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Monday, May 28, 2012

Clacky sheriff siding with rebels

Down in Clackamas County, where a taxpayer rebellion against "urban renewal" is in full swing, the county sheriff is calling for the county commissioners to consider pulling out of the Milwaukie MAX project because of the negative impact it will have on public safety. In a May 10 e-mail message to the commission, Sheriff Craig Roberts wrote in part:

I am neither in favor, nor opposed, to the expansion of mass transit — provided that sufficient resources are made available to ensure the safety of the public. However, the budget implications of this decision [to fund the proposed MAX line] concern me deeply.

In order to pay for its $25 million share of the Orange Line, the Board of County Commissioners will have to allocate $1.9 million from the general fund each year for the next 20 years to cover the debt service. It is my understanding that this money will come from property taxes that are currently paid into the urban renewal district around Clackamas Town Center, which is set to expire in 2013.

Those of us in public safety have been waiting three decades to see the benefits of the expiration of this urban renewal effort, and the need is especially acute at this moment in the county’s history. Since fiscal year 2007-08, our budget allocation from the county’s general fund has fallen far behind allocated costs, emergency dispatch rates — even inflation!

After making do for years with innovative cost cutting — as well as reductions in the training we provide for our deputies and other measures — last year we had to eliminate 18 FTE and had our first layoff in more than a decade. Having twice voted to support a public safety levy, this is clearly not the direction the citizens of Clackamas County want to see for their Sheriff’s Office.

The construction of the Orange Line may well be a worthwhile public project. However, it does not exist in a vacuum — moving ahead with light rail will mean moving backwards on public safety, and likely other basic services to county residents.

I urge you to recognize that the initial planning for this project was developed years ago, when the local and national economy were much stronger. Since then, our economic situation has deteriorated drastically, and so I urge you to take a fresh look at whether or not this project is still in the county’s best financial interest before the full-funding grant agreement is signed.

More commentary from Roberts to the commissioners is here.

Comments (18)

Since several parts of the 9 CoP/PDC Agreements in SoWhat have been reneged, Clackamas Co has a problem with their argument that the MLR Agreement can't be reneged.

Sheriff Roberts has a well founded basis recognizing public safety trumps MLR at this time, and maybe anytime.

"I am neither in favor, nor opposed..."

But here's 5 paragraphs about why I'm opposed. Ha! Love it.

But here's 5 paragraphs about why I'm opposed. Ha! Love it.

Right, because if someone opposes expensive, obsolete rail transit, they must be against all transit.

I guess Sherrif Roberts got his answer. 13 days after his email the commissioners signed their agreement with Trimet to commit $25m to the light rail project. That's a pretty loud in-your-face response to a responsible plea.

The Full Funding Grant Agreement was not a commitment of the $25 million.
It doesn't fund and is only between TriMet and the FTA.
Having all the partners sign the big cardboard mock FFGA was only for show.
More deceitful political theater.
The 2010 Inter-Governmental Agreement was the only agreement Clackamas County signs.
And that IGA is a fatally flawed political agreement that can easily be politically terminated any time up to handing over the $25 million. It has a termination clause.

This press release came this morning.

For Immediate Release
Monday, May 28, 2012

Is Clackamas County Trading Public Safety for Light Rail?

Through a FOIA request, the chief petitioners for the Clackamas Rail Vote Measure 3-401 received copies of a letter from Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts to the Board of County Commissioners and the text of Sheriff Roberts’ testimony to the County Budget Committee, expressing his deep concern about the implications of the Portland Milwaukie Light Rail project (PMLR) for public safety and other basic County services. (These are included below.)

The alarming information contained in these documents strikes at the very core of why the chief petitioners support a public vote on PMLR. Clackamas voters who overwhelmingly supported a public safety levy last November were not voting to free up county funding for light rail. As the sheriff stated, “…moving ahead with light rail will mean moving backwards on public safety….”

The Board of County Commissioners is ready to trade voter approved public safety for a non-voter approved light rail project. This is unacceptable. The county cannot afford to participate in the PMLR as intended. The only option is to withdraw from the Inter-Governmental Agreement and urge TriMet to scale back the project.

The Portland to Milwaukie Light Rail Project is too big, too costly, at the wrong time, with inadequate funding and lacking public support. An optional phasing of the project to terminate at Tacoma Street will reduce the financial burden for all the local partners and allow time for future economic growth to provide the adequate funding and public support not currently available.

We thank Sheriff Roberts for his dedication to public safety. We need more elected officials who are willing to stand up for the priorities defined by the voters.

Jim Knapp, Oak Lodge Water District
Mary Olson, Lake Oswego City Councilor
Steve Spinnett, Mayor of Damascus

Chief Petitioners Measure 3-401

Contact: maryolson@northwest.com or 503-522-6424

I wonder if fiat is ever discussed in civics classes these days.

It's as if he's channelling Ted Wheeler: substantive logic without the flourish.

Here's the kicker, "...the Clackamas Town Center {URD}, which is set to expire in 2013. Those of us in public safety have been waiting three decades to see the benefits of the expiration of this urban renewal effort..."

How does the public benefit if URD's are never allowed to expire? Answer: they don't. It's just a piggy bank for developers to divert rising property taxes from the general fund to their own developments and improvements.

We copy California's emissions requirements, why not follow their example on Urban Renewal?

Another example of, "you may be right, but don't bother me with the facts. We worship the god of money and that money comes on a chariot of rails."


I'm sorry Sheriff, but did someone actually tell you that an Urban Renewal District would be allowed to expire?

Ha ha ha! And you believed that? Hee hee.

What are civics? Perhaps you mean "social studies"? :)

Actually the county passed a resolution last year the same day they put decoy ur measure on ballot, commiting to letting it expire in an effort to deflate the opposion to ur.

Rail Vote,
Do you have a link to the 2010 agreement between Clack Co and Trimet? I can't find it.

Finally, a local leader with wisdom. Thank you Sheriff Craig Roberts.

The PMLR IGA is here:


It has a termination clause.
7.4 Termination.

Snards -
According to the Clack. Co. Board website, http://www.co.clackamas.or.us/docs/bcc/packet020410.pdf.
the matter of the contract with Trimet came before the board for approval on 2/4/2010. The meeting packet has a letter of recommendation from staff with a notation that an attachment was provided. However, no attachment was posted as part of the packet materials.

The signer on the staff letter was Elissa Gertler, Director of Public and Government Affairs. Her phone number is: 503-655-8751. At the bottom of the letter of recommendation, under the "Attachment" notation was a small bax with the wording, "For more information on this issue please contact Dan Johnson at 503-742-4325.".

As far as I can tell, not including a referenced contract or agreement is highly unusual. If you get hold of this item, I hope you share with Jack any pertinent details that will be of interest to us all. Thanks!

Oops! Rather embarrassing for me. I didn't see the reply with the doc. Website before I posted. Thanks Rail Vote for the reading material!

Thanks guys!

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