Orenco Station developer thinks bigger
ROBERT STEUTEVILLE    SEP. 1, 2003
Costa Pacific Communities, codeveloper of Orenco Station in Hillsboro, Oregon, plans to break ground by the end of September 2003 on the Villebois project, which includes a set of three pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods in the City of Wilsonville, south of Portland. At 520 acres — two and a half times the size of Orenco Station — Villebois is one of the largest planned developments ever undertaken in Oregon. The development is to include 2,390 single-family houses, condos, row houses, and apartments, accommodating 7,000 people by the time work is completed eight to 12 years from now. Costa Pacific project manager Mike Ragsdale says the project follows three basic principles: connectivity; diversity of housing types, people, and lifestyles; and sustainability. Current plans, which at this writing were awaiting a public hearing, call for the center of each neighborhood to have the most intense development, possibly including retail at street level with rental apartments or condominium units above. The centers would be served by shuttles to a proposed commuter rail line, which would link Wilsonville to Tualatin, Tigard, and Beaverton via a 14.7-mile train route. From the center, each neighborhood will fan out toward existing city streets. The company says it will use “green” development practices to manage rainwater, preserve trees, and protect natural areas. Drainage would be handled through a state-of-the-art network of “bioswales” along roadsides, which would catch storm runoff, hold it, and clean it before it is reabsorbed by the soil. Special plantings can help eliminate oil and other contaminants, according to Dan Hoyt, the city’s economic development director. The $500 million project would also include a trail system and habitat corridor connecting the Coffee Lake/Tonquin Basin to metropolitan open space and the Willamette River. Costa Pacific was selected to master plan Villebois after a nationwide search by state and city officials. The site is one of the largest planned areas within the Portland region’s urban growth boundary. The firm hired a team that included Iverson Associates and Fletcher Farr Ayotte — the designers that planned Orenco — and won approval from the Wilsonville City Council in August.