To say 2022 was a wild year in Hillsboro, Oregon, would be an understatement. Just as we as a collective population were starting to make a comeback from 2 years of COVID-19 impacts, the January 2nd fires hit the town. The Weil’s Department store caught on fire in the wee hours of January 2nd, 2022, and burned to the ground damaging neighboring buildings and crippling our downtown core. Main Street will never be the same. Hours before that, an apartment project caught fire a few blocks to the East, displacing families and putting them out of their homes. The Weils building was an arson fire set by Roel Leon, and 40-year-old Ronnie Knapp was burned to death in the carnage. Our offices were across the street, and we had a direct blow to our businesses. The weeks ahead had us and a few other buildings fenced in and cut off from access to Main Street. Months later, the city and downtown Hillsboro were still reeling from the damages. By late Summer, things began to improve, but it will take years for a full recovery to happen.
The economy started to falter in the US, and Hillsboro, Oregon, despite some serious economic riches, was not immune. All and all, the year ended with some highs and some lows. Many will remember the resurgence of the Hillsboro Farmers Markets, Tuesday Night Marketplace, and the First Tuesday Art Walks, all of which had massive attendance. The LaStrada Chalk Art Festival was a huge hit in its first year in Hillsboro and will be back in the Summer of 2023. Halloween and Hillsboro Holly Days also gave citizens a chance to get out and shake off the rust.
We will remember this as a year of challenges, change, and triumphs too. While all of that was happening outside the Hillsboro City Hall, a lot was happening inside. So the Herald took it up the challenge to review hundreds of documents and review the 23 City Council meetings to see what was presented and what was approved. This will take a few days to complete, but we wanted to share this with you as 2022 ends.
This is NOT a complete list of the actions taken by our Hillsboro City Council, but a few of the highlights we wanted to bring forward to all of you. This will give you some good highlights of what was happening in Hillsboro in 2022 and the decisions made that will impact us for decades to come. This is a big job by the City Council and staff, and these decisions have a tremendous effect on all of us. Have a look at some of the most important actions taken.
The 2022 Year In Review
Hillsboro, Oregon City Council – Colored texts are links to specific documents to expand on each item.
- Jan 4th- Resolution 29-22 In a Closed meeting, the Hillsboro EC Dev Council (City Council) approved giving $720,000-$1,000,000 to Stonefly Investors to help them redevelop the US Bank into restaurants. This money will not be repaid.
- The City Council is provided a report and requests to alter the typical competitive bid process and allow a Design Build Bid process which will require an exemption to State and City Code- this is for the Ron Tonkin Field (Baseball Stadium) to be upgraded to the tune of $40,000,000 to $100,000,000 – City Council approved this alteration to our normal processes.
- The City Council reviewed and approved how it will allocate the $18,000,000 in ARPA (American Recovery Plan Act) money it received through 2024. See that allocation here – This includes spending money for murals, high-speed internet near Shute Park, and garbage cleanup, just to name a few items. See where the money was allocated by clicking above!
- The Transportation Systems Plan was updated and presented to the Council by Don Odermott – this update revealed where our traffic is at, how many trips we have, where major changes are coming and what we can all expect. This was a major piece of work. Very eye-opening- have a look here! Almost $1 Billion in planned improvements are planned in the near future!
- Proclamation of Black History Month in Hillsboro –
- Resolution 2761 was approved to ask voters for approval of a Local Option Levy to charge $1.72 cents per $1,000 in property value to help fund police, fire, parks, etc.
- Resolution 2763 outlines the goals and objectives of the City, including a statement to continue to support those affected by the January 2022 Fires. What support was given to those remains a bit of a question.
- Council approves Resolution 2764, the construction of affordable housing at 53rd Avenue, known as Nueva Esperanza. This is 155 affordable housing units. The City participated by giving the land and about $18.5 Million in METRO funding to Bienestar and Housing Development Center. The project is well underway at this date.
- Witch Hazel Village South plan is presented and brought forward for approval by the planning staff. This outlines major growth for the area along River Road, South of the City of Hillsboro. Have a look at the planning work here- 195 pages.
- Proclamation – Women’s History Month
- Proclamation – Support of Ukraine
- Approval of a $720,000 design contract for Kittleson and Associates to design a new $5.5 Million dollar Shute Road Improvement that is being paid for by INTEL. This is an upgraded bike and walking paths and crossings from Cornell Road to Brookwood.
- A contract to Robinson Brothers was presented for $6 Million dollars (apx) to expand high-speed internet near Shute Park.
- The Hillsboro Police Department, the largest department in the City with nearly 200 employees, presented new positions within the organization with salaries as high as $140,000 per year.
- Resolution 2767 was presented to waive property taxes for housing owned by Non-Profit groups that are providing affordable housing.
The Herald will report on Quarter 2 in a couple of days after the research in complete and will have the entire year reviewed by the first of 2023. This is a great way to get educated and get involved with your City. Educate yourself and engage with the process. There is a lot you can do to make Hillsboro an even better place to live! We support all of you.