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April 15, 2011  5:03 PM

Clackamas County chair asks Metro to study Borland Road UGB expansion

As Metro looks at whether to expand the urban growth boundary this year, a surprising new candidate has emerged as a study area for boundary expansion.

Clackamas County Chair Charlotte Lehan visited Metro on Wednesday to ask the agency to analyze the Borland Road area for an urban growth boundary expansion, possibly selecting it as an urban center.

A report, called "Borland: Clackamas County's 21st Century Urban Center," prepared by the Borland Neighborhood Association, Clackamas County and the Leland Consulting Group, highlighted the potential of the area, located between Interstate 205 and the Tualatin River, east of the Tualatin city limits. The report says it has about 240 developable acres.

"Everybody wants to … frame up the important questions about transportation, governance and service provision that need to be answered before any of us can decide whether this is the right time for Stafford, Borland or any portion thereof," Lehan said in an interview Thursday. "Or maybe it isn't the right time. Until we ask those questions, we just stay in perpetual limbo."

But the Borland area is close to Stafford, which has been the topic of conversation about the urban growth boundary for decades. Most of the Stafford area was included in the urban reserves adopted by Clackamas County and Metro in 2010.

Lehan said she envisions Borland being part of a town or regional center. More importantly, she said, it could be a key test case for the theory of density transfer – that a tightly-developed Borland center could allow for less dense development on the pastoral hillsides of the Stafford area.

One of the opponents of urbanizing Stafford is West Linn City Councilor Teri Cummings, who was sharply critical of the decision to make Stafford an urban reserve. She said that until the questions about transportation and governance are answered, it's too early to add to the boundary along I-205.

"I don't quite get why developers are pushing this right now," she said.

The Metro Council has been working on setting a timeline for deciding the boundary expansion, with councilors still waiting to decide whether to push for a decision in October or November. Two key dates in the process – the Land Conservation and Development's Commission decision on the Washington County urban and rural reserves plan in August, and the League of Oregon Cities conference in Bend at the end of September. Councilors want to avoid scheduling discussions about a possible boundary expansion at a Metro Policy Advisory Committee meeting during the conference, when many elected officials from the region are out of town.

Metro news reporter Nick Christensen can be reached at nick.christensen@oregonmetro.gov or 503-813-7583. Follow Metro on Twitter @oregonmetro.

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