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  • Lean Code

Planning a New Future

Tigard Triangle

City Council Adopts Lean Code
At the August 8, 2017 public hearing, City Council unanimously approved the Tigard Triangle Lean Code with one minor modification read into the record. The goal of the new code is to spur new development by reducing regulations in ways that support the community’s vision for transforming the Triangle into a more connected, safe, active and attractive neighborhood. The new code will go into effect upon adoption of the proposed new zoning for the area. A hearing on the proposed new zoning is expected to happen later this year. It requires the completion of a district-wide traffic analysis, which is in progress.

 


About the Tigard Triangle
The Tigard Triangle is located in the northeast corner of the city, just east of Downtown Tigard. At about 500 acres, it is roughly two and a half times the size of Downtown Tigard. Its name comes from the shape the area creates when looking at its boundaries on a map. It is bounded by Interstate 5 to the east, Highway 217 to the southwest, and Highway 99W (Pacific Highway) to the north forming a triangle.

The Tigard Triangle is an area full of potential and has the ability to be a place where future growth could occur with a mix of complementary uses like housing, employment and shopping. For many years the community has imagined it as a place designed for people, a place that accommodates cars but prioritizes pedestrians with comfortable and interesting streets, buildings, parks, and trails.

However, the Triangle has been in limbo since the mid-90s due to development barriers such as an incomplete street network, missing sewer and stormwater infrastructure, and lack of access to the freeways that surround it. In 2013 the city set out to produce a plan for the area that captured the community vision, identified barriers to achieving the vision, and recommended measures to overcome them.

The Community’s Vision
With extensive input by the community, the city completed the Tigard Triangle Strategic Plan in 2015 which outlines the vision for the Triangle to become an area with a diverse mix of uses in an enjoyable walking environment with improved connectivity for all travel modes. 

Vision Summary: Open House

  • A diverse mix of uses, including housing and businesses to support those who live and work in the Triangle.
  • Improved connectivity for cars, bikes, and pedestrians within the district and to neighboring areas.
  • An enjoyable and safe walking environment with shorter blocks, pedestrian friendly buildings, and pathways between developments.
  • Parks, open spaces, and community gathering places that takes advantage of the areas trees, creeks and natural landscapes.
  • Enhancement and protection of the natural amenities, including restoration of Red Rock Creek as a defining feature for the area.

While there are many unique features of the Tigard Triangle that make it attractive to development, there are also constraints. The Triangle lacks a clear identity, and development has been primarily traditional big box retail and office buildings. The Triangle offers few service businesses or open spaces for those in the community.

Housing choices and businesses to serve those who work or attend school in the area are limited. To travel within the area or just outside is difficult without an automobile due to the lack of sidewalks, trails, bike lanes and barriers created by the adjacent highways.

The Strategic Plan identified eight areas as persistent barriers to the community’s vision:

  • Triangle BarriersWalkability
  • Vacant Lots
  • Flooding
  • Traffic Congestion
  • No sidewalks and dirt roads
  • Broken Sewer lines
  • Zone Issues
  • Lack of housing and neighborhood-scale uses/services 

Current Projects

Implementation of the Tigard Triangle Strategic Plan is currently underway. Click on the links below or the image to the right to learn more.  TT TimelineProgressChart

Urban Renewal
Urban renewal is a powerful funding tool that can be used to help build innovative projects and fill infrastructure gaps (e.g. sidewalks, streets, sewer, parks, trails).

Tigard Triangle Urban Renewal Area
Passed with voter approval in May 2017, 
the proposed urban renewal area consists of about 550 acres. It includes properties west of Interstate 5, east of Highway 217, and just north of Highway 99.

Revenue generated by property taxes within the area would be spent on projects to improve walkability, create more employment and housing opportunities, and address a variety of transportation issues.

Tigard Triangle Location MapThe urban renewal plan will last, at most, 35 years to build needed projects. The maximum amount of money that can be spent on proejcts is $188 million. Learn more about how urban renewal works.

Identified Projects
• New streets and sidewalks
• Workforce housing
• New trails and parks
• Red Rock Creek restoration
• Small business support
• Major sewer line repairs
• Intersection improvements

Why Propose Urban Renewal Here?
Urban renewal is needed to fix infrastructure deficiencies and support catalytic development in the Triangle since the type of development desired by the community (and allowed by zoning) is not supported by market conditions. Urban renewal, and the funding it brings, can help get pioneering projects off the ground with incentives, partnerships, and financial or technical assistance. It can get the ball rolling, so to speak, and effectively change the market conditions in the Triangle to align with the community’s vision.

Urban renewal also signals to the development community that the city is committed to the area. In emerging mixed-use areas, private investment typically follows this kind of public commitment.

Lastly, the Triangle meets the legal definition for blight, which is a requirement for forming an urban renewal area. Blighted areas generally have old or deteriorated buildings, failing or inadequate utilities, incomplete streets, or other obstacles to development. The Triangle meets the definition for blight due to its many infrastructure deficiencies and number of vacant and underdeveloped lots.

If passed, the benefits to the proposed urban renewal in the Triangle are:  

  • Improves Tigard’s long-term financial health
    By bringing new businesses into the Triangle, urban renewal increases Tigard’s tax base over time which, in turn, helps fund future city services for all Tigard residents. 
  • Provides a stable funding source
    By creating a stable long-term funding source (without creating a new tax), the city can build or fix infrastructure that it may otherwise delay or never be able to afford
  • Steers investment toward an area ready for change
    By focusing on the Triangle, which is already zoned for commercial and residential density, urban renewal steers investments toward an area of the city that is the most ready for change. 
  • Furthers Tigard’s walkability goal
    By changing the character of the Triangle from an auto-oriented district with suburban offices and big-box stores into a pedestrian-oriented district with a diverse mix of destinations and activities, urban renewal can help further the city’s goal of becoming a more walkable, interconnected and healthy community.
  • Supports travel by alternate modes
    By fostering the creation of a complete community—one which has jobs, housing, services, and transit—urban renewal can make travel by alternate modes (travel by foot, bike, or transit) more possible and desirable. This could alleviate traffic congestion or, at the very least, not contribute to it allowing the city to reap the benefits of growth without some of the impacts of growth. 

Lean Code
The city is working to revise the regulatory framework that currently governs development the Triangle. The goal of these revisions is to create a mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented district where people live, work, shop, and recreate, and facilitate redevelopment by minimizing regulation.

A lean, form based code:

  • Less regulation
  • Shorter review times
  • Focus on building location and design
  • Easy to understand

A lean code offers more possibilities by making it easier to start new business, offer housing choices, and helps facilitate small and large development.

Current Codes focus on the use of buildings and how to minimize impacts on surrounding streets and properties. The few building design elements that are required along streets to enhance the pedestrian experience are ineffective and inefficient. 

New Triangle Lean Code, if passed, would allow a wide mix of uses and regulate the size, shape, and location of buildings, with an emphasis on promoting development that creates great streets and spaces for people.  Developments that meet these requirements can follow a streamlined review process. Changes to existing development will have fewer requirements than in the current code to encourage business start-ups and entrepreneurs.

In addition to code amendments, this shift requires a change to the existing zoning districts in the Triangle. A series of public hearings on the new code and zoning will be held before Planning Commission and City Council in 2017. 


Transportation
In depth analysis of current transportation issues in the Triangle are currently underway. The city's goal with these studies is twofold: address current issues and prevent future problems.

There are three areas of interest being studied:

  • A Traffic Study has begun to understand the impacts of the proposed code and zoning changes suggested in the Lean Code currently being developed for the Triangle. The City of Tigard, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), and traffic engineers will determine how to study the potential traffic impacts. Once determined there will be an analysis based on the agreed upon approach.
  • A Parking Management Plan is currently being created as part of the Lean Code package to proactively prevent future parking issues through long and short term strategies. The goal of this plan is to use existing parking more efficiently and encourage the use of alternative travel modes.
  • SW 72nd Avenue travels through the heart of the Tigard Triangle.  A study is underway to determine a design for 72nd that serves cars, bikes, and pedestrians.

Completed Projects

Streetscape Design
The design of a street plays a significant role in how a place functions and feels whether you are traveling by car, wheelchair, foot, or bike.

Streetscape Design Plan

  • Pedestrian Streets
  • Access Streets
  • Transitional Streets

The design of the buildings that frame the street are regulated by the development code, and a Streetscape Design Plan serves a similar role for the public realm that exists between buildings.

The city successfully competed for a $145,000 Community Planning & Development Grant (CPDG) award from Metro in 2016, and a portion of these funds were used to develop a Streetscape Design Plan for the Triangle. The Tigard Triangle Strategic Plan provides a vision for how these streets should look and function, and this effort built off that vision and provides more specific design direction. The final Streetscape Design Plan can be found here.

Walkability Results
In early 2016, the city hosted a 4-person graduate student team from Portland State University and contracted with State of Place, an urban form analytics firm, to identify urban design features that could enhance walkability and maximize economic value in the Tigard Triangle. The results of their analysis can be found on the Value of Place webpage.

State of Place found that the area currently has a walking score of 33 out of 100—a low but unsurprising number. In comparison, Downtown Tigard scored 66. 

Changing building design and diversifying the types of businesses would improve this score, but are largely out of the city’s control. Fortunately, the analysis also indicates the features that the city can affect and that would have a significant impact on our low walking score. The graphic below shows which urban features the city could focus on that would improve the Triangle’s score, are in keeping with the community’s vision, and are within the city’s control. With this in mind, we are excited to consider ways to improve pedestrian amenities, traffic safety, and overall aesthetics in the Triangle and to apply this analysis to the types of projects that could be funded by urban renewal.

Tigard Triangle graph

Construction Projects

  • Dartmouth Overlook in the Tigard Triangle: The Dartmouth Overlook is located at the corner of SW 68th and Dartmouth, and is part of Tigard’s Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper projects initiative. Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper projects are inexpensive and impactful actions that improve walkability, connectivity and health in Tigard. This hillside overlook, on city right-of-way, captures the view over the Tigard Triangle and west to the Chehalem Mountains. The centerpiece of the overlook is a short paved trail and four basalt blocks quarried from Camas Washington that create a seating area for visitors. The space was created by Tigard’s Public Works Department with input from a team of city planners.
  • Haines/Atlanta Street Sidewalk Gap Improvement: The City of Tigard poured a new section of sidewalk at Haines/Atlanta Street, to fill a gap between 68th Ave and the I-5 bridge. This Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper project moves the city one step closer to achieving its goal of a more walkable, interconnected, and healthy community. Read about more projects on the city’s Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper Projects page.

News Articles

Contact Us

Susan P. Shanks
Senior Planner
SusanS@tigard-or.gov
503-718-2454 

 
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