PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As the gateway to the rest of the Willamette Valley from the Portland metro area, Wilsonville is continuing to grow its family-friendly city with new housing and business development programs under a historic city council.
After the 2022 midterm election, Wilsonville now has its first all-female council with the addition of new councilmembers Katie Dunwell and Caroline Berry.
“We are delighted, first of all, to have completed the election cycle, and we do have five women on our council now, we’ve been lucky to have a great dynamic here in Wilsonville for several years,” Mayor Julie Fitzgerald said.
Now, Fitzgerald said, the council is prioritizing new housing developments.
“Wilsonville is pretty well known for building housing for families and we’re currently working on the masterplan for what we call Frog Pond East and South and that will ultimately welcome about 1,500 homes from small homes and town homes to larger homes all connected by trails,” Fitzgerald said.
The mayor also noted the city recently received a grant to build a park near the new housing to adjoin the Frog Pond West neighborhood.
“It is a place where there are lots of jobs and lots of houses…and we are well-known for our parks. So, when people do live here, they have a choice of great place to work and fun things to do, that’s why we say it’s a great place to live, work and play. And this year has been a really good year for our development of family-wage jobs.”
Fitzgerald additionally highlighted plans to attract more businesses to the city with the Wilsonville Investment Now incentive program, developed by the council in 2020.
“It’s an incentive program that gives businesses who are considering locating here incentives to develop programs that we find to be really aligned with our city goals,” Fitzgerald explained. “So, we want them to show some diversity, equity and inclusion standards…be environmentally-friendly and be willing to hire a certain number of higher-wage jobs.”
Fitzgerald said once a company qualifies for a number of those factors, they are eligible for a tax rebate for four to seven years — the first-of-its-kind program in the state.
While working to expand the city’s “business-friendly environment,” Fitzgerald pointed out Twist Bioscience is expanding in Wilsonville and projects it will build 600 jobs soon.
Looking to the future, Fitzgerald said the city is also working on its Transit-Oriented Development program to build housing near the terminus of the city’s commuter train.
The mayor said this project will develop around 100 homes and “allows us to balance our housing and be able to welcome people of all stages of life in Wilsonville, which has long been a premise of our city leadership.”