“Big Bethany” to get planning—and
to get even bigger?
by Virginia Bruce, editor
In 2002, Metro approved another expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary
which included about 800 acres north of the present Bethany area.
The Oregon Court of Appeals upheld Metro’s decision in a recent challenge
to the addition.
Although Beaverton originally had plans to annex the area by extending
a cherry stem up a road, the recent moratorium imposed by the state
legislature ensures that the area will remain in unincorporated
Washington County for at least the next few years.
So Washington County will do the planning for the area. It seems
that the old adage that, “The County shall not provide urban services,” is
falling to the necessities of current conditions. Creating an adequate
infrastructure for the estimated 10,000 new residents will include planning
for roads, sewers, schools and parks.
Growth in Bethany will inevitably affect Cedar Mill, as hordes of
new residents make their way through our community on their way to
Highway 26. And they’ll undoubtedly want to use the Cedar Mill library
and shop in our stores.
Now apparently the urbanized area is slated to get even bigger. Land
just over the Multnomah County border is in the sights of Metro’s planners.
If this rural, mostly farmed land is added to the urban area, it’s unclear
which agency will undertake the planning tasks. Portland has said it won’t
plan for areas that aren’t contiguous with the city. Multnomah County
doesn’t have the staff to do the planning, and has proposed that Metro
itself do the job.
The area being considered is contiguous with one piece of land that
was added to the UGB in the latest round—Area 93 which is north of Thompson,
just over the county line but still in the area known as Bonny Slope. Planning
authority for that piece is also unclear at this time.
Residents of unincorporated Multnomah County who live on the wooded
western slopes adjacent to Forest Park came together during the last
UGB expansion to form a committee that they called ONRA - Outer Northwest
Rural Advocates. Their essential goal was to protect the wildlife
corridors, upland habitats, headwaters and streams of these slopes
from the degradations of urban development. The group, alerted by
the talk of Big Bethany, is now back in action and is committed to
fighting further UGB expansion into what they consider very valuable
natural resource lands.
They plan to form coalitions with other like-minded groups, lobby
Metro and local governments, and develop strategies to maintain
the rural character of the land, which they see as an important buffer
between urban development and the protected lands of Forest Park.