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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 19, 2011 8:16 AM. The previous post in this blog was The real deal. The next post in this blog is Super Carole 'fesses up, pays up. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sir Isaac weighs in on Clackamas "urban renewal" votes

And he sees it the way we do: yes on 3-386 and no on 3-388. "I got the impression," he writes, "that the supporters of 3-386 (countywide voting) understand urban renewal and don't like it, while the supporters of 3-388 (district voting only) like urban renewal but don't understand it."

Comments (19)

... while the Oregonian editorial board likes urban renewal but doesn't understand it.

Good piece by Isaac, but he draws one distinction that is not valid'

"They are taking some future tax revenues from other jurisdictions, but they aren't imposing an additional burden on the other residents of the county."

There is certainly the burden of replacing the revenues taken and Isaac recognizes it further down.

"In effect the people outside the urban renewal district subsidize providing urban services to the people inside the district"

One of the most telling elements of this battle is the donors to the County's competing measure.

And why is it appropriate for utitlies to use rate payer money to defeat voters?

Oregon Iron Works [Streetcar manufacturer] $10,000
Providence Health & Services $5000
NW Natural Gas $2500
Portland General Electric $3000
Waste Management $2000
Walsh Construction $1000
Yes For Transit $3500
Oregon AFSCME $2500
Oregonians to Maintain Community Standards $5000

Isaac has it right. And there is much more to be said in his arguments to vote Yes on 38SIX and no on 38EIGHT.

If a neighborhood, a rural area, a Clackamas County city has needs, wants to improve something in any which way, they all have the ability of forming LID-Local Improvement District which requires only 50% approval of those in their proposed LID district. Oregon statutes allows for such.

That is the answer to 38EIGHT proponents who say all citizen of the County who pay for a Urban Renewal Area shouldn't vote on a proposal. They are saying only those within a proposed URA gets to vote while requiring all the remaining County who pays to shut up.

Not fair. 38EIGHT is taxation without representation.

The eye opener for me was when Wilsonville tried to create a URA that consisted of only one building. They wanted to do that to hand out money to a "green" energy company.

So who would get to vote for approval under 3-388 when the proposed URA doesn't include any people?

The whole URA game smells funny to me. I don't really understand it, and I don't intend to spend the time to understand it, but it appears to be a shell game played with taxpayer money.

Ben, you're right; I was referring only to physical burdens, in the sense that a URA that doesn't attract new development doesn't send more children to public schools or require more policing. It does move part of the existing financial burden from one place to another, but it doesn't increase the overall financial burden on local governments.

Here is a link to an article on the Wilsonville proposal. The city wanted to create a URA that consisted of one building. Under 3-388 I guess that means that nobody needs to vote on it? Or maybe just the owner of the building gets to vote? Funny how those details get left out of the voter guide.


I thought that was your rationale. Just wanted to add and clarify.

Clackmas County has been a major abuser of Urban Renewal.
More than all other counties combined and second only to Portland.
In total the county, along with it's cities, the surge of abuse will make the current county/city loss of $30 million/year to UR debt grow much larger.

Too bad county voters didn't intervene sooner.

Around 2005 their now 30 year old Clackamas Town Center UR District borrowed $39.3 million for the MAX Green line & borrowed $20 million to expand and upgrade the Town Center Mall.

UR doesn't get any more wrong than that.
Even UR proponents and major consultants have stated UR should not be used for Light Rail or municipal building such as City Halls etc.
That falls on deaf ears.

Not suprising the county's UR brochures make no mention of their UR funding of the MAX Green Line or the pilfering of property taxes to pay if off.

After all they are trying to pretend they hadn't intended on using UR for Milwaukie Light Rail.
Even though they had taken board action to start the UR use clear back in Jan. of 2010 and touted it up until the UR initiative got in their way.

Now they playing games with a non-binding (new year's eve)resolution claiming they won't use new UR for MLR.
But with the rigged vote 3-388 they can draw a line around their friends and let only them vote to approve it.

From Clackamas County's website Q&A about Urban Renewal:

Why is Urban Renewal listed on my property tax statement even if I don’t live in an urban renewal district?

"Property tax payers have “Urban Renewal” listed on their yearly property tax statements – even if their property is outside of an urban renewal district – because state law (Measure 50) requires that funds raised for urban renewal be specified on tax statements. The amount listed does not reflect additional taxes paid by the property owner or any other property owner; rather it is a reflection of the amount of tax the overlapping taxing districts are temporarily investing in urban renewal."

I love the County's use of "temporarily investing" as opposed to "subsidizing".

All through the Voter Pamphlet proponents for 388, denying the whole county to vote on an urban renewal area, state that "local control" is needed.

Besides the ability of forming a LID there is also the ability to form a Bond Measure to do what a URA can do, just like school districts do, to meet their concern of "local control".

The claim of "local control" is bogus. Besides the opposing Measure 386 doesn't apply to the 16 cities within Clackamas Co. They have their ability to form URA's with their citizen's input. What's the beef?

Andy says: The eye opener for me was when Wilsonville tried to create a URA that consisted of only one building. They wanted to do that to hand out money to a "green" energy company.

Which sound a lot like Scam Adams scheme for "micro" urban renewal areas.

"Micro" urban renewal, "satellite" urban renewal -- it's all abusive. "Urban renewal" in Portland has been distorted far beyond its original intent and needs to be shut down.

Anytime any politician starts talking about a "micro" urban renewal area, it's safe to assume there's a designated beneficiary hidden in the details.

I wonder what I have to do to get my home designated a "micro" urban renewal area?

Wait, on second thought, never mind.

Mr. Grumpy - the bar for what constitutes a blighted area is pretty low. I think just about anyone's home could be considered blighted if the criteria is that by renewing it, the value, thus the taxes on it would go up. Where do I sign up?

What surprised me about the Wilsonville plan for a single building URA was how angry the supporters became when questioned. The fact that the supporters became so hysterical so quickly led me to think that someone must have been getting a "taste" of the action. Had it just been a technical solution to a problem they would not have been so emotionally attached. And then I saw the same sort of emotional reaction by the county when 3-386 was proposed. The county freaked out and immediately rushed a new proposal onto the ballot. There must be a reason the pols are fighting so hard for UR. They must be getting their pockets lined or else this is the way they line the pockets of their friends. I can't think of any other reason why they fight so hard for such a technical and quirkly process.

Talking about "blighted" areas and "micro" areas, consider this fact. The US Bank Tower-Big Pink is in an URA. It was put in, after it was even built, with gerrymandering of the UR boundary. The URA wanted the tax dollars generated by the increasing value of the building.

What a deal that is still today stealing tax dollars from schools, fire, police, parks. Do you think Big Pink and the transit mall it sits on is a "blighted area"? This a crowning example of the misuse of urban renewal and why Jack's comment makes sense. Shut it down as it is practiced.

Jack: No surprise, but Pamplin Media's Lake Oswego Review reliably came out for 3-388. They are such a rubber stamp for going against the wishes of the people.

That tower was built after the UR district was drawn around the first phase low rise was just built knowing th tower was coming.

The tower has been in UR TIF with all of it's taxes going to UR debt ever since it was built.

Gosh, I'm sorry. I think I almost did a JeanneHarrisism: "Gavel Down" now we have "Shut-er-down"

When the "Keep Oregon Blue" advocates cry foul, you've got to think "turn out the lights, the party's..."

Here's my report from the citizen's brigades, as posted on Jim Huffman's site.


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Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
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