Opinions differ on Kingston Terrace development plan

Carl Springer with DKS Associates talks to a group of citizens in King City Community Park about the city’s plans to develop its urban growth boundary area called Kingston Terrace. (Barbara Sherman/Tigard Life)

Almost everyone has an opinion about how King City should develop its 528-acre urban growth boundary expansion area located between the city’s western border, Beef Bend Road, Roy Rogers Road and the Tualatin River.

The city is in the process of developing its Kingston Terrace Master Plan that will include about 3,500 dwelling units in four distinct neighborhoods, in addition to a civic/commercial/business area along Roy Rogers Road. Development is limited to 330 acres in the entire UGB area.

After a year of virtual meetings, the City sponsored an open house on June 15 in King City Community Park to provide the public with an opportunity to talk face to face with city officials and planners and to offer their opinions and ask questions about the plan.

The biggest area of contention is where to site a new street through the area that would move traffic east to west. Carl Springer with DKS Associates, an engineering-consulting firm developing the Transportation System Plan, said, “We are looking at several options, three more southerly and two further north. We are considering feasibility, function, cost, and there are other things to think about.

“There is lots of room for community choices, especially because some options go through highly sensitive areas. We are aware of the challenges.”

Those “challenges” are why a group that calls itself SAFE (Scitizens Against Fischer Extension) is working to get the city to eliminate one option, which would extend Fischer Road from the Edgewater subdivision west to Roy Rogers. The group opposes this option in part because it would go through the 58-parcel Rivermeade community created in 1948 and other neighborhoods, plus it would impact five environmentally sensitive canyons that are already severely degraded from run-off from development on Bull Mountain.

Keith Liden, a longtime planning consultant for King City, pointed out that Clean Water Services (CWS) is working to improve its standards. The goal of the water-resources management utility’s stormwater management program includes managing drainage by operating and maintaining a stormwater convenance system and establishing design and construction standards.

However, many in King City and the UGB area blame CWS for using lax standards to control run-off as Bull Mountain was developed in past decades. One of its biggest critics is Mike Meyer, whose great-great grandfather purchased 40 acres along the river where Meyer and other family members still live today. Over the decades, Meyer has watched a huge swath of his property disappear into the river.

King City’s website describes the drainage corridors in the UGB area as “in an advanced stage of degradation.”

Carla Bankston would be personally impacted by the proposed extension of Fischer Road. She lives on a 12.82-acre site that originally belonged to her mother Charlene, who turned the property into a conservation easement with the Columbia Land Trust.

“She loved the land and the creatures on the land and wanted them to have a safe space into perpetuity,” Bankston said. “She knew development would come and signed a 30-year lease with the Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District. The last three or four years, their volunteers have gotten rid of non-native plants and over 1 ½ years planted thousands of shrubs, trees and plants to create a 100-foot stream buffer.”

Bankston is concerned that if the city either builds bridges across the ravines or installs culverts and fill, they will be a disaster waiting to happen.

“This is an earthquake zone, and they are adding 3,500 residences in this area,” she said.

SAFE is promoting what is called the Capulet alternative that would construct a new east-west road north of the Fischer extension and closer to Beef Bend where the ravines are narrower.

Liden agreed that the “east-west connection has people’s attention,” and he added while the final draft of the Kingston transportation plan will be finalized soon, it will not be adopted until the master plan is adopted.

“We are hoping to address people’s concerns, and we will address their concerns,” he said.

Another concerned group is made up of those who live along Fischer Road between 99W and Edgewater, because Fischer would have a lot more traffic if it is extended into the UGB area. “Of all the options, Fischer is the worst,” said Dan Simpson, who lives on Fischer.

The city’s timeline calls for the master plan to be adopted this winter, and Gregg Russell, a Rivermeade resident, said, “They kind of pushed this through with no estimated costs and not enough time to comment.” 

And Gary Woods has another concern: “There are not enough parks in this plan,” he said. While the city’s plan calls for the ravines to be left as natural areas, “natural areas are not parks,” Woods said.

Yet amid all the uncertainty about the future and how properties might be impacted, Mike Meyer has reason to celebrate. His daughter, son-in-law and new grandson have moved into a house on the family land, making seven generations of Meyers who have lived there.