Creeks, bridges could dot Beaverton’s future downtown
Consultants’ plan would put natural waterways out front and center
By Ed Johnson
The Beaverton Valley Times, Mar 25, 2010
Courtest of the City of Beaverton
One idea of the “Three Creeks Confluence” concept plan presented to city council earlier this month is a public space in the central city that features a water fountain.
What is a “Village of Bridges?” It’s one possible part of the future of downtown Beaverton.
Earlier this month, consultants hired by the city presented the “Three Creeks Confluence” concept plan, which envisions a downtown teeming with open spaces, trails and commercial centers built around improving and beautifying the city’s three creeks, Beaverton Creek, Wessenger Creek and Hall Creek.
Right now, many of the creeks are polluted and underground, or only visible for drainage-ditch type viewing. This plan, developed by Leland Consulting Group, TVA Architects and the Mayer/Reed landscape design firm, would put the natural waterways out front and center.
Here’s a breakdown of the idea:
What is it?
Simply put: More parks, more open spaces, more accessible creeks, better wetlands and more business and civic development based around water resources.
As part of the city’s developing long-range Civic Plan, city staff is looking at a variety of ideas to map into Beaverton’s future. Using the creeks – and numerous walking trails with bridges – as a way to make downtown more approachable is one possible idea that may end up in the plan.
Community Development Director Don Mazziotti said the idea stemmed from the community visioning process, which identified a more walkable central city as a goal, and the city’s need to improve the creeks’ floodplains and water quality.
“This is sort of the first time that a comprehensive, but conceptual, study has been done to say: ‘How do we take this natural resource and enhance it?’” Mazziotti said.
How much will it cost?
Since the plan is just a concept, far from a certainty, Mazziotti said there was no way to tell how much it might cost to complete. He said the concept was one part of the “information gathering” phase of developing the Civic Plan, which should be kicked off officially in June.
“If the Civic Plan identifies this as one of the key elements of the plan, then we would convert it into a project and would create a financing strategy,” Mazziotti said.
When asked if the creek development could be a project that uses urban renewal dollars, should an urban renewal plan be approved by voters, Mazziotti said it was possible, but again, it is too early to tell.
According to Gary Brentano, business development services director, the city has spent about $60,000 on consultants who developed the three creeks plan. (Some work commissioned earlier by the city from Leland Consulting was also used for this concept, city officials said.)
What are the next steps?
If the creek concept plan is adopted into the overall Civic Plan, work will begin to find funding, as well as more concrete details – like specific road mapping – needed to get it from just an idea to a real project.
It will also be important, Brentano said, to work with local landowners to combine public development with private development.
“In order to ensure that people can develop as they choose, we need to provide some certainty,” Brentano said. He added later: “This may take 20 years or longer to come to fruition, but you have to have a framework for how you might do it.”
After hearing the presentation at the March 8 council meeting, council members seemed enthusiastic about the ideas presented in the concept plan.
“It was so much fun to see potential,” said Councilor Cathy Stanton.
Her sentiments were echoed by other councilors.
“It is really very fascinating,” said Council President Marc San Soucie, “to think of how you can convert what is currently a sea of asphalt into real, green and water-filled places for people to be.”
Get with the plan
For more information on the “Three Creeks Confluence” concept plan, visit the city of Beaverton’s council Web site at www.beavertonoregon.gov, click on “current meetings,” then click on the agenda for March 8. A link to the presentation is near the bottom of the document.
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