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Volume 7, Issue 9


September 2009

What now for the Murray-Cornell corner?

Now that the roadwork is nearly done, many people are wondering what will become of the property at the southeast corner of the Murray-Cornell intersection.

The property was purchased by Washington County as part of the preparation for the roadwork. The purchase price of $3.04 million included the value of the land and buildings. The county must value the property from a “no impact” status—that means that they must pay for the property as if the road project was not happening. They also purchased the land and building of the Humdinger hamburger stand, since it would have been seriously impacted by the road widening.

According to Rod Bliss, Right-of-Way (ROW) Supervisor for Washington County Land Use and Transportation (LUT) and Teresa Wilson, Property Manager for Washington County Facilities, any “surplus property” valued over $15,000 is disposed of by a public auction or a sealed bid process.

It will probably be well into 2010 before the property is actually available. The previous owner has to complete some chemical remediation from the dry cleaning business that occupied part of the property for many years. Once the county is assured that there will be no further action from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) the property will be appraised by an outside firm. Assessment and Taxation will provide input and finally LUT’s ROW Section will make the final valuation.

The main property started at about one acre, but a large chunk was used for the right-turn lane from Murray onto Cornell and for sidewalks and other easements, and it’s now just under two-thirds of an acre. In addition, all access points (driveways) were removed from both Murray and Cornell and the only planned access into the lot will be on Joy Street. This was done to assure a smooth and safe flow of traffic. So the property is not likely to sell for the amount that was paid for it.

The county can combine the two parcels, or sell them separately, depending on what will return the greatest value to the County.

Wilson says she has had several inquiries from developers and local business owners since the first announcement that the county would be acquiring the property. Whether the current economic climate will affect the eagerness of these buyers remains to be seen.

Currently the Town Center ordinance calls for the property to be developed as sidewalk-level commercial with office or living space on the second floor. This type of “mixed-use” development can already be seen in the newer buildings that have recently been developed along Cornell.

Before the property goes to auction, it is offered to all local jurisdictions, including service districts. One idea that has surfaced is to make the corner into a village square for the community. This would involve an agency, most likely Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District, acquiring the property and developing it. It’s not clear if this would even be a suitable use for this busy intersection, but its been attracting some interest. How it could be paid for and how it might be used are among the big questions that need answers before action is taken.




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Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291