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?