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Monday, September 12, 2011

Clackamas duelling "urban renewal" measures: Most votes wins

Late last week, the Clackamas County commissioners passed their ballot measure to compete with the citizens' initiative on putting future "urban renewal" expansions to public votes. Both measures will be before the voters in November. The citizens' version, placed on the ballot by petition signatures, calls for a countywide vote any time "urban renewal" zones are created or expanded. The commissioners' version would require such a vote only within the proposed "urban renewal" zone. Since the "urban renewal" zone benefits at the expense of the rest of the county, the commissioners' version is pretty much a rubber stamp compared to the citizens' initiative.

Anyway, the commissioners' original proposal specified that if both measures passed, the commissioners' version would trump the ctiizens'. Well, lo and behold, in their final version, the politicians have backed off that outrageous position. Although it's oddly drafted, there's a clause in their measure that appears to say that the measure with the most votes will win:

And so the commissioners are playing a somewhat less dirty game of pool than they first threatened. Nonetheless, to put a confusing counter-measure on the ballot rather than run a simple "No" campaign is a pretty rotten move. We hope the voters down that way see right through the ruse, and vote to empower themselves to decide the future of the county.

Of course, big money is already lining up on the politicians' side. It didn't help them with their epically failed Sellwood Bridge fee; we'll see if it does them any good on this one.

Comments (15)

Jack, knowing how attorney's can parse words, can "lesser number of votes" be interpreted as not meaning the total of both yes and no votes on either measure versus the total of "yes" votes on either as the basis of counting? To me it is not clear, or certainly could be up for interpretation if someone wanted to challenge it before or after the voting.

I wonder if state statutes regarding rules of statutory construction could be altered to accommodate this creative genius. When two statutory provisions conflict then the parties can just reference the vote margin for each, and if they are not the same then that will settle the matter. But then, how would one resolve a conflict when one measure was an initiative and the other was passed by the legislature?

Gee how shocking.
The early donors are the usual conflicted suspects at the trough.

Light Rail builder:

09/06/2011 Stacy and Witbeck, Inc. ** Cash Contribution $2,500.00

Watch them line up here:


Oregonains to Maintain Community Standards

Here's who they are:

Interesting that a PAC was formed and began collecting donations for the local decoy measure nine days before the Clackamas Commissioners voted to pass it.

The commissioners have to know that even if their measure gets more votes, it will be challenged and found to be unconstitutional at least in part. They are probably trying to backstop and make sure the citizen sponsored measure isn't allowed to go into effect. Remember, no vote at all is what they really wanted all along.

One of the principals of Oregonians to Maintain Community Standards is Bob Shiprack, a construction/labor union attorney.

Committe information -


His Business registry listing -


His profile -

And apparently Bob was seeking appointment to the Metro Council.


Sorry to keep continuing to post on this. I just figured out something else - the other principal with Mr. Shiprack is Donald Burns, who is a partner at Miller Nash - part of the Portland transit mafia and the firm who wrote the opinion for the Clackamas commissioners stating the citizen sponsored urban renewal measure was likely unconstitutional.


"Oregonians to Maintain Community Standards"

You mean Oregonians to keep guys like Shipwrack living off the public dole.

Man, does the log-rolling ever stop? That has to be every union in the state.

Thanks so much for clarifying this Jack. I'd like to know what I'm talking about when I speak to others about what the Clackamas County commissioners are trying to do here.

The whole topic of urban renewal is so complicated and confusing, but thanks to this blog, I feel I understand it enough to know - and explain to others in my community - how it is robbing our schools, public safety and social services.

I believe that Shipwreck's wife, Judy, is now a Multnomah County commissioner.

"I believe that Shipwreck's wife, Judy, is now a Multnomah County commissioner."

In addition to being a grifter on public development money in downtown that she blew on a bad idea.

Very incestuous relationships between several PACs -- Require Local Vote on Urban Renewal follows Oregonians to Maintain Community Standards which succeeds Clackamas County Citizens for Jobs and Safety. They all have the same treasurer and, strangely, each PAC has given money to each of the others -- $5K. I don't know what the point is of trading money between the groups. Maybe someone can enlighten me. While each of the groups overlaps objectives in some way and each has the same or similar donors (unions construction co. and politicians), Clackamas Co. Citizens for Jobs and Safety counts more politicians as donors.

"Clackamas Co. Citizens for Jobs and Safety counts more politicians as donors."

When you have two contractors who are told they will get the Sellwood bridge contract give 25,000 each in early May then later on in July 1 they are awarded the contracts there is less need for the other donors.

But what is the purpose for each PAC giving the others $5k? Why not just keep their own money rather than pass it back and forth? Seems odd.

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