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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 15, 2011 8:42 AM. The previous post in this blog was A classic government bungle in Salem. The next post in this blog is Reader poll: Will Adams serve out full term as mayor?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Day of reckoning in Clackistan

Today is supposed to be the day we find out whether the petition drive was successful to force "urban renewal" onto the countywide ballot in Clackamas County in November. We certainly hope so. "Urban renewal" needs a timeout, throughout the Portland metro area.

Comments (13)

The county commissioners are claiming that the county is legally bound to pay the $25 million because they already agreed to it. If true, that may mean that no matter what the voters say the Clackamas tax payers will end paying for it any way if Tri-Met presses the issue in court. Since county commissioners acting as a body have legal authority to bind the county, I think there is strong argument that the voters can't reverse the lawful commitments made by the commissioners to third parties. It will certainly be interesting to see how all of this plays out if the ballot measure passes.

I have no legal education, but that must be an absurd legal argument or else any elected official could make legally binding financial agreements on behalf of others and be accountable to no one.

There is nothing enforceable in the claim of being legally bound.

The county does not have the money to pay any cooked up way to borrow it against current services property taxes.

If they tell TriMet they are out for the two very good reasons and that is the end of it.

The people of Clackamas County are overwhelmingly opposed to it and the county has no way to pay for it.

The idea that TriMet would press it in court is laughable. All they could do if they went to court is seek some ginned up damages that were never spelled out in any termination clause in the inter-governmental agreement.

Furthermore, TriMet would expose themselves to discovery that would reveal the misrepresentations made when the agreement was signed.

But the commissioners and staff are really angling for a way to screw the voters.
Look at this. They are trying make the county plan to borrow over $100 million into a local plan to spend local money.

http://co.clackamas.or.us/docs/bcc/presentation20110816b.pdf

"TriMet would expose themselves to discovery".
One can only hope.

Yeah Ben, I think the plan there is to argue that only those in the proposed urban renewal area itself should vote on it. A slimy tactic by the county.

I hope the people of the County do the right thing, and if the Board circumvents their intent, that they all get voted out of office.

I find it hard to believe that a people would allow their elected officials to operate their communities like a giant Enron, but I fear that's exactly what has happened in Portland and hope that surrounding communities are paying close attention.

"The people of Clackamas County are overwhelmingly opposed to it and the county has no way to pay for it."

It's interesting that you already know what the people of Clackamas County want before this has even been qualified for the ballot.

That's an easy one Kevin. If the voters were for this the county would of agreed to send it to a vote. Since they are fighting the effort to put it on the ballots they think there is a good chance it will get voted down.

Ben, et al of Clackistan - I hope you are ready for a recall campaign. And good luck (sincerely, I'd like to see a precedent set).

The most astonishing fact to consider is to click onto Ben's citation of the upcoming Aug 16 Clackamas Co. Board of Commissioner's Study Session "Worksheet".

The best summary, mindset of the whole Worksheet is this quote:

"If Petition 3-371 were to become law, voters throughout the County, most with no direct connection to a proposed urban renewal district, would determine how the taxes raised within a proposed district would be spent, instead of as determined by residents and business in that district. This does not allow local residents and business to use the taxes they pay to deal with their own neighborhood's problems."

This is absurd. It's like allowing a developer of a new neighborhood to not connect up to a surrounding city-provided water district and dig there own well. All residents of Clackamas Co. are affected by the "take my ball and go play elsewhere" of their proposed counter urban renewal ballot measure. Having only residents or business of a proposed URA determining if they can take the ball is wrong, especially when it affects the whole county.

The fact is that all property taxes are put into one large pool then distributed. Allowing a "district" to take out a portion of their taxes to the detriment of the whole pool has been misused. If the Commissioners think they haven't been misused then let the voters determine if their arguments that they haven't, or will not be in the future, are legitimate.

The fire districts, school districts, police, parks and other essential services of Clackamas Co. lose millions of dollars of taxes due to urban renewal.

Clackamas Co. Commissioners are proposing a stupendous end-a-round if they vote to put a Snoopy Pull-the-Football trick on the ballot. But it will be legally challenged if they try.

I've sat in their planning sessions before. One of the problems is the commissioners relay on their counsel to give them legal interpretations. I've watched as a commissioner phrases a question in such a way as to get the answer she is looking for. County counsel repeats it back to them without stating a definitive legal opinion on the question, reading the law, etc. The specific event I am thinking of, everyone with common sense knew exactly what the law and the OAR said - the commissioner said "I think that means we can..." something completely different than what the law said. County counsel wants to stay employed, and therefore simply reads the statute and OAR again instead of telling the commissioner "that's obviously not what it said".

Clackamas County commissioners live in an echo chamber. They aren't interested in opinions outside their own. They aren't interested in the wishes of the people. The only exception to this so far is Paul Savas, who narrowly defeated establishment incumbent Bob Austin. The next several months are really going to see some interesting developments in Clackamas County politics.

Sorry to say: http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-city/index.ssf/2011/08/clackamas_county_urban_renewal_initiative_signatures_come_up_short_might_not_qualify_for_ballot.html

It doesn't look good.

However, the O's biased reporting is sickening.

"If passed, the initiative could endanger Clackamas County's ability to fulfill its $25 million commitment to the Portland-Milwaukie light rail project and make it harder for the county to create the special tax districts. "


"Endanger" is such a loaded word. And the point of the petition is to in fact cut the MLR off at the stem. I wish their were journalists in this city who knew what the word journalism entails.


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