The Significance of Pleasant Valley
As Gresham makes its contribution to new growth in the region, Pleasant Valley represents a great potential for new, high-quality residential development, which would in turn attract new community resources. This would enable the area to lead by example, adding local jobs, services and recreational opportunities – all constructed in an environmentally conscious, sustainable manner.
There is a strong sense of place in Pleasant Valley, and for many families who have lived here for several generations, that place is home. In the 1920s, prospering valley residents built a small town near the current Grange site called Sycamore.
Many current residents recall a landscape of filbert orchards, berry fields, small dairy farms, and stumps. The work to remove the large stumps and forest continued until the 1920s. The most common crop during the 30s and 40s was probably berries, although there were also orchards and small dairy farms. The valley continued to prosper – post office, a feed store, and a gas station sprung up. Farming activity peaked just prior to World War II.
During the depression, the Works Progress Administration was active building bridges and lining Johnson Creek. The WPA also constructed the current elementary school in 1939. Records for the original Sycamore public school date back to 1857.
In the 1950s, valley farming began a steady decline. As farming became less profitable, many farms were subdivided into smaller parcels of two to ten acres, and sold for large lot homes. The result was the current makeup of Pleasant Valley – a low-density rural residential area with ever increasing traffic.
Although longtime residents have watched the rural character of Pleasant Valley fade away, they still share a strong sense of community and wistfully cling to long-standing Valley institutions such as the Grange, the Baptist Church and the elementary school.
Pleasant Valley Planning Background
Pleasant Valley was added to the Urban Growth Boundary in December 1998 to accommodate forecasted population growth in the region. In summer 2000, Gresham – in partnership with Metro, Portland, Clackamas and Multnomah counties, among other interested parties – embarked on planning for the new urban area. Following an extensive public involvement process, the Pleasant Valley Steering Committee, together with participating Councils and Commissions, endorsed and adopted the Pleasant Valley Concept Plan in 2002, resolving to use it as the basis for future regulations, actions and funding decisions.
Pleasant Valley Plan District
During 2003, Gresham and the City of Portland drafted implementation measures for land use, natural resources, transportation, public facilities, and annexations based on the Pleasant Valley Concept Plan. These draft implementation measures were the basis for a Pleasant Valley Plan District. Gresham City Council adopted the Pleasant Valley Plan District and incorporated it into the City’s Comprehensive Plan in January 2005.
Pleasant Valley Phase I Master Plan
In May 2007, City Council passed a slate of code amendments to the Pleasant Valley Plan District. On July 9, 2007, the Master Plan was presented for decision to the Planning Commission. It passed and became effective on July 23, 2007.
The Pleasant Valley Plan received a Professional Achievement in Planning award from the Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association in 2002. The award was due in part to the extensive public outreach effort that resulted in an innovative plan integrating land uses and the transportation system, while protecting and enhancing the environment. This public outreach plan was developed and executed by a unique task force of citizens and staff.