Grandparents and Parents—Listen UP!

It’s another Hillsboro rip-off.

Hillsboro likes to call itself the “economic engine of Oregon.” But what they want now is to use $131,000,000—yes that’s $131 million—of k-12 funding to pay for roads, sewers and the like, infrastructure that will end up being cheap for corporations’ use and raise land values for farmers selling to developers.

The infrastructure will be built across “blighted” farmland to get it ready to be the new North Hillsboro Industrial District that lies south of Sunset Highway, north of Evergreen and on both sides of Brookwood Parkway extending to Sewell on the west.

farmland

Gas tax dollars from all of us have just paid for massive increases for the freeway interchange to serve Hillsboro and we’re all now widening Brookwood Parkway to 6 lanes, to expand capacity to serve the area. But for voracious Hillsboro—all that’s not enough.

Hillsboro wants to call 1090 acres of prime industrial land “blighted” and create an Urban Renewal District. Doing so means all growth on property taxes for the next 25+ years will be diverted from schools, PCC, the county, Metro and the Port—to Hillsboro.

report

The Renewal Area Report anticipates needing $280 million pay for internal streets, wetland protections, sewers, electric and water service, and interest.1 These are all expenses that land owners or developers usually cover, not the public.

Half of that $280 million will come from k-12 ($131 m) and Portland Community College ($9 m). Does this sound like “the economic engine of Oregon” or a bank robber?

Ok, now the worst part. Only a small portion of the $131 million in k-12 funding will come from Hillsboro’s own schools. The way it works is this: the Hillsboro City Council and Washington County Commissioners and the Hillsboro School board decide to divert the k-12 money, but it ends up coming out of schools state-wide.

What does $131 million mean in state school funding? Well, if it were divided evenly between the state’s 1200 schools, each would get $110,000. That’s a lot of copying paper!

Wherever they live in Oregon, your kids and grandkids will be hurt.

We gathered nearly 300 signatures, many with heartfelt compelling comments, to tell the Washington County Commissioners and the Hillsboro City Councilors what we think of diverting money for schools to sewers and streets.

A dozen of us showed up and spoke on Oct 20th at the Washington County Commission hearing and again on Nov 17th another dozen testified before the Hillsboro City Council.  We’ve shared with them the opinions of parents and grandparents from across the state, as well as making detailed comments. The Hillsboro City Council’s decision is expected on December 3rd.

 

1 See particularly pg. 3 for a map, pg. 18 for estimated project costs, the remaining $83m will be spent on debt service, and pg 24 for the foregone revenue to districts over 25 years.