilsonville's ongoing disagreement with Tualatin representatives over Basalt Creek land designation, Wilsonville Library improvements and traffic congestion issues.

Here's what they decided at the Monday, Dec. 18 meeting.{filler:graphics-city-notes.jpg}

Metro to arbitrate Basalt Creek land dispute

With Wilsonville and Tualatin at an impasse over whether a 42-acre parcel of land in Basalt Creek should receive residential or industrial development designation, the two cities have agreed to allow Metro to make the call for them.

Tualatin agreed to the intergovernmental agreement Monday, Dec. 11, that will allow Metro to levy a non-binding decision and Wilsonville City Council unanimously voted to approve the agreement as well Monday night.

"At this point since we're sort of at an impasse. I'm happy to let Metro arbitrate it," City Councilor Charlotte Lehan said at the city council meeting.

The dispute concerns developed land called the "central subarea" on the north side of Basalt Creek Parkway and east of Grahams Ferry Road. Tualatin officials want the area designated for residential development while Wilsonville officials prefer industrial development. The two sides had reached a verbal agreement on the Basalt Creek Land Use Concept Map, which allowed mostly for industrial development and some residential development in Tualatin, in February but Tualatin changed its tune after residents in the area expressed dissatisfaction. Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden has since stated that the land's rugged typography and uneven bedrock is unsuitable for industrial development.

Wilsonville officials, meanwhile, believe developing industrial land in the area is viable and that residential development could tarnish Basalt Creek's future as an employment area.

Now, Metro will decide which side's point of view is more persuasive.

"I personally think (allowing Metro to make the decision) the best approach for us to be able to continue to move this project forward instead of the uncertainty of an indefinite delay," Wilsonville Mayor Tim Knapp said.

Knapp added that the process for Metro to assess the situation and levy their decision could last well into the spring.

"All of the parties that have been talking would like to have this happen quickly but in the way that these processes move that wouldn't be by tomorrow," he said.

Library renovation finalized

City council finalized a contract for the Library Improvements Project — which is slated to upgrade the Wilsonville Public Library for the first time in 15 years.

The City passed a 4-0 resolution to enter into a contract with 2KG Contractors Inc. to renovate the library. Wilsonville will dip into its general fund to pay for the improvements.

"I'm excited about this project moving forward. The library is heavily used and an asset to this community," City Councilor Susie Stevens said.

The city had previously received $1 million from the Clackamas County Library District but bids averaged $1.3 million once engineering and permits were included. The extra $320,000 for the project will derive from the vcontingency fund.

Among an amalgam of improvements, a new heating and cooling system will replace the library's current 30-year-old system, various sections of the library will undergo remodeling and a set of restrooms will be upgraded.

Lehan says providing an air conditioned community space is an important public utility.

"Especially for seniors who don't have adequate air conditioning, to have a pleasant place to go and be able to relax and spend some hours, and we keep it open later in the evening than usual for that," she said. "So having a fully functional hvac (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) is critical for that function as well."

Knapp believes the project, which is supposed to be completed by June 30, will keep the library sustainable for the foreseeable future.

"It's a significant part of the community and the amount of usage that our facility gets by people of all ages starting really young and all the way to seniors is really quite remarkable and as we move further into the digital age that will continue to be an asset that we need," Knapp said.

City gives go-ahead on two traffic improvement projects

The council entered into contracts to add a lane on the I-5 Exit 283 southbound ramp and to add a northbound travel lane at an intersection in Old Town Square.

Via a resolution that passed 4-0, the City of Wilsonville will pay Kerr Contractors Oregon, Inc. $562,578 to widen and add a third lane to the ramp that connects Wilsonville streets to the I-5 South freeway. The project will allow for an additional 25 cars to occupy the on-ramp rather than clogging Wilsonville Road and Boones Ferry Road. Councilors hope the extra lane decreases congestion. Work for the project is expected to be completing by June 30.

Stevens noted that I-5 South traffic has led to accelerating congestion in Wilsonville.

"This is our attempt to try to mitigate that issue. I'm hoping this makes a substantial difference," she said.

However, councilors noted that the travel time from Wilsonville streets to I-5 South won't change.

"It's a modest improvement by all of our estimations," Knapp said. "It's not a solution."

The City also voted 4-0 to award Brown Contracting, Inc. with a $191,649 contract for the Old Town Square Intersection Modification Project. The project is to be finished by May 30.

The project will remove a curb extension on the Northeast corner of an intersection at the south Fred Meyer driveway on Boones Ferry Road in Old Town Square and implement a second northbound travel lane.

"The idea is to extend the second lane all the way to the driveway so cars can occupy both of those lanes instead of trying to squeeze into one lane," Knapp said.