Reports from the Editor

Is Orenco Station on Track?

August 13th, 2013

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MAX light rail train arriving at Orenco Station from Hillsboro, heading to Portland and Gresham.
MAX light rail train arriving at Orenco Station from Hillsboro, heading to Portland and Gresham.

First important thing to know: Orenco Station is both an actual light-rail station and the name of a 209 acre "transit-oriented" development adjacent to the station.

They're both in Hillsboro, Oregon, a fast growing suburb of Portland, and home to the state's "Silicon Forest."

Mixed-use housing two blocks from the Orenco light rail station. All photos by Wayne Senville unless otherwise noted.
Mixed-use housing two blocks from the Orenco light rail station. All photos by Wayne Senville unless otherwise noted.

You know Orenco Station -- the development, that is -- is important, first of all, because there's a detailed Wikipedia entry about it (not many developments can boast that!).

More importantly, Orenco Station has been one of the pioneering large-scale transit-oriented developments in the United States, and a key model for how to get people living in suburbs to drive less, and walk and use transit more.

This aerial map shows most of the Orenco development. On the south, the red circle shows the location of the light rail stop (there is more housing south of this); the yellow circle shows the location of the commercial Town Center on NE Cornell Road, a major arterial. The massive Intel facility is adjacent to the Orenco development to the north.
This aerial map shows most of the Orenco development. On the south, the red circle indicates the location of the light rail stop (there is more housing south of this); the orange circle shows the location of the commercial Town Center on NE Cornell Road, a major arterial. The massive Intel facility is adjacent to the Orenco development to the north. As with all maps and photos in this post, click on them to view at larger size.
Intel's huge Ronler Acres facility looms in the background; photo taken a block from light rail station, looking through center of the Orenco development towards Intel.
Intel's huge Ronler Acres facility looms in the background; photo taken a block from light rail station, looking through center of the Orenco development towards Intel.
Hillsboro Assistant Planning Director Colin Cooper.
Hillsboro Assistant Planning Director Colin Cooper.

Some additional facts about Orenco Station, as Colin Cooper, AICP, Hillsboro's Assistant Planning Director told me, and as described in several articles by Michael Mehaffy, an urban designer who served as project manager for Orenco Station:

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