When housing was affordable
My family moved here in 1987. The company my husband worked for had been closed down by the county, state and Federal tax departments. The owner left the country. My husband had found a new job in Portland and we had a 1 year old. It was a tough and scary time for us. Although inside the urban growth boundary, Wilsonville was considered a rural town. At the time it had an elementary school and middle school. The high school was in West Linn. There were 2 stop lights, the ones on either side of the freeway. It had Thriftway where the bowling alley is and Lowies where Walgreen is. The Wilsonville primary school was where the old Albertsons' store is. There was no Fred Meyers store complex. The library was a double wide mobile home.
We found a nice duplex to rent in Old Town, across from Boones Ferry Park. It was a nice community (still is for the most part). At Halloween, we could leave the candy in a bowl on the porch and take our children out Trick-or-Treating and there would still be candy in the bowl when you came back. I found many volunteer opportunities here, too.
Wilsonville's housing was very affordable in true meaning of the word. It was a working class community. The cost of both rentals (apartments and homes) was less than the 1/3 of middle class income standard. The cost of buying a home was affordable, mortgages also were well under the 1/3 of middle class income. We were pleased to find that after 3 years, we were able to put a down payment on our house. We still live there today. We had also hoped our children would be able to find jobs in Wilsonville and be able to live here.
Shortly after we moved here the city council was taken over by a group of developers and real estate agents. They decided the town needed to get on the Urban Development bandwagon and voted to get urban renewal going. As citizens, we voted it down but were told our vote was none binding and City Council went ahead with it. Their first big project was the Fry's - Town Center project. They called the hay field a blighted area. We had a recall election and removed all but one of them. The next council look ed at what infrastructure we need. They built the library, which we had been asking for, for quite a while. But the damage was done. The city has gone berserk with the easy money.
Since then, the city staff and the City council have been focused on using urban renewal to create a high end city, trying to beating out L.O., Tualatin and West Linn for being the most upscale local community. Wilsonville's city government and staff has put expensive housing developments and it's tax dollars ahead of all the needs of its citizens. The city wants big business to come here but hasn't invested in working class housing for the needed workers. Sadly every city council so far, has only listened to the money talking and not what the community has asked for and needs.
The City only listen to the citizen who give lip service to what the council and staff want to hear about what they have already planned to do.
Why do we still live hear? We can't afford to leave Wilsonville and the Metro area. This is were the jobs are. My son does have a job here in Wilsonville, he just can't afford to live here. So he pays rent on his bedroom to help us out.