Sherwood, Oregon – Blazing trails for the future

November 5, 2021

Sherwood, Oregon

Blazing trails for the future

 

Business View Magazine interviews Keith Mays, Mayor of Sherwood, Oregon, for our focus on Economic Development in U.S. Towns & Cities

In 1843, the first wagon train arrived in what is now Sherwood, Oregon. Originally inhabited by the Tualatin tribe of the Kalapuya Native Americans, the next 10 years saw the first settlers farming the land and building log homes from the dense forest surroundings. Relying on the land for survival, farmers made a biannual trip to nearby Portland for supplies. At the time this was a three-day journey, a contrast from the 25-minute commute of today.

Through the years, Sherwood has grown from a small town to a thriving 4.5 sq. mile city with a population of 20,000 and manufacturing taking the lead as the main source of employment. Sitting on the southwest edge of the Portland Metro Area, this award-winning community is known for family-focused neighborhoods, quality schools, parks, and trails. Sherwood Mayor Keith Mays shares, “We regularly rank in the top communities of our size nationally for quality of life, public safety, and great places to raise a family.”

Downtown Sherwood, known as Old Town, was the heartbeat of the community for a long time. Although fire destroyed many of its historic buildings, there has been an ongoing investment in preserving those that remain, while creating a vibrant area for local residents and visitors. A diverse collection of businesses and restaurants highlight this pedestrian-friendly part of the city, which is the location of many arts and cultural events.

Looking to draw more people to this area, there are plans to add a second community square, “just to drive traffic, drive community activities so we can continue to have a thriving Old Town,” says Mays. Annually, Sherwood hosts the Robin Hood Festival, drawing up to 20,000 tourists to the area. The popular Cruisin’ Sherwood event, organized by the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce, brings 25,000 people to the city each year. According to the Mayor, “For different community events we regularly close different streets down to create even more space. The businesses and restaurants in Old Town have lots of space to have tables and seating outside, in front or behind their buildings.”

With State Highway 99W running through Sherwood, there is a plan to unite the neighborhoods on either side of this busy road, through the addition of a pedestrian bridge. As Julia Hajduk, Director of Community Development, explains, “Highway 99W goes all the way to the Oregon coast through Sherwood. It has five lanes and the speed limit is 45 miles an hour, which tends to divide the city because of the traffic and the speed and the volume. So, having that pedestrian bridge is envisioned to be a huge benefit to the community.” The bridge, which will offer a safe connection for students heading to the new Sherwood High School, is in the design and engineering phase and is expected to be completed by 2023.

Other major infrastructure projects include the widening of a major east/west arterial boulevard, increasing it from three to five lanes. A sewer upgrade is also underway, which is necessary for future development of the city. Mays reports, “The sewer project is a very significant deal. From a growth standpoint, in the Brookman area, it’s in the 300-acre range, mostly in the city limits. That’s dominated by housing, with some commercial and industrial zoned land, and then that line will wrap around to the other side of Hwy 99W to provide services for a great portion of the 1200 acres that we are working on in our master plan right now.”

To meet the demands of both the job and housing sectors, Sherwood has several important projects underway. Hajduk recounts, “We are a smaller city without a ton of room for internal growth, but we do have 150 lots that either have recently been approved and are in the process of being built, or will be very soon. We have a smaller apartment complex being proposed, which is in the review process. We are also planning for a new area to the west of Sherwood that would provide housing and jobs. Sherwood is unique compared to some of our neighbors; we are truly at this point, a bedroom community, where we are housing rich and jobs poor. As we grow in residential, we also want to grow even more so in jobs, so that we create a better balance. That is a little bit of a challenge, but we are rising to it.”

Growth of the industrial and manufacturing sectors are a key focus for Sherwood, where an area in the eastern portion of the city has attracted such companies as Allied Systems, fabricators of materials for Aerospace and Defense. Treske Precision Machining, an advanced engineering company specializing in aerospace, defense, and robotics, is another notable Sherwood employer currently looking at expansion. Aviatrix, an aerospace parts supplier, is also based in the city, along with the headquarters of Hardwood Industries, a quality lumber wholesale and distribution company.

Ironman 4×4 America, an Australian company known for their off-road and outdoor gear, has recently relocated to Sherwood. Luke Schnacke, CEO of Ironman 4×4 America shares the thoughts behind this decision: “Ironman 4×4 America recently selected Sherwood, Oregon for the location of our North American headquarters and operations. As a rapidly growing, entrepreneurial business, we recognize that Sherwood works hard to encourage the growth of existing and new industrial and retail companies. Sherwood is ideally located to attract a large, skilled talent pool, offers a highly regarded school system, safe environment, and high quality of life. Our business is to provide 4×4 and outdoor enthusiasts with durable, dependable suspension, bumpers, camping and outdoor products, proven in the Australian outback and military theaters worldwide. Sherwood is the perfect springboard for vehicle-based adventures, from a family trip to the Oregon Coast, Cascade Mountains, or an epic American road trip”

With business attraction a top priority, Bruce Coleman, Economic Development Manager, states, “We are interested in a variety of technologies from medical device to bioscience related industries. We are in the very early stages of looking at some sites, 200 plus acres that could be designated for technology park development in the future. We like high tech manufacturing, but it could be food products manufacturing, it could be clean tech, there’s just a whole variety of industries that would make sense in Sherwood as part of the Greater Portland Region and our regional economic growth. We are particularly excited that Lam Research selected Sherwood as the location for a 45,000 square foot semiconductor equipment manufacturing facility which will employ 300 people. They are opening on time and in record time”

International development company, Trammell Crow, is currently developing the Tualatin-Sherwood Corporate Park, encompassing 47 acres of industrial space. “We are very excited to be able to work with them on this project,” says Coleman. “Not only the 500,000 square feet that they’re building now, but they are planning another 400,000 square feet. There will be almost 1 million square feet of industrial space in multi-tenant buildings within in the next few years. They are a partner in the development of the city. Obviously, we govern the zoning and the regulatory side, but we’re also working to encourage these types of things to happen, because we recognize the importance of a better jobs/housing balance. Sherwood is also very pleased to be working with Harsch Investment Properties on another nearly one million square feet of multi-tenant industrial park space.”

As a Tree City U.S.A. community and a partner with Clean Water Services – the water management agency – Sherwood is committed to protecting and preserving the city’s rich natural surroundings, while creating opportunities for residents to enjoy the natural beauty. Hajduk describes, “Inherently in everything that we do here, it is green and sustainable. We have to make sure that we are protecting water quality, that we are planting native vegetation, restoring things, and improving things, as development occurs. So just in the course of any of our capital improvement projects, they inherently are green to a certain extent.” A major capital project currently underway in Sherwood is the Cedar Creek Trail expansion. This two-phase project will enhance and grow an existing pedestrian trail network, creating connections throughout the city. Sherwood also maintains a partnership with the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, a treasured part of the community.

Looking towards the future, Mayor Mays shares his hopes for the next few years: “We look forward to having the Sherwood West area master plan completed and begin to make significant steps towards the phasing of those areas to be developed. We hope to have a greatly improved balance of live/work in our community with an increased variety of housing options for individuals and in families wanting to live here.” Coleman expects continued growth for Sherwood, explaining, “During the pandemic, the city has never slowed down. We have had a number of applications for development over the past year, and we have been planning for our future. City Council has approved millions of dollars of investment for urban renewal. We’ve been very active during the pandemic and we’re definitely preparing for the future now.”

AT A GLANCE

Sherwood, Oregon

What: A progressive, growing community in the Portland Metro Area

Where: Washington County, Oregon

Website: www.sherwoodoregon.gov

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