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Monday, August 8, 2011

Clackamas commissioners hissing like cornered nutria

It's been amusing to watch as the average Joe and Jane in Clackamas County realize that their home turf is being turned into Portland. They're getting Blumenauered with bike paths, hit up in their car registration fees for a bridge in another county, and now being saddled with "urban renewal" -- the sucking of their property taxes for developer boondoggles such as streetcars and MAX trains.

Some of them are fighting back, including at the ballot box. Lately the opponents have killed the car registration fee for the bridge, interred "urban renewal" in Tualatin, and chased a heavily subsisdized solar energy project out of Wilsonville and all the way to north Portland. Now they're pushing back on the insane Milwaukie MAX with a ballot measure that would throw a money wrench into the "urban renewal" machinery that is needed to pay for the train.

The measure, for which signatures are currently being collected, would require big urban renewal decisions in the county to be put up for a public vote county-wide. The measure might actually make it onto the November ballot, and if it does it stands a good chance of passage.

So what do the county commissioners, who are pushing "urban renewal," do -- prepare a spirited "no" campaign? That would be fighting much too fairly. Instead, they'll confuse everybody with a competing ballot measure, which requires much less voter approval, and put a clause in it that says if both measures pass, the wimpier one prevails:

Meanwhile, Clackamas County’s legal counsel is working on its own measure that legal representative Scott Sedaris says would negate the one Williams is spearheading.

"If both were approved, we would have a provision in ours that says ours trumps," Sedaris said, before joining commissioners in laughter.

According to Dan Chandler, the county’s newly appointed strategic policy administrator, the preliminary idea is to create a measure that would require votes only from those within the boundaries when a URA is created or amended, and not from the entire voting population.

The reasoning, according to Chandler, is that officials would be challenged to convince voters in one area to approve a plan that would only benefit another.

As well they should be challenged. "Urban renewal" robs property taxes from all over the county, directly or indirectly.

The commissioners' strategy of dueling measures is hardly new, but it's a perversion of the initiative process. Laughing about it shows a true lack of class. We don't pay a lot of attention to the commissioner races down that way, but something seems really wrong.

Comments (7)

"money wrench" is brilliant.

I wish I could say it was intentional.

Portland's UR is robbing schools, fire departments, social services and police:

Here is where the urban renewal dollars really come from (ONE year!):

City of Portland services.........$20.6 million
Multnomah County services....$13.8 million
Portland School District.........$11.4 million
others...................................$5.4 million
Total of all TIF...................$51.2 million

And it has gone UP since this report

From: http://www.portlandfacts.com/ur/priceofur.htm


Pathetic that people have to deal with these same old tricks.

With Jack's permission, I covered this and contributed the report to Jim Huffman's site.


I just heard the signatures are well past the required 9375 and working towards a comfortable cushion.

As for the competing measure that is laughable. But not for the anti-voter reasons the commissioners and staff were laughing.

They have nothing but some vague hypotehtical notion, their foolish laughter and disdain for the voters.
A ballot measure that does not make.

So absent any plausible angle to use the county has hired outside counsel to look over the initiative petition looking for a wrinkle to exploit.

What a bunch of creeps.

Staff and commissioners have been telling people Urban Renewal pays for itself.

I've seen an interesting question posed.
If they think they can just borrow the money with no way to pay it back but by pilfering the county general fund why didn't they write a check for their Sellwood bridge share? That was an ugent life or death matter according to the Yes campaign and commissioners pushing the fee scam.

Now they need a phony UR ponzie scheme to write a $25 million check for Milwaukie Light Rail so they can pretend they created the money for it out of thin air?

I see one of the usual hacks has moved the TIF graph on the wikipedia page and stuck it down in the critic's section.
It was August 2nd.

I'l bet it was a county UR development agency staffer.

The graph is far more accurate and honest than anything ever produced by a development agency.

God forbid that ideas should compete on their own merit. Yeah, we probably won't be able to shove a project down the public's throat against their will, so let's game the legal system with a bunch of lawyers paid for out of the tax rolls.

And the planner crowd wonders why we hold so much contempt and disdain for them...

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