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Majority of survey respondents enjoy living in city, good schools and quality of life

Though residents viewed traffic as an area of improvement and public participation was lower than the national average, the latest National Community Survey indicated that the overwhelming majority of residents perceived their experience in Wilsonville favorably.SPOKESMAN FILE PHOTO - Survey respondents were particularly impressed with Wilsonvilles schools, as 93 percent rated them positively.

Fifty-two percent of respondents said Wilsonville is a good place to live while 43 percent indicated that it's an excellent place to live. Meanwhile, Wilsonville's quality of life score (94 percent) was higher than it had received since the survey was first conducted in 2012, and 92 percent of respondents said they would recommend Wilsonville as a place to live compared to 89 percent in 2016. The survey, conducted by the City of Wilsonville every two years, was based on interviews of 568 Wilsonville citizens and developed by the National Research Center.

"The feedback from this survey is a very useful way for us to know which services are hitting the mark and where we stand to improve," City Manager Bryan Cosgrove said in a press release.

Wilsonville Communications and Marketing Manager Bill Evans added that Wilsonville rated better than 2016 in 21 categories, similar in 99 categories and lower in seven categories.

Parents were particularly satisfied with Wilsonville. Ninety-seven percent of respondents rated Wilsonville positively as a place to raise children while 93 percent rated Wilsonville K-12 education positively.

"People are phenomenally satisfied with the education in Wilsonville and want to come here to raise their families," Evans said at the Wilsonville City Council meeting Monday, Oct. 1.

Also, 92 percent viewed Wilsonville's appearance favorably, transit services received 83 percent favorability, library services received 96 percent favorability, city parks received 94 percent favorability and customer service received 82 percent favorability.

Forty-one percent of respondents viewed traffic as the city's biggest issue while housing affordability and development tied for second with 14 percent. Seventy-two percent weren't happy with the city's traffic flow but 68 percent of respondents viewed Wil-

sonville's ease of travel positively.

"Even with so much concern about traffic flow, our mobility score is high because the community is so satisfied with all of the other mobility related opportunities," Evans said.

Council President Scott Starr, though, viewed the traffic concerns as an indicator that Wilsonville citizens are concerned about density. Relatedly, 58 percent of respondents rated the city's land use planning and zoning positively.

"I think the council really needs to watch the density issues as the city grows because people are really pushing back saying there's just too much here," he said at the meeting. "We're at the point where we can't absorb much more traffic if at all."

Wilsonville Mayor Tim Knapp reminded attendees that the City helped place a project to add a southbound auxiliary lane onto the state's transportation master plan.

"Getting the study done, getting the acknowledgement that this is an important piece, that it matters, now we have to work with community partners to raise the profile of that all the time," Knapp said at the meeting. "The bad news is there's no money, at least not yet."

On the other hand, Wilsonville residents were tallied as being less likely to volunteer or attend a public meeting than the national average.

"We need to be a more neighborly community is a takeaway from that," Evans said.

Compared to 70 percent in 2014, 64 percent of respondents said they had confidence in the city's government. While 60 percent of respondents liked the overall direction of Wilsonville in 2016, 68 percent said so this year.

Starr posited a caveat to Wilsonville's 72 percent positive ratings for recreational activities.

"My guess was why we didn't see a whole lot of team sports stuff (commented in the open ended portion of the survey) was because you probably didn't have many people that were 18 and younger filling out this survey. Those are the primary ones who are using fields for team sports," he said. "Looking at the city from when I moved in in 1994 to now we are very underserved compared to how we were in 1994 for kids, for team sports and that kind of thing."

Wilsonville's safety rating (91 percent positive) was also high but Starr hoped the City would continue to keep tabs on the issue as the city grows.

"I think we need to be diligent as a city that we are keeping up with that because we have more people in town and that bring more challenges sometimes to safety," he said.

Overall, though, the City was happy with the results.

"I can't tell you how pleased I am," Wilsonville Councilor Susie Stevens said. "To see these kinds of numbers, 'Would you recommend Wilsonville as a place to live?' and those percentages ... it's so heartening. I have my family in town and I'm just bragging about Wilsonville. They're so sick of it."

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