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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Gloves coming off in MAX expansion battles

The unholy alliance of apartment developers, construction companies, union bosses, and local politicians that is trying to force more MAX trains on the Portland suburbs really has its hands full these days. It's battling local initiatives that would shut off the flow of property tax funds into the light rail maw without a public vote, and at the same time it's trying to get puppets placed or confirmed in local elective offices. The rail mafia seems particularly enamored with Dave Hunt, Charlotte Lehan, Martha Schrader, and Jamie Damon in the Clackamas County commission races.

Lately the rail birds have been throwing around the "T" word, as in Tea Party, to describe the candidates who oppose local spending on more mystery trains. They've got to be kidding with that tactic. Let's be honest, folks -- you don't have to be in the Tea Party to come to your senses about the massive damage being done to the region's transit system, and the area's public finances, by the apartment builders and rail construction types. The Portland area already has enough trains to last us a long, long time. Even Democrats can decide that they've had enough MAX goofiness until real things around here get better.

The "T" word's a bit of a disgrace in Portland proper. But as we've noted before, in Clackamas County, it doesn't get the knee-jerk negative reaction that it gets among the Mississippi hipsters. It's like yelling, "Boo! Loren Parks!" Voters in the boonies could care less. And so the branding isn't going to do much good in the places where the apartment cabal needs the most help.

Meanwhile, the Clackistani rebellion is spreading to Tigard, Tualatin, King City, and Sherwood. Like Clackamas County and Milwaukie, those places are apparently going to have ballot initiatives of their own, requiring a local vote before local money is spent on MAX trains. That will throw a monkey wrench into the Blumenauering machine, for sure.

With the local autonomy movement spreading beyond the jurisdiction of the Clackistani rebels, readers have been wondering how we should refer to the new activist group in Washington County. So far the best we can come up with is something along the lines of the Barburian Uprising.

Comments (31)

Ah, democracy. Still the best antidote to pushy capitalism.


For making a monolithic bloc, us voters out here in the boonies would like to hook up with those voters in the bonnies, and it'd be appreciated if someone could make those introductions.

How about,"The Light-Rail Rebellion"?

"The Barburian Uprising" is quite apropos.

Tri-Met = Circus MAXimus.

Istanbul Not Constantinople
TMBG live

Under MetroRebellion
have county initials:


This is more than light rail, this is an issue of adding extreme density, congestion, and more controls upon the people while losing open space, the character of neighborhoods and livability. The outlying areas cannot help but see what a mess has been made in Portland and they want no part of it.

I cannot believe that the Milwaukie Elks building would ever be taken down
for ubiquitous housing!
But this is part of the ridiculous planning, get rid of something of value and then what?
In future years ask the community for more bond money and debt to build a new community center?

In the building is an eight lane bowling alley that is so fine, it could be brought into the Smithsonian Institute as it has significant history.
The building has great meeting rooms.
I hope the community can gain membership to save this.

Even though light rail always gets presented as a panacea to transportation problems, what it's really about is rezoning where you live and implementing controls on where you can go, when you can go there, and how much you'll have to pony up to go anywhere. Only people who haven't lived here long enough to see for themselves, or who are tuned out on the downward spiral of Portland, or who profit from it, support it and buy into the scam.

Dave Hunt, Charlotte Lehan, Martha Schrader, and Jamie Damon have been and are opposed to the entire rebellion in Clackamas County.
They deserve no more than the total of 30% of votes against the Urban Renewal initiative measure that passed by 70%.

However, all of those establishment rail mafia county commissioner candidates reveal nothing about their real selves in the voters pamphlet.

Each and every one of them has created a false caricature of themselves for voters to be deceived. They are no better than Sam Adams lying to get elected.

So it will a tough thing to let voters know them as they are so they can vote under accurate impressions.

All of the information I have seen clearly identifies the truly reliable "rebel" candidates to be John Ludlow for chair, Jim Knapp for position 3 and any one of Tootie Smith, Dan Holladay or John Swanson for position 4.

This is of course the worst nightmare for the TriMet rail, Metro planner mafia those other establishment candidates represent.

Anyone who wants real region wide reform sooner rather than later should be spreading the word about the real rebels to make sure they completely take over Clackamas Cunty.
When that happens massive regional reform becomes inevitable.

It's just that simple. This election, that county and it's trouble right there in river city.

Yes there is trouble in river city.
There is a grand opportunity for Portland residents to clear the deck for three new votes for the public interest. There are five votes and three are needed to make a positive change in city council. Mayor and two Commission positions are up in this May election.
My hope is that residents of Portland do realize and look very closely at this opportunity and find out which candidates will serve the public interest.

Went to the SOS web site and could not tell that the petitions were approved as of yet. Would appreciate a listing if someone has it for the Barburian Revolt.

I think that they should be called the Chai Party, a much more hipster progressive urban chic version of those hicksters who populate the Tea Party. Who would drink Tea Tea when you can drink Chai Tea? Especially farm-fresh, organic, sustainable, no-leaves-were-harmed Portlandia local Chai Tea.

The Hip Chai Party is what's wrong with Portland government.....

Barburian Uprising is hard to beat but they could receive reinforcements from the Burlingang, whose headquarters at at Fred Meyer.

Teresa et al,
The 4 SW Corridor city rail vote initiatives were only filed last Friday. It will take 3-4 week to get final approval of the ballot titles and signature sheets for circulating.

I will be happy to see this put up for a vote in Tigard. Repeatedly, the good residents of Tigard have understood that not only is 99W a top priority problem; but MAX will not only not solve those problems but make the problems worse. 99W is a regional highway, when coupled with Highway 18 stretches from Interstate 5 to U.S. 101 - some 80 miles of a major through route connecting Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill, Polk and Lincoln Counties, along with a significant portion of Tillamook County. 99W itself also serves Benton and a small part of Lane County.

Building MAX won't reduce any of the congestion caused by folks not travelling in the narrow Tigard-Portland segment. Nor will it even effectively serve those in and around Tigard - the four top transit served (or potentially served) destinations wouldn't be served by MAX (Washington Square, Bridgeport Village, Kruse Way business area, and PCC Sylvania). Nor would Tigard High School, Tualatin, Murrayhill, the 72nd Avenue industrial area, or Lake Grove. MAX wouldn't do a damned thing about Highway 217 traffic - we blew $165 million on WES and it hasn't done a single thing either.

TriMet and Metro ought to note that it was the City of Tigard that paid several million dollars to widen a portion of 99W in downtown Tigard - never mind the fact that both Highway 99W and Hall Boulevard are STATE HIGHWAYS and ODOT didn't pay; that both roads are regional routes and Metro (which controls regional transportation funding) didn't pay. Tigard paid for it and Washington County managed the project. That shows that we local residents are willing to step forward when the regional "leaders" refuse to acknowledge the problems.

And a meeting I went to a couple years ago with Metro and TriMet's finest and brightest...I noted a lot of E-plated cars in the parking lot while I rode the 76 bus to the Tigard Public Library. One Metro staffer tried to tell me that the purpose of a bus was to be a feeder to other transit modes. I very directly pointed out to her that the 12 bus is no feeder - it's a mainline bus. It is our MAX line. She had to back down very quickly when she clearly didn't understand how transportation works in Tigard. And yet she wants to dictate how it should work?

Light rail won't solve a single problem. It's time that Metro realizes that it is a Metro government and not an extension of Sam Adams' City Hall. Washington County would be wise to vote Metro out, vote TriMet out - because the county is more than capable of running its own transit service - and do it better and cheaper than TriMet. And even retain the union employees and union wages, and it'd still be better and cheaper.

Actually, the WashCo folks already have come up with a name: the Washington Army.

It's kind of amusing that the jammers want to use Tparty as a bogeyman, given that the 70% victory in Clackistan clearly involved a lot of Democrat and Independent votes. So if you voted against the "planners" you're a Tpartier? Too funny!

Living near the WashCo line, I plan to assist in the defunding effort. There's no point in trying to work with SWNI - they're in the tank for trains.

Elsewhere, in another Clackamas County metropolis, Molalla, the misuse of funds has apparently been the norm:

"Tiffany Couch, with the Vancouver-based auditing firm Acuity Group, will present her findings at the City Council meeting Wednesday night.

Couch said the city used system development charges -- fees paid by contractors and used to pay for roads or other public improvements -- to finance projects that were not in the city's capital improvement plan, a violation of the law.

In addition, Couch's investigation hints that the violations were no accident.

'It appears there was some knowledge they were using some funds for unauthorized purpose, based on my interviews with other employees,' Couch said. 'I have emails from 2009 from concerned constituents contacting the city and the auditor saying we need to look into this.'"

Gardiner Menefree, you bring up a good point about misuse of SDC charges. It applies to Portland too, which the attorneys representing the water/sewer lawsuit, I hope, are exploring. I haven't seen it mentioned in the posted briefs.

Case in point is the SoWhat URA. Sewer/water SDC charges have been confiscated to pay for other non-related projects like the $10 Million Sam stole from SoWhat SDCs for the Milwaukie Lightrail.

There's also the legal issue of how SDC charges are waived for some, or reduced for others, but charged full bore to many. That's a fact that has serious legal and ethical implications.

Back to the Barburian Uprising.

Eric and others, I disagree-Barbur/99 Lightrail WOULD solve several problems. The accompanied LIDs would create more tax dollars for government to peddle some off to lightrail and any other paybacks needed buy support.

Lightrail would create more density with more building heights with buildings required to be right up to the sidewalks so that vehicles would be hidden in the back. Sun exposure within the corridor would be greatly reduced creating less skin cancer. Parking problems would increase meaning parking meter districts adding to government revenues.

Vehicle traffic would be greatly enhanced with crowding, slowing down trip times, causing more air pollution, creating more health problems for increased medical care helping the medical industry.

Trip times to outlying suburbs, Polk and Lincoln counties would be increased slowing down development and their economies while (they theorize) helping the economy of what drives Oregon-Portland.

There are so many rewards to lightrail down this corridor. One could even argue that the increased crime could be beneficial because TriMet will promise "enhanced crime deterrence".

Can't wait for the first spike to be put down on the Hwy 99 rail track. I will take great pleasure in ripping it right out, delivering it to ex-mayor Dirksen's house and driving it into his front lawn.
Sound a little Tea Party-ish in my opposition to this future fiasco? G..D... Right!!

I hear they chose Portland for that new movie "Soviet World" where Stalin's illegitimate child grows up to be mayor of portland.

lw - I love it!

Don't forget the reduction in fertilizer sales as residential yards and gardens will be eliminated, with a corresponding drop in outdoor water usage. With less fresh fruits and vegetables, there will be greater junk food consumption leading to more disease - we better build a hospital in Tigard right on the MAX line! There's 5,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs created by MAX.

Jack, your naming works, but maybe the meaning of Metro/Portland Planners "Railvolution" has changed. Railvolution best describes what is happening.

I think westanistas fits!

Let's see...The Milwaukie line will carve up a chunk of 99E and the Westside line would carve up much of 99W.

If you combine all the crony capitalists and bureaucrats with the new transit riders that will regularly use either line, I suspect that we'll find that less than 1% of folks in either county will directly benefit from the projects (since most new MAX transit riders will come from current bus transit riders).

So I have to ask:

Isn't this an example of 1% benefiting from the demise of the 99's?

Maybe conservatives and liberals can form a coalition to Occupy Trimet.

Isn't this an example of 1% benefiting from the demise of the 99's?

Sure does look like it!

The schemes have gone on for years, in my view, our community cannot afford them anymore.

Erik H.,
Can designated highways even be used like this?
Are they not to remain in place for transporting goods, and emergency vehicles if needed or if people need to vacate the city for some reason?

New name: The 99 Screwylution

Sorry about the double posting. Post comes on that comment can't be posted now, "try later".

Can designated highways even be used like this?

That's a good question. The Milwaukie Line will be separated from 99E so unfortunately the question won't come up with that project.

There was no issue with the original MAX line to Gresham, or the Westside expansion that used unused highway right-of-way and didn't remove highway capacity. Same with the Red and Green Lines.

However...with the Yellow Line - that project did require the City of Portland to take jurisdiction of Interstate Avenue from ODOT (which was also considered part of Oregon 99W). But that wasn't such an issue as Interstate Avenue functionally was a city street; there are multiple other alternate routes, and the road itself was well below capacity.

But Barbur Boulevard and Pacific Highway (99W) in S.W. Portland and Tigard aren't the same as Interstate Avenue. From I-5 to Oregon 217, 99W carries over 50,000 average daily vehicles a day - Oregon's busiest - if not one of the busiest - five lane roads. Eliminate two lanes and where will that traffic go? Onto an already congested I-5? 72nd Avenue? Taylors Ferry Road?

99W is also a National Highway System component road which leaves the question as to whether TriMet even has the right to take that away. Would the NHS road just end in Sherwood - with no connection to anywhere else? Is it a good idea to foresake federal highway funding for a major regional route connecting Portland with the central coast? Or will this just necessitate a new highway -- you heard it right, MAX inducing highway construction demands. Kind of an ironic argument on the MAX side that MAX will reduce the need for new highways, when in fact it would actually require a new highway and potentially the widening of I-5 (and that would require a complete rebuild of the I-5/217 interchange - one that was already rebuilt years ago).

Of course my proposal for a Tigard MAX line running it as a subway would negate that, as my suggestion would keep MAX separate from 99W - in fact 99W and MAX would only be within sight of each other for about a quarter mile from Highway 217 to Dartmouth Street (around Costco). But the MAX planners want a "visible" MAX that interfaces with the land use, rather than one that simply is transportation minded. Forget that my proposal would ensure MAX effectively serves PCC Sylvania, the Barbur Transit Center, Multnomah Village, Hillsdale and OHSU - and the current MAX proposal would serve only the Transit Center.

Surely you jest?

Subway? What for? People are not opposed to MAX simply because it is above the ground or that it may take road lanes.
Far from it.
It's outrageously expensive and devours massive sums needed elsewhere.

The public will NOT cough up new $ for crap they do not want.

Then there is the crime and whole planning farce that comes with that also cost huge sums.

But this is all why people should be able to VOTE.

I see no scenario where the voters would ever approve another rail transit line in the region. It doesn't matter where it is or what it is. WES, MAX, Streetcar or Subway.


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