Tigard Urban Renewal measure approved by voters

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Tigard voters gave the go-ahead to an expansion of the City Center Urban Renewal District by a wide margin in the May 18 special election. 

By a nearly two-to-one margin, Tigard voters approved a ballot measure that calls for $20.8 million in additional urban renewal spending in downtown Tigard by 2035. This adds nine years to the life of the original $22 million plan, which was approved in 2006 and was to end in 2026.

The additional money will be used to support new projects in the City Center area, including designing and building new streets, completing Universal Plaza, adding a new parking facility, continuing the Tigard Heritage and Fanno Creek Trails, and adding funding to support affordable housing in the area. Pedestrian and streetscape improvements will also be addressed, while the City plans to use urban renewal funds to purchase land suited to encourage future mixed-use development. 

The final vote on May 18 saw 4,878 votes, or 65.27 of ballots cast, decide in favor of the measure, with 2,595, or 34.73 percent opposed. Total voter turnout across Washington County was only 23.38 percent, compared with over 80 percent for the November 2020 general election. 

“The passage of this measure validates the work we’ve been doing in Tigard’s downtown,” Community Development Director Kenny Asher said in a statement. “Tigard residents want a downtown they can enjoy on evenings and weekends, with friends and with children. Planned projects and those underway will help turn downtown Tigard into that kind of district.”

Tigard Mayor Jason Snider was pleased with the passage of the urban renewal measure. He said urban renewal has driven downtown Tigard’s transformation by funding nearly 40 infrastructure and improvement projects and attracting almost $50 million in private investment. 

“I am thrilled that the community supported this measure by a two-to-one margin,” Snider said. “The measure provides a stable funding source to allow the City to build and fix infrastructure without raising taxes.”  

Bringing new businesses and housing into downtown, he added, will increase Tigard’s tax base over time which, in turn, will help fund future City services for Tigard residents. 

“Passage of this measure ensures that Downtown Tigard continues to thrive,” he said, “supporting our diverse culture, stimulating our economy, and creating safe, healthy, and connected communities for everyone.”

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