Light Rail Project Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Program
This is a case study
for 1992-1998 of the Transit Oriented Development Program associated
with the Westside MAX Light Rail Project in the state of Oregon
USA. Program participants included Tri-Met, Metro, Oregon DOT,
Washington County, and the cities of Beaverton, Hillsboro and
Meta-Goals -- Local, regional, state and federal
policy direction was to use pedestrian and transit oriented
real estate development as a tool to manage growth, reduce air
pollution and vehicle miles traveled, and obtain maximum return
on the public investment in light rail.
Regional Context -- Metro adopted 2040 regional
growth management plans in 1994 and adopted an implementing
ordinance in 1996 which established recommended densities around
transit stations. Cities and counties implemented the
state transportation planning rule (TPR). Tri-Met adopted
a strategic plan including a land use goal. Regional voters
approved funds to acquire green spaces. In 1994-97, about
$14 billion was invested in high technology industries in the
bi-state, four county metro area, creating thousands of new
jobs. Westside MAX light rail goes through the "Silicon
Forest" in Washington County.
Light Rail -- Tri-Met initiated east side
light rail service between Portland and Gresham in 1986. Westside
service between Hillsboro, Beaverton and Portland began in September
1998. The Westside Project is eighteen miles long, has
twenty stations, nine park & ride lots and three transit centers.
The final route selected for the west side included five station
areas with large tracts of vacant land which was intentional
not accidental (over 1,100 vacant acres!). The $964 million
budget included a modest level of funding for station area design
and development but no funds for land use planning.
Evaluation of 1980's Eastside Light Rail Planning
-- In 1993, Tri-Met and the City of Portland hired a consulting
team to evaluate the east side transit station area planning
program (TSAP) conducted in the early 1980s. The study
included both quantitative and qualitative evaluations.
Conclusions of this study were taken into account when setting
up west side station area design, planning and development efforts:
- Be clear about goals;
- Promote transit-oriented development
as part of a broader investment strategy;
- Rezone transit station areas for higher
- To promote transit-oriented development,
offer deal-making assistance;
- Target public agency efforts at the transit
stations which offer the greatest potential;
- Involve elected officials and citizens,
across jurisdictional boundaries, to gain their leadership
- Consider developers' perspective in program
design and implementation;
- Think long-term; and
- Establish a system to monitor progress.
Another important conclusion
was that property values around the stations increased more
than comparative values in Multnomah County inside the urban
Westside Station Area Planning Program (WSAP)
-- The purpose of WSAP was update of city and county comprehensive
plans, development regulations and capital improvement programs
for transit-oriented development (TOD) in light rail station
areas. Metro, Tri-Met, ODOT, Washington County, and the
Cities of Beaverton, Hillsboro, and Portland created an intergovernmental
management committee that approved goals, work programs, schedules,
and budgets. A unique aspect of the effort was agreement
on a common approach and objectives. The committee met
at least once a month for the duration of the program to share
information, discuss proposed plans and regulations, and critique
WSAP Funding -- Metro is a regional planning
agency (MPO), Tri-Met is a regional transit agency, and ODOT
is a state transportation agency. None of them are development
agencies or adopt land use plans or development regulations
but each has a significant interest and review role in land
use decisions. For different but complementary reasons,
all benefit from TOD. These three agencies provided over
$2 million for WSAP. Additional funding for projects related
to WSAP was provided through state transportation and growth
management grants, technical assistance grants, local government
funds, and other sources including property owners and/or developers.
The grand total spent on WSAP and transit-oriented development
master planning by the public sector exceeds $4.0 million not
including infrastructure expenditures. Most of the WSAP
and related funds were provided to and spent by four local governments.
Federal Transit Agency (FTA) funds could not be used for station
Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) -- There
are many definitions of TOD. The following definition
is from Tri-Met's 1997 model TOD property tax abatement ordinance:
"Multiple-unit housing and mixed use projects that support the
public investment in light rail and fixed route transit (bus)
service because they preserve, enhance, or contribute to creating
active pedestrian districts within walking distance of transit.
TODs increase the density of people near transit, including
residents, employees, visitors, and customers in a built environment
that is pedestrian friendly and connected to transit.
Mixed-use buildings, projects, or areas with a mix of uses are
active from early in the morning to late in the evening, making
the environment safer for pedestrians and providing peak and
off-peak customers for transit service. A TOD may be a
single building, a group of buildings, or a multiple block district."
Transferability -- Lessons learned from the
east side or west side light rail station area design, planning
and development programs may not apply to other projects.
There was only one large, vacant tract of land on the east side
(the Winmar site in Gresham); there were five such sites on
the west side in three jurisdictions. Most of the $1.3
billion of development on the east side in the last ten years
was in the downtown and Lloyd District station areas.
The 7,000 dwellings being built around west side stations are
located outside of downtown areas. Development of large,
vacant parcels is much easier and less costly than infill and
Two Views, 1992 & 1998 -- In 1992, Tri-Met
thought it could use $1.0 million of Westside Project funds
for station area planning. FTA said "construction" funds
could not be used for "planning". Funding was sought from
and made available by Metro and ODOT with the local match provided
by Tri-Met general funds. It took about six months for
the three funding agencies and the four local jurisdictions
to reach agreement on the work program.
One of the first joint efforts was preparation
of model interim station area development regulations.
Tri-Met was an advocate for public/private master planning of
large, vacant sites; Tri-Met's goal was 8,000 new dwelling units
within walking distance of Westside Project stations by opening
day. Based on the evaluation of east side planning, the
west side participants agreed that involvement of the development
community should be sought and that implementation activities
could occur concurrently with planning.
Looking back from 1998, Westside station area
design, planning and development was worth the time, effort
and cost. Metro's 2040 regional planning slowed down the
WSAP but improved the products. The decision to work with
the development community and advocate for TOD worked better
than anyone ever imagined.
Westside Station Area
Development - About 7,000 dwellings and more than $505 million
of residential and non-residential development have been built,
permitted or proposed since 1990 (LRT PE/DEIS began) within
one-half mile of west side light rail stations. About
3,600 of the dwellings were completed in 1998. Over 3,000
of them are located in two station areas. One developer
is building about 2,000 of these units in three station areas
with backing from a pension fund. Attracting national
developers to build TOD projects in the region is a significant
achievement -- PacTrust, Trammell Crow Residential, Security
Capital Pacific, Columbus Realty Trust (now Post), and Simpson
Westside Station Area Planning (WSAP) -- A
four year intergovernmental effort to update comprehensive plans,
development regulations and capital improvement programs for
areas within one-half mile of westside light rail stations.
Hillsboro, Portland and Washington County adopted interim development
regulations early in the process to minimize parking, increase
density, prohibit inappropriate land uses, and require pedestrian
oriented design. By 1998, new plans and development regulations
had been adopted for almost all of the light rail station areas.
Sunset Transit Center
-- Detailed design standards were adopted in October 1997 by
Washington County for an area including 190 acres under a single
ownership. This was a major milestone in a debate that
has lasted more than a decade on the best use of this property.
The new plan and code was based on intensive discussions between
adjacent neighborhoods, the property owner and county staff
as well as urban design, market analysis and transportation
consultants. A mixed use center is planned adjacent to
the station and more than 2000 housing units in the balance
of the area. See the
website for more information.
Beaverton Central Mixed Use Project
- One day the "The Round" may be the "jewel" of Westside Light
Rail. Unlike the Orenco community (see below), this project
has had a bumpy ride which is still in process as of 2008. See
website for more information.
Murray West Master Plan -- A preliminary public/private
master plan for a 120-acre area around the Beaverton Creek light
rail station was completed in 1995. Trammell Crow Residential
(TCR) completed construction of 830 dwelling units in 1998.
Tri-Met's park & ride was relocated, redesigned and coordinated
with TCR's project to create a pedestrian friendly environment.
Nike plans to expand its world headquarters campus on 75 acres
north of the station. City plan and code amendments for
the 120-acre area were adopted in December 1997. Tri-Met
managed the master plan effort. The City of Beaverton
was lead on the plan/code amendments.
Hillsboro Light Rail Station Area Urban Design
-- In 1993, this project dealt with issues that were not resolved
during preliminary engineering and the draft EIS. There
was concern that intergovernmental consensus would be difficult
to achieve. In a five-week intensive effort, agreement
was reached to remove two stations and redesign or relocate
four others to reduce costs, improve access, and preserve opportunities
for station area development. This was a joint effort
with Metro, the City of Hillsboro and Washington County.
Tri-Met was the lead agency. This is an excellent example
of an interagency, interdisciplinary team approach with the
right people with the right assignment at the right time.
Orenco/PacTrust Master Plan -- In January
1999, the National Home Builders selected "Orenco Station" out
of nearly 1,000 entries for their "Master Planned Community
of the Year" gold award. In 1998, it won the State of
Oregon Governor's Livability Award. More than 2,000 dwellings,
a mixed use center, parks, and a sub-regional retail "power"
center were planned, permitted or under construction between
the light rail station and the new $2 billion Intel facility
in 1998. The City of Hillsboro was the lead agency.
Six-hundred apartments and the small lot single family home
models were completed in 1997. The project has become a poster
child of light rail transit based suburban TOD:
Best new burb: Orenco Station,
Rachel Levin, Sunset Magazine, February 2006
Living at Orenco Station, Windermere
[real estate], 2006
of Orenco Station, Orenco Station
Business Owners Association, 2006
- Making TODs
Work: Lessons from Portland's Orenco Station,
Michael Mehaffy, Op-Ed, Planetizen, June 17, 2003
Social and Environmental Achievements of New Urbanism: Evidence
from Orenco Station [PDF] Bruce
Podobnik, PhD, Department of Sociology, Lewis and Clark
College, Portland, Oregon, November 7, 2002
Orenco Station residents like the higher-density life,
New Urban News, June 2002
Case Study: Orenco Station, Hillsboro, Oregon,
Michael Mehaffy, Terrain.org, Fall/Winter 2001
Smart Growth Case Study: Orenco Station,
1998 Master Planned Community of the Year, National Association
of Home Builders, 1999
Downtown Hillsboro LID -- The City Council
approved the Hillsboro Downtown Business Association petition
for creation of a local improvement district (LID) in August
1996. The project implements the vision of the downtown
(TOD) plan and began construction in summer 1997. The
design for new sidewalks, curbs, decorative paving, street lamps,
and greenery are complementary to light rail street improvements.
Westside Corridor Level Public Outreach --
Activities included a newsletter (seven issues), brochures,
Rail Trail Guide, conferences, seminars, workshops, displays,
slide shows, videos, cable TV shows, and telephone hot line.
Washington County was the lead agency.
Development outreach activities included station
area development profiles and maps which were prepared by Tri-Met;
the Spring 1997 issues of the "Connections" newsletter focused
on transit oriented development; the first day of the May 1994
"Westside Light Rail Station Community Planning Conference"
for members of the development community attracted a standing
room only crowd to the World Forestry Center; the April 1995
seminar on "The Economics of mid-rise housing and TOD's" was
attended by 245 bankers, Realtors, developers, architects, consultants
Other outreach activities included WSAP team
members being advocates for transit-oriented planning and development.
Technical assistance was provided to developers, background
information was prepared for reporters, staff led land use and
development tours, spoke at real estate seminars, organized
conference sessions, and similar activities.
Portland TOD Property Tax Exemption Ordinance
- It provides for a ten-year exemption for high density housing
and mixed use projects. The City of Portland adopted an
ordinance in October 1996 based on state legislation passed
in 1995. Washington County and Tri-Met sought passage
of the new state law; Tri-Met prepared a model ordinance.
Joint Development Projects -- Tri-Met has
four projects in the Goose Hollow station area just west of
downtown Portland. Arbor Vista ("Tree House" site) and
Stadium Station Apartments ("Civic Stadium") are done; the project
at Collins Circle is under construction; and the Butler Block
project is in process. These projects pioneered the FTA
waiver to the common grant rule for joint development; now all
USA transit agencies can take advantage of these opportunities
to increase ridership through TOD based on new regulations adopted
in spring 1997 by FTA.
City of Beaverton, Community
PO Box 4755, Beaverton, Oregon, 97076
- Beaverton Creek Multiple Use District
(plan, code, maps); December 1997 & January 1998.
- Downtown Connectivity Plan (transportation
text and map amendments), adopted in June 1997; prepared
by DKS Associates.
- Carrying Capacity Analysis and Capital
Improvement Plan for the Beaverton Regional Center and Tek
Station Area, December 1996, prepared by KCM, DKS, Hobson
Johnson & Associates, and Janice Kelley.
- Downtown Redevelopment Alternatives Study,
September 1997; Pacific Rim Resources, Leland Consulting
Group, Cascade Design Collaborative.
City of Hillsboro, Planning
123 West Main Street, Hillsboro, Oregon 97123
- Choices for the Future, Station Community
Planning, Downtown Hillsboro Station Area, February 1995.
- Downtown Hillsboro Station Community
Plan, June 1995.
- Hillsboro Light Rail Station Area Master
Plan: Transportation Design Element, November 1995, prepared
by DKS Associates and Janice Kelley.
- Station Community Planning Areas (SCPA),
Amendments to the City of Hillsboro Comprehensive Plan Text
and Map, Zoning Ordinance Text and Map, adopted August 6,
1996; amended April 15, 1997.
City of Portland, Planning
1220 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97204
- Goose Hollow Station Community Plan,
January 1996; and Goose Hollow District Design Guidelines,
- Property Tax Exemption for New Transit
Supportive Residential or Mixed Use Development, October
1996; note - applies to east side Portland MAX stations
- Transit-Oriented Development Credit Provisions,
Transportation System Development Charge Ordinance, June
1997; note - applies to east side Portland MAX stations
Washington County, Land Use
155 North First Avenue, Hillsboro, Oregon
- "Connections" newsletter, focus on station
area development, Volume 7, Spring 1997.
- "It's About Time: The Story of Westside
Light Rail Station Community Planning", 20 minute video,
shown on cable TV, 1996.
- Ordinance No. 418, June 1993, light rail
station area interim development regulations.
- Ordinance No's. 483-486, light rail station
area land use and transportation plans and development code,
October 1997; applies to the Sunset Transit Center and the
158th, 170th and 185th station areas.
Tri-Met, Project Development
710 NE Holladay Street, Portland, Oregon 97232
- At work in the Field of Dreams: Light
Rail and Smart Growth in Portland, September 1998.
- Evaluation of Banfield Light Rail Transit
Station Area Planning Program, July 1993.
- Hillsboro LRT Extension Station Location
Recommendations, prepared by FFA, 1993.
- Planning and Design For Transit Handbook,
- Station Area Development Profiles (and
maps) for Beaverton, Gresham, Hillsboro, Portland and Washington