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Construction groups such as the Southwest Washington Contractors Association are calling out Clark County for their dwindling supply of aggregate, used for road maintenance, industrial construction, residential construction, and the manufacturing of concrete, asphalt, and other products. With 955 permitted mines in 2010, you would think that there would be plenty of rock to go around, but, according to the contractors, this is not the case.

A reserve study conducted on Clark County shows that there is only 7 years of reserves, while the demand for aggregate continues to grow. Of the 25 “active” Clark County mines, only 12 are active with permitted reserves, and only 9 are producing aggregate material for construction, to be used on projects such as houses, hospitals, roads, bridges, etc. The reserve study also showed that 99% of permitted reserves are sourced from only 6 mines.

“Clark county is behind on assuring a sufficient two decade local supply of aggregate rock, which is a condition of the Growth Management Act,” said Ron Arp, President of Identity Clark County,” We’ll need to access everything that is accessible today and pursue additional capacity soon to meet our forecast needs for construction and infrastructure.”

With 93% if all national aggregate being transported via truck, Clark County may soon have to venture hours or more away in order to get the supplies they need. If it were to come to this, consumers could see higher costs, potentially even double the cost of their original bid, something that some contractors are already seeing locally.

How do you think Clark County will or should address the depleting aggregate supply?

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Moving forward! On June 20, 2019, House Bill 2001 passed in the Oregon House after it was read for a third time and carried by Speaker Kotek. From the House, the Bill will continue to the Senate floor for review. What could this mean for Oregon housing?

If you are unfamiliar with House Bill 2001, here are a few things to know. If the bill passes, it will allow duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, and “cottage clusters” to be constructed on land originally set aside for single family homes in cities with 25,000 or more residents. Some smaller cities in the Metro Area, those with at least 10,000 residents will also be required to allow duplexes on dedicated single-family zoned land.

The Bill’s supporters claim that it “is not about building affordable housing, but rather expanding the supply of homes, particularly in some cites’ most centralized and desirable neighborhoods.” They also make the argument that this would help retain newcomers and keep people in their communities as opposed to them being pushed out by rising housing costs.

Those opposed are nervous about potential existing home demolitions as well as the crowding in neighborhoods that this Bill could create. They don’t believe that this will help reduce housing costs, claiming that this will not guarantee that the infilled homes would be affordable, as there are no mandates that would regulate keeping them at affordable rents or prices.

Should House Bill 2001 be fully passed, most of the provisions would not be enacted until 2020, which would give cities time to rethink their zoning codes.

Do you believe that House Bill 2001 is a viable solution for affordable housing? What effects do you believe this will have on neighborhoods in the Portland Metro Area?

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Recognizing “communities that leverage civic engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness, and innovation to successfully address local issues,” the National Civic League has been awarding U.S. Cities with their All-America City Award for years. This year, the City of Cornelius becomes the tenth city in Oregon (and the first in the last 2 years since Lane County was given the award in 2017) to receive this honor.

Focused on creating a healthy and welcoming community, Cornelius received praise for its response to its changing demographics and striving to bring its citizens together. One example of this is the city’s downtown redevelopment program, which saw a new library and learning center built, as well as reform brought to the police department and a plan to maximize the city’s economic growth.

Other ways that Cornelius has fought to become a city of inclusiveness is by creating more events and opportunities for residents to come together, such as at the community Thanksgiving dinner, the Holiday tree lighting, Spanish speaking town halls, a Veteran’s Day event, Cornelius clean up day, and flicks and concerts in the Park.

Prior cities in Oregon that have received the All-America City award include: Albany (1984,1985), Cottage Grove (1968,2004), Eugene (1969), Grants Pass (1986), Independence (2014), Lane County (2017), Milton-Freewater (1961), Portland (1980), and Salem (1960,1983).

If you were nominating a city for this award for 2020, what city would you nominate and why?

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Independence Day is a week away! Here are some popular places to celebrate like it’s 1776!

Foot Traffic Flat: Do you enjoy running long to moderate distances way early in the morning? This activity may be for you! On Sauvie Island, the marathon begins at 6:30 AM, with a half marathon, 10K, 5K, and race for kids following subsequently. Strawberries, running, and more! Pricing between $15-95.  Click Here to register!

King City 4th of July Walk and Roll Parade and Festival: This family friendly mile long parade begins at 9AM, as does a classic car rally. The Festival , which includes food trucks, live music, activities for the family, and vendors runs from 10AM-2PM at King City Community Park (17470 SW Montague Way).

The Heroes’ Challenge: This challenge also involves running early in the morning! Starting and finishing at Pendleton Woolen Mills in Washougal, you can choose to run a 10K (9:15AM), a 5K (9:30AM), or a children’s 1K (9:45AM). Pricing begins at $50. Click HERE to register or get more information!

Hillsboro Rotary Club 4th of July Parade: The largest 4th of July Parade in Oregon, the 2019 theme is “Celebrating Independence Day the Hillsboro Way!” Beginning at 10AM, the parade begins on Grant Street by the old Peter Boscow Elementary School, weaves through downtown Hillsboro, down Cornell, and ends at Harefield. Our NextHome Orenco agents will have a float and be marching in this parade, so make sure to say hi!

Beaverton 4th of July Celebration and Concert in the Park: Runs 11AM-2PM. There will be free hot dogs, ice cream, and live music! Picnicing encouraged! Celebration takes place at Veterans Memorial Park, located between Southwest Washington Avenue and Seventh Street.

Seaside 4th of July Old Fashioned Social: Runs 11AM-3PM. Prior to the fireworks over the beach at 10PM, enjoy music, museum tours, a cake walk, games, face painting, food, a silent auction, and more! It’s at the coast, I mean, how much more than that do you need??

Smith Berry Barn Berry Festival: Event runs 11AM-3PM. Located at 24500 SW Scholl’s Ferry Rd. in Hillsboro. The 16th Annual festival features live music, fresh berries, activities for the family and more! You can pick berries, take a tour of the farm, enjoy a variety of food and wine, etc.

Heartbeat Silent Disco “Independance” 4th of July: Dance the night away from 7-10PM at Tilikum Crossing! Apparently headphones are involved? Tickets are $1o through Eventbrite.

Fireworks at the Oregon Garden (On July 3rd): Want to avoid those 4th of July crowds? Head to Silverton, where you can see fireworks and celebrate Silverton Day. There will be food vendors, live music, and more! Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $9 for students, $6 for ages 5-11, and free for 4 and under as well as Silverton residents or Oregon Garden members (w/identification). Parking is $5. 879 W. Main St. is location.

Oaks Amusement Park:  Spend the 4th of July riding all the rides, mini-golfing, and roller skating before the fireworks taking place at dusk.

Waterfront Blues Festival: If you haven’t had the chance to attend the Waterfront Blues Festival in years past, this is the year! A fun festival full of talented musicians, vendors, and food, you can lounge the day away listening to all the songs and stay for the enormous fireworks display taking place at 10PM over the Willamette River. Pricing depends on what type of pass you purchase, so check out their website for more information!

Canby has fireworks and pancakes!  You had me at pancakes! Kick off the 4th with a pancake breakfast that runs from 7-11:30AM, and check out the street fair, activities, parade, and car show! The beer garden is open from 11AM-5PM, and fireworks begin at dusk.

Corbett Fun Fest: Similarly to Canby, Corbett’s Fun Fest kicks off with a pancake breakfast at 7AM before their parade. Vendors open at 11AM and live music begins at 1PM. There will be games, a queen’s court, contests, food, and more! Fireworks begin at 9:30PM. Admission is $10 and there is a $5 parking fee. Kids 3 and under are free. Fun Fest takes place at the Corbett Grade School, located at 35800 E. Historic Columbia River Highway.

Forest Grove: Forest Grove is celebrating the fourth of July with a family picnic that runs from 6PM-10PM, featuring food vendors and live music. Fireworks begin at 9:45PM. There is a suggested $5 per person or $20 per family donation. The celebration will be held at Tom McCall Upper Elementary School, located at 1255 SW Pacific Avenue.

Happy Valley:  Kicking off at 9:30 AM with a hike (dog and stroller friendly), the celebration in Happy Valley continues with a parade beginning at noon. Following the parade there will be live music, carnival games, food vendors, a beer garden, and a fireworks show at dusk. Event is taking place at Happy Valley Park, located at 13770 SE Ridgecrest Road.

Hillsboro Hops: If you are heading to see the Hops take on Spokane at 7:05PM, don’t worry! There will still be a fireworks extravaganza that will take place after the game, as well as fireworks after Friday’s game! Games are held at Ron Tonkin Field, and tickets vary in price.

Lake Oswego:  The Star Spangled Parade begins at 10AM, with a following celebration running until 1PM. Enjoy  live music, a pie eating contest, and face painting. In the evening there will be an illuminated soaring drone show starting at 9:45PM. Event takes place at Millennium Park, 200 First Street.

McMinnville:  Head on over to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum’s celebration, that features food, vendors, activities for the family, free movie passes, and a beer/cider/wine garden. Free admission, and fireworks will begin at dusk. There is a $5 museum admission from 5-8PM and a $5 parking fee. 500 NE Captain Michael King Smith Way.

Ridgefield: Running from 5-10:30PM, Clark County’s 4th at the Fairgrounds will feature a battle of the bands, beer garden, food vendors, and activities for kids. Fireworks will begin at 10PM. Free admission, but $6 parking fee per vehicle. 17402 NE Delfel Road.

Salem: Salem’s biggest fireworks display takes place just after dusk. Admission and live music is free! Located at the Salem Riverfront Park, 200 Water ST. NE.

ST. Helens: In St. Helens come enjoy tailgating, walking and museum tours, live music, food, and drinks before fireworks begin at 10PM over the Columbia River. Carload Pass for 4 is $20, for 6 is $25, entry per person with no car is $4. Columbia View Park, 3 Strand St, gates open 11AM-11PM.

Vancouver: Taking place at the Pearson Airfield at Fort Vancouver, this has been one of the must see fireworks display for years! Enjoy food vendors and free admission for the 10:05PM show. You will want to arrive really, really, really early in order to get parking and seating. 101 E. Reserve St.

Washougal:  Come to the Port of Camas-Washougal on the 4th for live music, (6-10PM), food carts, a beer garden, and a 10PM fireworks display! 56 S. First Street (Washougal Waterfront Park).

Whatever you choose to do for the 4th, may you stay safe and enjoy the festivities!!

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For fifteen years the Fairgate Inn in Camas served not only as a  bed and breakfast, but a beautiful wedding venue for couples looking to tie the knot. During this period, Jennifer Coriell watched as her parents, Jack and Christine Foyt, built businesses that drew customers to the gorgeous landmark estate on the hill, all the while envisioning what she would do with the property if given the chance.

In 2014, Fairgate was remodeled, and Jennifer was granted permission to make her vision for the estate a reality; creating an assisted living center for seniors who needed additional care.

Today, Corriel, who serves as the administrator and the manager of Fairgate Estates, and her parents, who still own Fairgate Estate, are planning an expansion that will add an additional five suites to an area on the estate that was previously used as a reception hall. With a tenured staff, including some who have been at Fairgate for three years or more, a staff registered nurse, and Certified nursing assistants trained in diabetes and dementia, the Foyts and Corriel have succeeded in creating a space for seniors that provides personalized care, relationships, and quick response to any health care needs.

What other landmark homes have you seen that have been turned into something that benefits the community around them?

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On June 7, 2019 the Natural Play Area, part of the Washougal Waterfront Park and Trail, will have a grand opening at 3:30PM. The play area will be ADA accessible, feature a 6 foot hill slide, a 9 foot tall Sasquatch named “Eegah” who serves as interactive art, a log scramble, xylophone area, and more!

The grand opening of the Natural Play Area is the latest completion of the Port of Camas-Washougal’s development of the 13.25 acres it acquired from Killian Pacific, a former lumber mill for over 50 years. The play area has been under development for the majority of this past year, and prior to that the Waterfront Park and Trail area itself was completed in 2016 thanks in part to a $1.7 million grant from the Recreation and Conservation office.

The goal of the Port of Camas-Washougal’s Waterfront development is to add centralized community and diversity to the waterfront by developing multi-use areas for shopping, dining, errands, family fun, and inter-generational entertainment that is next to residences.

While the Waterfront development is a primary focus, the Port of Camas-Washougal has also put a focus on its industrial park, which constructed its final building in 2018. The Industrial Park covers 300 acres and houses more than 40 businesses. Out of the $6.2 million the building is worth, the Port was able to develop the building for only $1.1 million out of pocket thanks to several grants and a low interest loan program.

The Waterfront Project is no where near completion. Development is expected to be at least an additional 24 months, with the next step in the project being the beginning of the negotiation agreement between the Port and the developer. EKM Development from Portland has been chosen as the developer for the Waterfront Project.

Have you been over to see the latest in the Waterfront Development? What are you most excited for?

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If you have ever wondered whether your voice is heard in city matters, the answer is yes. Granted, I can not claim this is true for all cities, but when it comes to the City of Wilsonville, I can say that in regards to the plans to revamp the Wilsonville Town Center in Villebois the answer is yes. It’s a bold claim, but hear me out:

For over 10 years the Wilsonville Town Center has had areas in which it could be improved, including bringing in more businesses and building vertically to include residential units over the commercial areas. In order to achieve this, the City has been looking into a tax abatement program that would make this project a feasible one, and attractive to developers.

In fact, the project had already garnered the interest of one developer, Capstone Partners, who had expressed interest in the project, contingent upon the tax abatement application being approved. Then something happened that no one expected. A fire in March wiped out a condominium complex along with damaging other nearby homes and vehicles.

The Villebois fire left many community members shaken, and it started to bring concern about the Town Center Project to the forefront, including the added congestion the project would bring in parking, density, and a perceived increase in crime, which some felt had already occurred. As community voices rose, Capstone Partners withdrew, deciding that this was not a feasible project or that it was a battle they were not inclined to fight.

To the City of Wilsonville’s credit, they didn’t plow ahead unconcerned. Could they still apply for the tax abatement and then pursue a different developer? Absolutely. Instead, they have put the project on hold. The City did not want to be insensitive by continuing plans for development so soon after a fire that devastated many households. They also recognized the value of their community, and have begun to initiate community conversations to gain input on the project.

Do you agree with the City of Wilsonville’s decision to put the Wilsonville Town Center project on hold? What experience do you have in expressing your voice in your community, and what results have you seen?

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Navigating around the Portland Metro area has become a choreographed dance between construction sites. In some cases it is the streets being adjusted to accommodate repairs or utility lines, while in others it is new buildings being constructed, both commercial and residential. The good news? Portland’s construction industry is healthy, and continues to see gains as the years progress.

In fact, the Portland Metro Area construction industry saw a record high employment rate in 2018, increasing 7.4% over the 2017 employment rate. This feeds into a growth of 17.24% over the last decade, and this isn’t the end. Construction jobs in Oregon have been projected to grow another 9% over the next decade as well.

What could potentially throw a wrench in this growth? Well, according to a survey of commercial contractors on The List, they most worry about the recruiting and retaining of skilled labor. This response, by far, was the highest area of concern at 30% with the finding and retaining of subcontractors coming in second at 19.2%. Surprisingly, economic downturn was not high on this list, with only 4.2% believing it to be the most important issue facing the construction industry.

Despite these concerns, employment continues to rise in the industry, as well as wages.  Annual wages for the average Portland Metro Area Construction worker rose 4.4% this last year, the third year in a row it has risen. Though a slow climb, wages have increased over the last ten years by 31.7. With steady numbers, it is safe to say that we will continue to see more opportunities for construction workers in the Portland Metro Area.

Out of all the construction you see as you make your daily drive, which is the most noteworthy? The addition of more multi-unit/multi-family housing options, or commercial additions? What kind of construction do you wish there was more or less of?

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Safewise recently released their fifth-annual report that addressed where Oregon is at in safety compared to the nation, as well as listed out the top 20 safest cities in Oregon.

Nationally, Oregon is below average in property and violent crime incidents, having 1.43 violent crime incidents per 1,000 people, and 15.89 property crime incidents per 1,000 people. In comparison, nationally the violent crime rate is at 4.49 incidents per 1,000 people, and property crime per 1,000 is at 27.11. Oregon comes in at three points below the national rate in violent crimes and almost half the amount of property crime incidents.

Funnily enough, when asked, most citizens identified digital security as an area of high concern, versus property or violent crime.

Here are the Top 20 Safest Cities In Oregon for 2019:

  1. Lake Oswego
  2. Sherwood
  3. Monmouth
  4. Corvallis
  5. McMinnville
  6. Tualatin
  7. Milwaukie
  8. Canby
  9. Bend
  10. Beaverton
  11. Silverton
  12. Ashland
  13. Tigard
  14. Keizer
  15. Roseburg
  16. Hillsboro
  17. Forest Grove
  18. Central Point
  19. Lebanon
  20. Grants Pass

Any surprises? Any cities missing that you believed would be on there? For the numerical data and other interesting fact’s from Safewise’s report, click HERE!

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The door bell rang. Curious, I peeked my head out to see who could be there. The walkway was empty, but the door mat held a basket of flowers with a short note that read, “Happy May Day!”

As a child, this was a wondrous thing to see. I always felt grateful and honored that someone would think of our family when gifting their May Day flowers. As I grew, it became fun to design baskets and gift friends and neighbors with flowers and May Day treats.

Somewhere along the line, our May Day festivities faded away, and the celebration of Spring was something that arrived without note. Today, May Day is celebrated in 66 countries around the world, yet is hardly recognized where it originated (or at least used to be highly recognized), the United States.

One event in many celebrations, the May Pole, can be traced back to medieval times, though its exact origins are unknown. Winding the colorful ribbons around the May Pole was thought by historians to be a part of a fertility ritual, where the pole symbolized Male fertility, while baskets and wreaths were symbolic of female fertility. The May Pole was something that never caught on well in the US, partially due to Puritan discouragement.

The Celts recognize May Day as Beltane, thought to be one of the most important days of the year, as it divides the year in half, between the light and the dark. Great fires would be built at the festival in celebration of the return of life and fertility.

In the US in the 19th and 20th centuries, May Day was celebrated as it was in my childhood, with baskets containing flowers or treats hung or placed on/by the doors of friends and neighbors.

To some, May Day is primarily known as being International Workers Day, which came about during the Industrial Revolution, a way to call for better labor laws, as many had been dying from harsh labor conditions and long work days. Isn’t this part of why we celebrate Labor Day you may wonder? May 1st used to be Labor Day, until the Haymarket Riot cast a pall on it. The Haymarket Riot occurred in 1886 during a Labor Protest, where someone threw a bomb into the middle of the advancing police ranks. Both officers and civilians died in the chaos that day. Subsequent Presidents sought to separate Labor Day from International Workers Day and the Haymarket Riot, eventually moving Labor Day to be in September.

Do you celebrate May Day? When was the last time you gifted or received a May Day basket? How do you celebrate Spring’s arrival?

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