Land Use & Housing learns about Forest Grove & Beaverton


May LUH Meeting With Jesse Vanderzanden 2   The Land Use and Housing Committee met with Forest Grove City Manager Jesse Vanderzanden and City of Beaverton Long Range Planning Manager Brian Martin. 
   Vanderzanden provided an overview of Forest Grove's economic health, saying, "It's been robust."
   He said the median household income in Forest Grove has increased 15 percent since 2013, partly due to an in-migration of high tech employees moving into the city - 83 percent of Forest Grove residents travel outside the city limits to work.
   Employment has increased 11 percent since 2012 with an added 642 jobs - Forest Grove itself is home to a number of food processing jobs, but the education sector is the largest given that it's home to Pacific University.

   Forest Grove's industrial and commercial vacancy rates are basically 0, but they do have four industrial sites in Business Oregon's "Shovel-Ready" Industrial Program. 
   He said there is a new mixed use development (the Jesse Quinn building) that has brought a revitalization to Forest Grove's downtown.

   In Beaverton, there has been a long time effort going into its downtown design. 
   Martin provided the committee with maps of downtown Beaverton showing some opportunities and some challenges.
May LUH Meeting With Brian Martin 2   The distinct activity areas are identified and include the Beaverton Library, Restaurant Row (around Farmington and Watson), historic Broadway (the former location of Beaverton Bakery), the Round, and the new Rise Central on the former Westgate property.
   Martin said the city recognizes there are some barriers in terms of roads, train tracks, and other elements, but that these also serve important purposes to the economy.
   He said the Downtown Design Project is looking to enhance the connectivity and mobility by having some streets providing an easy way to navigate downtown destinations on foot.
   WEA Executive Director said the Land Use & Housing Committee may schedule a future walking tour of the area to get a better feel for the project.
   To learn more, visit Beaverton's website.