About River Terrace



How our city grows

Tigard lies within the Portland Metropolitan Region. As our region changes and evolves, there are times when more land is needed for housing, employment and industry. Under Oregon law, the expansion of our region’s physical size is controlled by the urban growth boundary or UGB. This invisible line separates urban from rural development in an effort to preserve farm and forest land, control sprawl, and reduce the cost of extending public infrastructure.

Thousands of acres were added to the region’s supply of developable land in the recent past to specifically accommodate future housing needs. Some of this land has remained unincorporated (i.e. it lies within a county but outside of a city), but the majority of it has or will annex to a city, such as Hillsboro, Beaverton and Tigard. Tigard grew by approximately 500 acres when the area now known as River Terrace annexed to the city.


How River Terrace became part of Tigard

In 2010, Washington County completed the initial planning for this area with the adoption of the West Bull Mountain Concept Plan. The concept plan identified existing natural resources and hazards and included a preliminary land use and transportation framework. It also identified Tigard as a logical service provider.

In 2012, the City of Tigard agreed to complete the planning process and provide city services to the area, including but not limited to law enforcement, development oversight, infrastructure maintenance, and park development. All of River Terrace has since voluntarily annexed to the city.


Great places follow from great plans

Today, River Terrace is largely farms, fields and streams. It will need new roads, parks, stormwater facilities, and sewer and water service to support the residential development that is planned for this area. The process of figuring out these details is known as community planning. Here’s how it works:

First, the city engages various stakeholders (property owners, neighbors, potential developers and partners) to create a development vision that becomes the blueprint for how this area should develop over time. The vision determines the type, scale, design and location of things like housing, commercial areas, parks, trails and streets. The outcome of this process is a community plan.

Second, the city uses this information to project future infrastructure needs. The outcome of this process is a series of infrastructure master plans for transportation, water, sewer, parks and stormwater. For River Terrace, this process involved answering these kinds of questions:

  • Transportation – How many new vehicle trips are expected, and how can we minimize impacts on existing neighborhoods and address pedestrian and bicycle needs?
  • Water – How much water is needed, do we have enough, and what is the best way to deliver it?
  • Sewer – What are the best locations for needed pump stations and what is the plan for decommissioning older pump stations?
  • Parks – How many acres of parks and how many miles of trails should be constructed and what are the best locations for these facilities?
  • Stormwater – What are the best strategies for managing stormwater runoff in this steep and erodable area, and how can we prevent the kind of damage that has occurred elsewhere on Bull Mountain?

Third, the city completes a funding strategy to determine how needed infrastructure should be funded. Some infrastructure will be built by the city and other service providers, such as Clean Water Services. However, the majority of infrastructure in River Terrace will be built by developers.

Last, the city adopts zoning and development standards that are specifically designed to implement the community plan and infrastructure master plans. The adoption of zoning allows the development process to begin.


Changes large and small

On the one hand, the changes that will take place in River Terrace over the next 20 years will be huge. On the other hand, development of this 500-acre community will happen incrementally, and in some cases will take decades. In 2015, the city reviewed applications for more than 1,000 housing units in River Terrace—that’s more than anywhere else in the city.

Some changes may not be noticeable at all, especially in the beginning. The first things that will happen include general site grading and erosion control measures, installation of underground pipes for water and sewer, tree removal (where approved), and construction staging.

How River Terrace will be different

The city will review development proposals and permit applications just as it would anywhere else in the city, but some special circumstances exist in River Terrace that require unique solutions. As a result, development in River Terrace will be subject to:

  • New stormwater standards that will better control downstream flooding and erosion and that will also provide the community with additional amenities in the form of wildlife habitat and/or educational and recreational facilities.
  • New street design standards, including a design for River Terrace Boulevard, the area’s signature street. The boulevard includes a landscaped median and a regional trail corridor.
  • New development standards and incentives that facilitate neighborhood park development and advance the city’s strategic vision to be the most walkable community in the Pacific Northwest.

Next steps

Now and into the future, developers will work to obtain land use approvals and development permits from the city to build in River Terrace. It is through this process that the city ensures development conforms to the vision outlined in the community plan, builds or pays for their proportional share of needed infrastructure, and meets all required development standards. You can participate in the land use review process and influence how this area develops. Visit the Land Use Applications page for information on how you can be involved.

Over the next several years, the city will work on several projects related to the implementation of the community plan. This may include development and ratepayer fee updates, coordination with Washington County on county road improvements (including an expansion of Roy Rogers Road), acquisition and development of community parks, development of a small commercial center and additional standards to continually improve the walkability of the district.


For more information, view the city’s Frequently Asked Questions.