Local News

Jun 18, 2014 4:36 PM by Janine Reyes

Portland Preparing for Big Boom in Population

PORTLAND -- Last night we updated you on Austria's largest U.S. investment moving into Portland's backyard. They aren't the only industrial company coming into town.

Portland is expecting a boom in the small city's growth.

For the last decade, growth has been steady, at about .5% to 1.5% each year. But in the next 12-18 months, that growth is anticipated to increase up to 2.5%

If you take a look at almost any corner of town, it's pretty clear to see. There's an Applebee's and a Walgreens under construction now. Academy moved in not too long ago and a new strip mall is about 90% full.

Neighborhoods are growing, too. Two home developers have lot after lot being prepped for new houses.

Completed homes don't stay on the market long, and rentals in the city are hard to find these days.

Portland's Police Chief Gary Giles is hoping more officers will be coming too, to bolster his current full-time force of 27.

"When you have a new big box store coming in, some of the things that happen is we have an increase in shoplifting cases, we have an increase in responses to those areas," he explained.

But, those who work in the city say more people won't mean more problems, because of designs already in place.

"Ordinances are very strict for a reason and as long as we continue to manage it, we're still going to have the nice, quaint, homey feel of Portland," Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce Colette Walls explained.

Chief giles says, right now, neighbors play a role in making sure their community stays quaint and quiet by reporting any problems to police. He believes growth will attract more people to help out.

"If we have all these eyes out in the community that will call the police department when there's a problem, that puts 17,000 more police officers in the city of Portland," Giles explained.

Beyond safety and space, the city added other necessities in anticipation of growth.

"We've attempted to make sure that water and sewer is built out to potential areas where potential growth will occur," City Manager Randy Wright said. There's also been a recent upgrade of streets and other infrastructure.

Walls says two hotels have broken ground in the city, one of them is an extended stay facility, perfect to provide long-term options for construction crews helping build the new industrial sites near the city.

"There's a lot of growth and we're ready for it," Walls said.


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