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Aloha, outcountry

A view in Aloha, on the TV Highway/photo from Wikipedia

It’s a choice you can make, but be aware that there are two sides to it …

One of our favorite area eateries has been Reo’s BBQ, which features southern-style que in the proper manner – only but so many in the Northwest can make that claim. Its current location is in southern Portland, but that’s recent: Until a few months back it was located west of PDX on the Tualatin Valley Highway in the non-city called Aloha.

Aloha is something like White Center southwest of Seattle, or maybe the Southwest Community near Boise – a large mass of population, an urbanized area, that is not a city and doesn’t want to become or join one, however much they may look and act like one. The biggest reason seems to be taxes: Live in the unincorporated county, and property taxes are lower.

That’s one side of the equation. An article on Aloha in this morning’s Oregonian outlines some of the other side.

For example: “In the past 20 years, businesses have closed, leaving boarded-up shells along Tualatin Valley Highway, the blue-collar community’s main artery. Nearly a quarter of the county’s [that would be Washington County, population over a half-million] low-income, public housing is in Aloha. The area lacks sidewalks and nutritious food sources, the county told Metro earlier this year. The county-designated town center is a Big Lots and Little Caesar’s pizza.”

In fact the number of boarded-up businesses has grown around Aloha visibly faster than in most of the cities nearby, from large Portland (about a dozen miles away) on down. A number of them, like Reo’s, have moved on. Necessary services will be improved, from the physical like roads and sidewalks to the professional like safety and law enforcement. The larger cities of Beaverton and Hillsboro, on either side of Aloha, seem to be in better shape. And, the article makes clear, neither is eager to absorb Aloha because the region now would be costly to bring up to standards. (There’s even a running joke between the city officials there – “No, I don’t want it; you take it.)

Are taxes so obviously a detriment to business? Read the article and then consider again.

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