About River Terrace
How our city grows
Tigard lies within the Portland Metropolitan Region. As our region changes and evolves, there are times when more land is needed for housing, employment, and industry. Under Oregon law, the expansion of our region’s physical size is controlled by the urban growth boundary or UGB. This invisible line separates urban from rural development in an effort to preserve farm and forest land, mitigate the impacts of urbanization, and manage the cost of extending public infrastructure.
Thousands of acres were added to the region’s supply of developable land in the recent past to specifically address the need for more housing. Most of what is now known as River Terrace was added to the UGB in 2002. The remainder was added in 2011. Soon afterwards, property owners voluntarily annexed to the city, which added about 500 acres of residential land to Tigard’s corporate limits.
How River Terrace became part of Tigard
In 2010, Washington County completed the initial planning for this area with the adoption of the West Bull Mountain Concept Plan. The concept plan identified existing natural resources and hazards and included a preliminary land use and transportation framework. It also identified Tigard as a logical service provider.
In 2012, the City of Tigard agreed to complete the planning process and provide city services to the area, including but not limited to law enforcement, development oversight, infrastructure maintenance, and park development. Once the city agreed to provide these services, River Terrace property owners annexed to the city in stages. The final annexation was completed in 2013.
Great places follow from great plans
In order to provide for the orderly and efficient transition of River Terrace from rural farmland to suburban neighborhood, the city needed to figure out how to ensure high-quality development, protect natural resources, and provide essential public services in a coordinated, logical, and fiscally sound manner. The process of engaging the community to work out these details is known as long range community planning. Here’s how it works:
First, the city engages various stakeholders (service providers, property owners, neighbors, potential developers and partners) to create a development vision that becomes the blueprint for how this area will develop over time. The vision determines the type, scale, design, and location of things like housing, commercial areas, parks, trails, and streets. The outcome of this process is a community plan.
Second, the city uses this information to project future infrastructure needs. The outcome of this process is a series of infrastructure master plans for transportation, water, sewer, parks and stormwater. For River Terrace, this process involved answering the following kinds of questions:
- Transportation – How many new vehicle trips are expected, how can we minimize impacts on existing neighborhoods, and how can we address pedestrian and bicycle needs?
- Water – How much water is needed, do we have enough, and what is the best way to deliver it?
- Sewer – What are the best locations for needed pump stations and what is the plan for decommissioning older pump stations?
- Parks – How many acres of parks and how many miles of trails should be constructed and what are the best locations for these facilities?
- Stormwater – What are the best strategies for managing stormwater runoff in this steep and erodable area, and how can we prevent the kind of damage that has occurred elsewhere on Bull Mountain?
Third, the city completes a funding strategy to determine how to fund needed infrastructure. Some infrastructure will be built by the city and other service providers, such as Clean Water Services. However, the majority of infrastructure in River Terrace will be built by developers.
Last, the city adopts zoning and development standards that are specifically designed to implement the community plan and infrastructure master plans. The adoption of new zoning and development standards does not force property owners to develop their property, but it does require them to develop under the new rules if they choose to develop.
Changes large and small
River Terrace is primed to undergo dramatic changes over the next 20 years. In 2015, the city reviewed applications for more than 1,000 new homes in this area alone. However, it is also true that development in River Terrace will happen incrementally and may be barely noticeable at times.
In general, development occurs in very predictable phases. Initial site preparation includes site grading, installation of erosion control measures, construction of underground pipes for water and sewer, tree removal where approved, and construction staging. All infrastructure that is needed to serve a new development, whether it is above ground (e.g. new road) or below ground (e.g. new water line), must be in place before the city will issue building permits for the construction of new homes. The one exception to this rule is the construction of model homes.
How River Terrace will be different
The city will review development proposals and permit applications just as it would anywhere else in the city, but some special circumstances exist in River Terrace that require unique solutions. As a result, development in River Terrace will be subject to:
- New stormwater standards that will better control downstream flooding and erosion and that will also provide the community with additional amenities in the form of wildlife habitat and/or educational and recreational facilities.
- New street design standards, including a design for River Terrace Boulevard, which is the area’s signature street. The boulevard includes a landscaped median and a regional trail corridor.
- New development standards and incentives that facilitate neighborhood park development and advance the city’s strategic vision to be the most walkable community in the Pacific Northwest.
Now and into the future, developers will work to obtain land use approvals and development permits from the city to build in River Terrace. It is through this process that the city ensures development conforms to the vision outlined in the community plan, builds or pays for their proportional share of needed infrastructure, and meets all required development standards.
In addition to processing land use applications and building permits, the city will also work on several projects related to community plan implementation, including but not limited to the following:
- New commercial development design standards
- Community park acquisition and development
- Wayfinding and signage program
- Developer and ratepayer fee updates
- Roy Rogers Road expansion
RIVER TERRACE COMMUNITY PLAN
The River Terrace Community Plan is a long-range planning document that will guide investment and development in River Terrace as it transitions from farmland to residential land over the next several decades. The plan was adopted by Tigard City Council in December 2014 after many years of technical analysis, community visioning, and collaboration with local and regional partners.
“A community of great neighborhoods that includes housing, neighborhood-scale businesses, schools, parks and recreational opportunities.” – River Terrace Community Plan Vision
Primarily planned as a residential community, River Terrace will include a mix of housing types and amenities like parks, trails, and neighborhood shops. It will also include a new elementary school. The city’s award-winning urban forestry code will help preserve existing tree canopy, and new stormwater management standards will protect streams and property and provide additional opportunities for recreation and education. The city also has plans for walkability that will define this neighborhood as a special place.
River Terrace needs basic infrastructure, like roads and sewers, to develop into a complete and functional community. It also has many existing streams and natural resources that are in need of protection. The River Terrace Community Plan addresses these needs by providing a framework for bringing infrastructure to the area and recommending ways to avoid or minimize impacts to existing natural resources and neighborhoods wherever possible.
FAQ: RIVER TERRACE
Where is River Terrace?
River Terrace lies within the City of Tigard and the Portland Metropolitan Urban Growth Boundary. It is bounded by unincorporated Washington County to the east, west and south and by Beaverton’s South Cooper Mountain to the north.
What is River Terrace?
River Terrace consists of approximately 500 acres of land owned by multiple property owners. It was brought into the Urban Growth Boundary by Metro in 2002 and 2011 to help meet the region’s future housing needs.
River Terrace will transition from agricultural land to Tigard’s newest residential neighborhood over the next 20 years or so, with about 2,500 new homes and 6,500 new residents when built out. It will advance the city’s strategic vision of being the most walkable city in the Pacific Northwest by providing new trails, sidewalks, and walking destinations such as parks and neighborhood businesses.
Between 2012 and 2014, the city completed land use planning for River Terrace and adopted several documents to responsibly guide investment and development in the area. Project documents can found in the right hand column of this webpage. Key documents are briefly described below:
- River Terrace Community Plan. This document provides the long-term land use framework and community vision for this area.
- River Terrace Funding Strategy. This document identifies short- and long-term strategies to fund needed infrastructure, such as roads and sewers.
- River Terrace Infrastructure Master Plans. These documents, five in total, provide the technical analysis and policy considerations for serving this area with water, sewer, stormwater, parks, and transportation. They identify the major facilities (e.g. sewer pump stations) and safety and capacity improvements (e.g. traffic signals and wider roads) that will be needed to support development.
River Terrace was thoughtfully planned with significant input from property owners, neighbors, developers, service providers, and partner agencies. Development of this area will not prevent the city from funding or providing core services to the rest of the city. The cost of new infrastructure and services will primarily be paid for by private developers and future residents in River Terrace.
Why is the city working to develop River Terrace?
After River Terrace was brought into the Urban Growth Boundary, Washington County did some preliminary outreach, analysis, and land use planning for this area. This effort culminated in the creation and adoption of the West Bull Mountain Concept Plan in 2010. Amongst other things, the plan noted which service providers would best be able to extend urban services to the area, and Tigard became the most logical choice. River Terrace property owners voluntarily annexed to Tigard in 2011 and 2013, and Tigard completed the required community planning process in 2014. A similar process has occurred throughout Washington County. Beaverton took responsibility for the planning and development of South Cooper Mountain, Hillsboro did the same for South Hillsboro, and Washington County took responsibility for North Bethany and Bonny Slope West.
In addition to accepting responsibility for providing its share of needed housing in the region, Tigard is working to develop River Terrace because it wants to grow in a fiscally responsible manner, manage stormwater runoff from Bull Mountain, and provide new park and recreational facilities for all residents. River Terrace provides the city with the unique opportunity of being able to apply new and more effective stormwater management practices on a broad scale and ensure that parks and trails are evenly distributed throughout the area.
What will be built?
Most of the land in River Terrace will be developed with a variety of housing, including apartments, duplexes, rowhouses, and single-family detached homes. A small area will be developed with neighborhood-scale businesses. The adopted zoning map shows the location of the commercial area and the different types of residential districts. River Terrace is planned as a residential community because it was specifically brought into the Urban Growth Boundary by Metro to accommodate the long-range growth in population anticipated in the Portland Metro Region over the next several decades.
When will it be built?
City Council adopted new zoning for River Terrace in February 2015, which made residential and commercial development possible. However, just because development can happen, does not mean it will or has to happen. Some property owners in River Terrace may choose not to develop for many years, if ever, and that is their right. As of 2015, however, many property owners in River Terrace have either sold or are in the process of selling their land to developers. Development in River Terrace began in earnest in the summer of 2015.
The city is responsible for regulating what is built, but the pace and timing of private development is generally outside the city’s control. However, some properties may need to wait for the city to build needed infrastructure, such as a new water reservoir or a regional stormwater conveyance system, before they are allowed to develop. In these instances, the city may allow development to occur if the developer chooses to propose and fund a viable interim solution that does not negatively impact surrounding properties or the ability of the city to build the permanent recommended infrastructure.
What infrastructure is needed?
Some infrastructure exists on the edges of River Terrace, in the form of roads and water and sewer lines, but most of River Terrace lacks the necessary infrastructure to support new homes. Maps 6 – 14 in the River Terrace Community Plan show the infrastructure improvements needed in River Terrace. Each new home needs to have all the necessary infrastructure in place before anyone can live there. This includes all public utilities, such as water and sewer service, and all private utilities, such as electrical and gas service.
- Water and Sewer. Private developers will need to extend water and sewer lines through their sites and connect them to the city’s existing water supply and sewer system. The city is responsible for the design and construction of a new water reservoir that is needed to serve a portion of River Terrace and existing Bull Mountain residents. Completion of this reservoir is planned in 2021. Clean Water Services, which provides sewer service in Washington County, is responsible for the design and construction of two new sewer pump stations that are needed to serve River Terrace and South Cooper Mountain. The northern pump station was completed in 2016. The southern pump station is next in line.
- Roads. Private developers will need to build new local roads to serve each new home and improve existing roads with sidewalks, bike lanes, signals, etc. to safely accommodate the travel needs of new residents. Washington County will widen Roy Rogers Road through River Terrace, and private developers will construct intersection improvements to serve their individual developments. River Terrace Boulevard, including the River Terrace Trail, will primarily be built by private development in sections over time. Click here to view a conceptual design of the boulevard.
- Parks and Trails. Some private developers will provide neighborhood parks and trails. Others will pay a fee and the city will use this money to acquire land for neighborhood parks and trails. The city is responsible for the land acquisition and development of community parks. It will use funds collected from development everywhere in the city for this purpose.
- Stormwater. Private developers will be required to build or financially contribute toward the development of recommended regional stormwater facilities to effectively clean and manage the stormwater runoff from their sites. These facilities will be required to meet the city’s new stormwater standards and design guidelines, which require them to be community amenities in addition to being stormwater facilities.
FAQ: DEVELOPMENT IMPACTS
How will River Terrace development affect existing neighbors and city residents?
River Terrace is primed to undergo dramatic changes over the next 20 years. However, most impacts will be experienced very locally, with the exception of construction on existing major roads such as 150th Avenue, Bull Mountain Road, and Roy Rogers Road.
Impacts during construction include increased noise and truck traffic next to existing residential neighborhoods; benefits include increased local employment opportunities. Impacts after construction include increased traffic from new residents and the loss of open fields; benefits include the construction of new public parks and trails, the addition of new housing options for families of all sizes, and the restoration of degraded natural resources.
What is the city doing to protect properties from erosion that are downstream from River Terrace?
The city prepared and adopted the River Terrace Stormwater Master Plan in 2014 for the purpose of protecting:
- People and property from flood damage during large storm events,
- The health and function of downstream stream corridors for habitat and recreation, and
- The quality of our community’s water supply.
The plan’s stormwater management strategies are based upon the needs and characteristics of each drainage basin in River Terrace. These strategies make use of existing topography, natural systems, and stormwater facility design to effectively and efficiently ensure that: (1) all stormwater runoff from development is treated before it enters a stream, river, or wetland, and (2) the amount of stormwater runoff anticipated from development is appropriately managed to prevent stream erosion and property damage. The former objective is about protecting water quality, while the latter objective is about managing water quantity.
The plan’s stormwater management strategies are based upon Clean Water Services (CWS) Design and Construction Standards, the CWS Low Impact Development Approaches (LIDA) Handbook, and the city’s commitment to develop and adopt new design standards for River Terrace in collaboration with CWS. The need for these new standards is based upon the following:
- The city’s recent experiences dealing with channel stability problems elsewhere on Bull Mountain.
- The presence of similar drainage channel conditions in River Terrace.
- The city’s decision to develop a new continuous simulation model for this area.
- Anticipated changes to CWS’s Design and Construction Standards to address pending requirements under their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.
- The community’s desire to preserve and protect existing natural resources in the River Terrace and Bull Mountain area.
In addition to developing and adopting new stormwater management standards, the city also obtained permission from various owners with streams on their properties downstream from River Terrace to document existing stream conditions to better evaluate the effectiveness of River Terrace’s stormwater management facilities in the future. If you are an owner with a stream on your property and would like more information on the city’s efforts to protect streams in this area, please contact City Engineer Lori Faha at 503-718-2759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who will pay for development in River Terrace?
River Terrace will not negatively impact the city’s ability to fund or provide core services to the rest of the city. The cost of new infrastructure and services will primarily be paid for by private developers and future residents in River Terrace.
Clean Water Services will build the two sewer pump stations needed to serve the area, Washington County will complete the widening of Roy Rogers Road, and the City of Tigard will construct a new water reservoir, a new regional stormwater conveyance system to the Tualatin River, and two new community parks. The city may also complete small segments of roads or pipes as needed to fill gaps in the system.
Most of this infrastructure will be paid for by private developers through the collection of system development charges (SDCs). SDCs are a one-time fee paid by developers at the time of development. These fees are used to fund public projects that expand or improve the city’s sewer, water, stormwater, parks, and transportation infrastructure. Developers in River Terrace will likely only pay a portion of these fees, if any, since they will earn credits against these fees for building the needed infrastructure instead, including, but not limited to, the following:
- New roads throughout River Terrace
- Improvement of existing roads on the edges of River Terrace
- New stormwater management facilities of various sizes
- New water transmission lines connecting to two existing water pressure zones
- New sewer trunk lines connecting to existing trunk lines in Scholls Ferry Road and Beef Bend Road
- New neighborhood parks and trails
Future River Terrace residents will also directly pay for some of the cost of developing River Terrace in the form of ratepayer fees that will be included on their monthly utility bill. Lastly, existing development and existing city residents will pay some of the cost of developing River Terrace. Large projects that benefit a larger area, such as the new water reservoir that is needed on Bull Mountain, will be paid for from SDCs or other fees collected from development and residents throughout the city.
FAQ: SCHOOLS AND PARKS
What school districts will serve this area?
Most of River Terrace will be served by the Tigard-Tualatin School District. In anticipation of development in this area, the Tigard-Tualatin School District purchased a 20-acre site in the southern part of River Terrace for a future elementary school. Go to the school district’s website for a map of their school boundaries and information on the schools that will serve River Terrace. In November 2016, Tigard-Tualatin School District voters passed a bond measure to fund construction of this school and improvements to many existing schools in the district. Construction of this school, which has been named the Art Rutkin Elementary School, is currently slated for completion in 2021.
Some of River Terrace will be served by the Beaverton School District. In anticipation of development in River Terrace and South Cooper Mountain, which is to the north of River Terrace in Beaverton, the Beaverton School District purchased a 48-acre site on the northwest corner of 175th Ave/Roy Rogers Road and Scholls Ferry Road and built a new high school. Go to the school district’s website for a map of their school boundaries and information on the schools that will serve River Terrace.
Will I be able to use River Terrace parks and trails?
Yes. The city is working to ensure that all local parks built by developers in River Terrace will be dedicated to the public. Naturally, any parks built by the city in River Terrace will be public. The same holds true for any trails built by developers or the city. The River Terrace Park System Master Plan includes conceptual maps of the parks and trails envisioned in River Terrace.