SpringwaterThe Significance of Springwater

The primary plan for Springwater is to bring new, high-quality jobs to East County, primarily in the high-tech research and development industries. Springwater will lead the way in environmentally sustainable development through its construction techniques, the types of industries targeted, and the lifestyle the area promotes.

Cultural History

The historic route from Portland to Mt. Hood and eastern Oregon came through Springwater along what is now US Highway 26. The Boring spur of the Portland Railway Light and Power Company also paralleled this route. In the mid- to late-1920s, a number of nurseries were established in the Springwater area, several of which grew to be large enterprises. Rose cultivation, still a lasting symbol for the greater Portland area, was popular and successful.

Springwater Planning Background

Springwater is a large, rural area in southeast Gresham, and the City has ambitious, progressive plans for it.

The focus is on developing industrial/high-tech campuses and attracting business that will bring an infusion of thousands of new jobs to Gresham. To augment the mixed-use theme of the City as a whole, a village center with mixed retail and housing, and quality, low-density residential development are also planned for areas too sloped for industrial use. Sustainable development and preservation of the natural environment will also be emphasized, giving the area a unique character.

Gresham’s share of the Springwater area consists of 1,272 acres (roughly 9% of the size of the current City). Most of the area was added to the Urban Growth Boundary in 2002, in large part to address the short supply of industrial employment land in the city and region. The Springwater Community Plan establishes the policy and code framework for the area. It emphasizes the coexistence of new development with natural systems such as Johnson Creek. The plan was developed with extensive public involvement and in coordination with the City, Multnomah and Clackamas Counties, Metro, and other organizations and agencies. Gresham City Council adopted the Springwater Plan District and incorporated it into the City’s comprehensive plan in November 2005.

Springwater Community Plan

Springwater sets the stage for a new kind of development

Sustainable industries, an estimated 15,000 jobs, and a vibrant village center will redefine Gresham’s southeast reaches. 

Imagine if you will an expanse of land populated by clean industries that focus on technology, medicine and outdoor recreation equipment. These industries employ thousands, many who live nearby in an exciting community that’s quaint yet contemporary, pedestrian friendly and served by a vibrant village center of retail, office and commercial services.

Brought into the region’s Urban Growth Boundary in 2002 and identified as a Regionally Significant Industrial Area in the state, Springwater is rich with developable property, natural resources and stunning views of Mt. Hood. Years of community and city planning came up with a 20-year master plan for Springwater that envisions 15,000 industrial or industrial-related jobs and the new residential community built around a village center.

For a number of reasons, including the pristine condition of available land in Springwater and trends in modern industry, the city has targeted specific industries as ideal for the development. They are sustainable, low-impact industries that take environmental and natural resource concerns, as well as sustainable construction and products, into consideration. Among those in mind: software; nanotechnology; medical devices; forestry and agricultural biotechnology; transportation equipment; renewable energy technologies; company headquarters; and recreational equipment — from ski bindings to bike sprockets and beyond.

Prospective residents of Springwater will likely be drawn to the area’s scenic and environmental features as well. According to the master plan, the village center will include a wide main street that encourages pedestrian activity. A large grocery store likely would anchor the center.
Plans call for a variety of housing options around the village center, from apartments above the main street retail to high-density town homes and single-family houses on large lots. One estimate in the master plan recommends 2,000 households within a 2-mile radius of the village center.

Neighborhoods will be walker-friendly, and bike paths and park trails will provide alternate means of traveling between employment and housing. Parks and open spaces will tie the new development to existing natural features, among them a 4-mile stretch of Johnson Creek, streams and ponds, forested buttes, and a stretch of the scenic Springwater Trail.

All of which are key elements in bringing not only good businesses, but good employees, to Springwater.

To accommodate the increased industrial and residential traffic that Springwater will generate, phased improvements are planned for U.S. Highway 26 and several of the other arterials that course through the area. In fact, over $6 million in state and local money has already been secured for improving intersections along U.S. Highway 26 in the coming years and the City is awaiting approval of another $25.6 million from the federal government.

The timeline for build-out of Springwater is about 20 years, and though there’s a lot that needs to occur over those two decades, progress has already begun.

Annexation in Springwater

The City is accepting property owner initiated annexation applications if the land is contiguous to Gresham city limits. At this time, no City-initiated annexation is scheduled. The time of a City-initiated annexation, if any, will likely depend upon City resources and priorities, coupled with property owner and developer interest.

Annexation Application Packet