The area between the Tualatin River and Beef Bend Road west of King City has a long history. Mike Meyer’s great-great-grandfather purchased 40 acres along the river in 1881, and Mike and his family still live there.
Skipping forward a few decades, in 1948 Harrel C. and Myrtle Throop created Rivermeade, a large-lot subdivision with 58 parcels that includes the private Rivermeade Community Club Park on the river with a picnic shelter, boat ramp and other facilities. Some of the homes have second-generation families living in them. More recently, at the start of this century, Edgewater on the Tualatin, which now has 437 homes, sprouted up.
In December 2018 the Metro Council approved King City’s application to expand its urban growth boundary from its western border to Roy Rogers Road. The Beef Bend South Urban Reserve Area or URA 6D encompasses Meyer’s property as well as Rivermeade, and King City is proposing a “green boulevard” through the URA by extending Fischer Road from the edge of Edgewater through Rivermeade and Meyer’s land to Roy Rogers, where a Town Center is planned. Fischer currently runs from 99W through Edgewater.
The Fischer Road extension would be an east-west collector street to provide an alternative to Beef Bend Road. The UGB plan calls for 3,300 new homes in four distinct neighborhoods; a range of 2.63 to 3.14 residents per household could mean an additional 8,679 to 10,363 residents in the area; and an average of 2.2 vehicles per household could bring an additional 7,260 vehicles to the area.
On Oct. 3 a group of about 20 Edgewater and Rivermeade residents met in the bucolic Rivermeade park to get information from several experts and discuss their options.
Edgewater resident Gary Woods told the group that out of 250 straw ballots delivered to Edgewater residents asking if they wanted Fischer Road extended, 220 were opposed.
Rivermeade resident Greg Russell said that according to King City City Manager Mike Weston, a Transportation System Plan will be finalized by July 2021 “so we need to take action before then.”
Ashley Short, who represents the Tualatin Riverkeepers as a Riverkeeper and in-house counsel, discussed environmental issues, saying that “King City wants to punch through a road over four or five creeks that are already impaired and that have already experienced massive erosion due to the increase of impervious surfaces on Bull Mountain.”
She added, “This is a legacy problem with (the construction on Bull Mountain) approved at the time. Clean Water Services has had to do some remediation (in other areas), but there is no plan to fix the existing problems because it was legal at the time, and repairs cost millions.”
Short said she wants to make sure King City is making decisions based on accurate data and reminded the group that people have until Oct. 30 to fill out a survey to have an influence on what the Transportation Plan Study considers.
Woods read a statement from Columbia Land Trust, which is involved because the Fischer Road extension would extend through its 12.82-acre conservation easement on the Bankston property. Metro added a condition to King City’s expansion approval stating it must work with Columbia “to protect, to the maximum extent possible, the portion of the Bankston property covered by the conservation easement.”
The statement added that “we interpret this as meaning that if there is ANY possible alternative the Fischer Road expansion as it was proposed in the concept plan, the city would have to utilize that option.”
Traffic engineer and Edgewater resident Smith Siromaskul told the group that with new development coming into the area, “the city has to provide traffic capacity between 99W and Roy Rogers Road… We need to propose a better plan.”
He explained that increasing traffic volume over the years is not due just to a larger population but instead drivers looking for alternative routes to get where they are going. “The best way to mitigate this is to fix the problems on 99W, which involve Tigard and ODOT,” he said.
If King City has to construct a new street parallel to Beef Bend, “the further up from the river the better because it would have less impact to the creeks,” Siromaskul said. “But it would be much cheaper to fix Beef Bend than to punch through a new road. Beef Bend is a county road, and there are more funds to tap into.”
Local residents are urged to learn more about the Transportation Plan Study and submit their comments by visiting www.kingcitytsp.org.