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North Plains City 101 Topics

The City has created various "City 101" articles to help explain many of the priority initiatives and services we provide. As we add more, we will add them to our news page and to this City 101 Topics page.

Have a topic you'd like to see covered here? Let us know!

Budget Committee Recommends Proposed City Budget for City Council Approval

After review and discussion over many weeks, the City of North Plains Budget Committee voted on April 28 to recommend City Council approval of a proposed budget for the 2022-23 Biennium covering the Fiscal Years 2021-22 and 2022-23 (July-June). City Council will hold a public hearing on this budget at their June 7 City Council meeting, after which they are expected to adopt a final budget.

City 101: A Treasure Trove of 20 Educational Topics (so far!)

For the past few years, we have been featuring “City 101” topics in our newsletter and on the City’s website. There are now to 20 different topics - see the full list below. We created this series to help explain many of the priority initiatives and services we provide. If you have a topic you’d like to see covered please let us know!

City 101: Boards, Commissions and Committees

The City of North Plains has boards, commissions, and committees of the City Council, as well as an Urban Renewal Agency, which are key to informing the development of North Plains’ programs and policies, and to our community’s quality of life. The volunteer members share their time and expertise and are important connections to the needs and values of our community.

We welcome residents to learn more and apply for open positions. Below is an overview of each group’s role as well as links to more details.

City 101: Budget Perspective Part 2

This is the second of a 3-part series on the City’s budget and planning for the future. In part 1 we provided an overview of the current challenges. In this part 2 we will share more details about short and medium-term solutions, and in Part 3 coming next month we’ll share longer-term vision for fiscal sustainability.

North Plains has operated on a conservative, small city budget for many years. With service demand, expectations, and costs for city services rising with our expanding community, this has presented challenges.

City 101: Budget Perspective Part 3

This is the third of a 3-part series on the City’s budget and planning for the future. In part 1 we provided an overview of the current challenges. In part 2 we shared more details about short and medium-term solutions, and in this part 3, we share a longer-term vision for fiscal sustainability and high-quality city services.

City 101: Budget Perspective Part I

Welcome to part 1 of a 3-part series on the City’s budget and planning for the future. In this edition, we’ll provide an overview of the current challenges, and in parts 2 and 3 we will share more details about medium and longer-term solutions for fiscal sustainability.

City 101: Floodplains Explained

You’ve probably heard of floodplains, and may even live in or near one. But what exactly is it and how does it affect community development and where and what things can be built?

City 101: How Does the City "Work"?

Given the role of city governments to serve their communities and provide essential services, they function quite differently from other organizations and private businesses. Here is an overview of how your North Plains City Government works.

City 101: Land Use and Development

As North Plains evolves, there are residential and business developments taking place and there will be more proposed in our future. So, how does private property develop?

The City’s land use and development is guided by state law, the City Council, Planning Commission, and the community’s goals for a thriving North Plains. In a nutshell, private landowners come to the City with development plans and go through a process to ensure the plans meet land use code. Public involvement is required in all phases of the land use process as outlined in Goal 1 of Oregon’s statewide land use system. The public must be provided opportunities through notifications, public meetings, and public hearings to learn about proposed development and provide input. This can result in modifications to the proposal before the Planning Commission and ultimately City Council considers a final decision on a development proposal.

City 101: Solid Waste and Recycling Services

Garbage, recycling and yard waste services are important to community livability, and in North Plains they are provided by Garbarino Disposal & Recycling. How does this service work, what services are available, and where do the collected materials go? Read on to learn more.

CITY 101: Streetlights Illuminate our City

Across the world, streetlights brighten our roads, intersections, sidewalks, and other public spaces. They are important in providing lighting to help increase visibility, promote road safety for drivers and pedestrians, and discourage theft or violence. In some places, streetlights are owned and maintained by a power provider, but since 2014 the City of North Plains has owned and maintained streetlights within the city limits. The monthly Transportation Utility Fee you see on your water bill helps to pay for the operation and maintenance of our streetlights.

City 101: Who Provides Services in North Plains?

The City of North Plains provides a variety of services including clean drinking water, streets and street light maintenance, library, economic development, infrastructure & land use planning, parks, and police within the city limits. There are also many other public agencies and organizations that provide key services to our community.

City Council Approves 2022-23 Biennial City Budget

On June 7, 2021, the North Plains City Council formally adopted a $39.8 million City budget for the 2022-23 Biennium covering the Fiscal Years 2021-22 and 2022-23 (July-June). 

“The City has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic well from a financial perspective and while we remain prudent with our revenue forecasts, this budget acknowledges the priority needs of a growing community,”  says North Plains City Manager Andy Varner. “Our intent is to put North Plains on a solid – and sustainable – financial footing for many years to come so that we can provide exceptional services and quality of life to our residents and businesses.”

Did You Know? Property Owners Responsible for Sidewalk & Street Tree Maintenance

As in many communities, landowners in North Plains are responsible for keeping existing sidewalks and street trees in the public right-of-way abutting their property in good repair and safe condition. 

Down the Drain: Where Does Your Used Water Go?

Earlier this year, we shared this “Where does my water come from?” article describing North Plains’ water sources, water quality, and the city’s local water system. Now let’s go on a journey to see what happens to your used water after it drains from your sinks, showers, washing machine, dishwasher, or toilet. Similarly, you may wonder what becomes of the stormwater run-off around town. These sanitary sewer and stormwater services are very much behind the scenes but they are essential to our health and quality of life.

Emergency Preparedness Month: Emergencies Happen. Preparedness is the key.

September is National Emergency Preparedness Month! We thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share what the City does to prepare for emergencies and disasters and how you can easily prepare yourself and your family. How well we all will survive and recover from disasters is largely dependent on how well we prepare in advance.

North Plains Exploring Urban Growth Boundary Expansion

It’s no secret that the North Plains community is growing, but did you know that the City is expected to add more than 2,500 people by 2037? While this growth in the Portland Metro area  is inevitable, the City of North Plains is committed to responsible and well-planned growth for the benefit of the community.

North Plains Property Tax Explained

If you are a property owner, you’re likely familiar with property taxes. For those who aren’t, property tax is paid annually by property owners, including individuals and legal entities such as businesses, and is an important source of revenue for more than 1,200 local taxing districts in Oregon. 

North Plains Rail Line: Then and Now

History and Promise

Around 1908, when Jim Hill’s United Railways announced plans to expand the rail line to help grow the population in the area, the Ruth Trust Company of Portland bought a large tract of land in the North Plains area. A few years later, the rail line - including the Cornelius Pass tunnel - was built and then operated as a Portland short line that ran from Portland to Banks, and eventually connected to the Oregon Coast.

North Plains Underground - Decoding Utility Markings

Ever wondered what those mysterious spray-painted markings on city streets are all about? They look like some sort of secret code until you start to decipher their meaning and critical importance. Spray-painted markings on city streets, sidewalks, and rights-of-way are color-coded and indicate the location of underground utilities that workers need to take into account while doing digging or roadworks.

The Library has Something for Everyone

Libraries have long been at the heart of the communities they serve, and the North Plains Public Library is no exception. Since establishing operations in a small janitor’s closet at the Jessie Mays Community Center in 2000, the library’s services have evolved right along with the changing times and the growing community.

"Today's small-town library is a gathering place where the community can find favorite books, make copies, use free Wi-Fi, take workshops and classes, and explore new interests," said Library Director Robin Doughty.

The What & Why of Economic Development

What is Economic Development?

Economic Development is a concerted effort undertaken by local government (counties, cities, states) to make a community attractive to private business investment. It includes efforts to enhance existing businesses, attract businesses to relocate there, and encourage new business start-ups.

Where Does My Water Come From?

You turn on the tap and flush a toilet multiple times each day, but do you ever wonder where your water comes from and how it is treated and tested to ensure safety?

North Plains water

The City of North Plains delivers safe, high-quality water to meet the health and fire protection needs of the City’s residents and businesses. The City purchases its water from the Joint Water Commission (JWC) which is the primary drinking water supplier in Washington County. The JWC is jointly owned by the Cities of Hillsboro, Forest Grove, and Beaverton and the Tualatin Valley Water District and treats, transmits, and stores potable water for about 450,000 customers. In 2005 the City built a 16” pipeline, spanning more than 3 miles, to deliver the water from Hillsboro. allon reservoir and booster station on Commercial Street and the new 2 million gallon reservoir and pump station on West Union Road, along with 328 mainline valves and air relief valves in North Plains. In addition, the crew regularly inspects, paints and flushes 121 fire hydrants.

City Budget 101

Every city government prepares an annual budget that is a plan of expected revenues,  and expenditures, as well as savings reserves for emergency and future use. The City of North Plains is moving from an annual to a biennial (two-year) budget cycle beginning on July 1, 2021, and will start the budget review and approval process for this biennial budget in mid-April.