Tigard’s Commitment to Local Job Creation
One of the challenges of a growing city is finding ways to help people live closer to where they work. Despite lacking adequate resources, the City of Tigard has been finding creative ways to fund projects designed to attract industry and private investment to the area and, thus, create more local living-wage jobs.
“Tigard has a thriving business community that employs more than 42,000 people, but only 14 percent of our residents live and work here.” says Kenny Asher, the city’s Director of Community Development. “People always tell us that traffic is a problem, so we’re doing what we can to help create a place where people can work closer to their homes.”
One example is the Hunziker Core Infrastructure Project in an area known as the Hunziker Core, a 138-acre industrial zone located ¾ mile from I-5 and adjacent to Highway 217.
“The Hunziker Core is Tigard’s last undeveloped area of land zoned for industrial development,” explains project manager Dylan Dekay-Bemis. “We’ve applied for and received both regional and federal grants to complete Wall Street, which will connect Hunziker Street to 72nd Avenue and act as a main service connection for more than 300 freight-dependent businesses near HWY 217 and I-5.”
Phase one of the project will make improvements to Wall Street between Hunziker Street and the railroad. The anticipated completion of this phase later this year is already attracting attention. Private investment in the area has begun with the planning of three new business facilities anticipated to create 150-300 new jobs, and the development of housing near the site. Phase two of the project will continue the Wall Street connection to Tech Center Drive. This phase is slated to be built in in 2019.
The improved Wall Street connection should also help ease traffic for commuters by moving commercial vehicles off of overloaded streets.
Development and job creation of this size would not be possible without city investment, hard-won grant funding and infrastructure improvements needed to stimulate private sector interest. Additional funding could support job creation, help unlock Tigard’s untapped economic potential and introduce a new property tax base in the process. Without these investments, Tigard’s growing economy may stall.