Wow! While the Hillsboro Hops free money train has been chugging down the tracks and grabbing non-stop headlines, the City Council and Staff have been busy little beavers. The economy has been slowing, but the plans to spend public dollars are accelerating at a blinding pace. Almost like someone is saying, “Look over here at this Baseball drama,” while the real sideshow is behind the curtain where no one is looking. Hmm….. that would not happen- not in a place like Hillsboro, Oregon, where transparency and equity are at the forefront of all we do. Gosh, silly me. What was I thinking?
- First up – A work session to allow Industrial Companies to increase the Noise levels they can make- Staff Approves! Oh Goody! To approve these increased Noise limits, our economic development/planning team compares us to Palo Alto and other Silicon Valley cities where people suffer daily from noise and financial woes! This is one of the things wrong with City Hall- California is in trouble, and comparing us to them or aspiring to be them is an insult to the people of Hillsboro and this Valley. Screw that- but go ahead. Why not?
- Item #2 tonight is the beginning of rules to tighten, regulate, and tax SHORT TERM RENTALS in Hillsboro– this packet is 117 pages and should be viewed by anyone with a short-term rental or wanting to get one. The Herald has covered before that there exist hundreds of Air BNB and other short-term rentals in Hillsboro, Oregon, but only five are licensed. We will review this proposal in a coming article.
- Other items of note:
- The City of Hillsboro is increasing its annual commitment to Lithtex Printing to almost $400,000 in printing contracts. Lithtex is owned/operated by Les Davis, who is on the Board of Directors of the Hillsboro Community Foundation. 😉
- Sequoia Gallery is getting an extension of its lease with the support of the City-
- The Chamber of Commerce is getting $120,000 to keep the visitors Center going
- The Chamber of Commerce is also getting $100,000 from the City for the Hillsboro Economic Development Partnership – Great!
All of that and more is a mere appetizer to the main events, which are:
- Ordinance 6461 – North Hillsboro Urban Renewal District – Expansion. OK, so here is just a quick note on this one. Tonight, the City Council will approve adding the Jackson-East (North) landowners who live West of Sewell Road at Meek Road to the existing Urban Renewal taxing district. What does this mean?
- The City will be able to issue bonds via Tax Increment Financing and other techniques to borrow $370,000,000 to spend on roads, sewers, land etc. This is the ultimate “If You Build It, They Will Come” scenario. Wow. And this money was money that the Council promised to use to buy the landowners that they rezoned out. But it appears from the budget disclosed that most of this money will go to roads and sewers. This is a real mess.
All of this money will provide the City of Hillsboro Economic Development team with the financial means to attract more of this. Fabs and Factories and Data Centers and warehouses for miles and miles as far as you can see. And it is all happening tonight!
City Council is all ready to put this in the books and make it happen! Oh, Joy, we all just can not wait!
Want to know more about this Ordinance 6461? I read all 85 pages 3 times – and it is sad. There is no way that the Council or anyone in City Hall really understand what they are doing. The people pushing this know what they want- this is not what the City of Hillsboro needs to do in such trying financial times. Not at all. Borrowing up to 1/3rd of a Billion dollars or more? Wow. Well here is the Ordinance-
Not enough for tonight? Well, never fear! The Hillsboro Hops stadium deal, that $160 Million dollar mess? Yah, it is back for a work session after City Council meets tonight. And we are speculating that we will see the City start to shift its ideas and messaging. I am only guessing but let’s guess what they might discuss!
- Will they start discussing the Hops and the City sharing the new stadium? So far, the City has been providing the land and money to let the Hops build a new stadium and have exclusive use of it.
- Will the City discuss adding more money to the pot? We are already giving the Hops $18 to $20 Million in Hotel/Motel Tax money. The Hops need $20 Million to $40 Million more. So let’s see what shell game is hatched to find them more money!
- Will the Council and staff discuss having Washington County provide Hotel/Motel Taxes in the name of Regional benefit? Hmm.. Maybe so.
- Will the City even admit or discuss that the Hillsboro Parks & Recreation Commission demanded that the Hops pay for three lost fields? That is going to cost 30 Million dollars, in my estimation. So now the Hops are short $50 Million. Not $20 Million!! Now what?
- Or will someone on the Council finally ask the right question: Shouldn’t we reconsider remodeling the Ron Tonkin Field and not tear our kids and adults’ recreational fields apart? The facts are that there was one feeble 2-page bid to renovate the stadium by the contractor the city gave exclusive rights to bid. A contractor that was accused of Fraud (settled out of court of Millions) in Colorado in 2020 for bid fixing on a Colorado Convention project. I hope they look at slowing down and reconsidering.
One thing is for sure. There is almost 1/2 a Billion dollars on the table tonight in Hillsboro, Oregon. The question is do any of you care or will any of you be there or participating on Zoom? I surely hope so.
Attend at City Hall of Log in and Watch by Zoom!
City Council Regular Session – 7pm – Civic Center Auditorium/Zoom Teleconference
Phone: 1-253-215-8782 or 1-301-715-8592
Meeting ID: 851 4863 9488
Hillsboro Hops Ball Park Project Work Session to Follow