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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Two's a crowd

The folks who are challenging "urban renewal" in Clackamas County are a hardy group, but they may fall into a trap. While they present their proposed ballot measure on "urban renewal" to the public, another petition drive has been mounted a challenge to the $5-a-year vehicle registration fee that Clackamas County has adopted to help Multnomah County rebuild the Sellwood Bridge in Portland.

There will be a lot of overlap between the voters supporting the two proposed measures. And that's where the trap comes in -- the irresistible tendency to lump the two initiatives together.

Putting the two issues side by side on petition tables -- and eventually, many hope, on the ballot -- would be an interesting tactical choice. "If you're mad enough to sign this one, how about that one, too?" In the end, however, the coupling could fatally wound the "urban renewal" measure, which is by far the more important of the pair.

Sure, the $5 fee is easy for the average Joe and Jane to understand, and it will surely gather support from the anti-Portland sentiment that's been stirred up out in the sticks. But the proposed blocking of the vehicle fee is already being crucified in the mainstream media -- "just pennies a day," "shared sacrifice," "70% of the vehicles are from Clackamas County," "a disaster waiting to happen," "people will die," "greenhouse gases," "for the children," "just another mean, libertarian anti-tax measure," yada yada -- and the measure comes across as angry and cheap. We haven't heard the "S" word yet (Sizemore), but you can bet that one will be slung around in due course.

The loud debate on the bridge funding question is likely to drown out most of the discussion of the "urban renewal" issue, which is quite a bit more subtle and could benefit greatly from a quiet, sober conversation. It would be a shame if the "urban renewal" measure got tarred with the same brush as the $5 fee measure, and if both were to fail, it would be a natural assumption that a backlash against the latter hurt the former.

But anyway, good luck to all those who are braving winter cold and year-end distractions to try to stop the Blumenauering of Clackamas County. Holding off the smug weirdness of the Portland theme park at the county line seems like an eminently wise idea.

Comments (55)

I know I'm just one of those "East Coast Elites" that people like to make fun of, but have any alternatives to the $5 fee been proposed? Seems to me that replacing this bridge is pretty important, considering how much it is used.

Seems easy to me Jack. Sign both petitions, vote against both, ask all your friends to do the same. Rinse and repeat.

It's more telling that the scoundrels attempting to smear the fee opponents are the same Light Rail/Urban Renewal proponents pushing all things TriMet and Metro.
There is no question the fee is a swindle to allow Sellwood bridge funding to be moved by Creepy to Milwaukie Light Rail and to establish another venue stream that can be increased and misspent. Commissioners and their pals in city council positions bragged about keeping it, raising it and doling it out for all the Metro type projects they love to waste money on.

Smearing the fee opponents as too stupid to know what $5 dollars is and/or ignorant that the bridge is old is the typical kind of conniving tactic that has only infuriated the opponents and made the effort more inevitable to succeed.

The whole smearing attempt played out here and says it all.


Here's a sampling of what the smear merchants are avoiding.

richard2 December 20, 2010 at 7:40AM

It sure is amazing how this story gets twisted.
Over and over again the $5 dollars, or it's near collapse, or the vital link, or who uses it, or that Multnomah County is stuck with a $19 fee obscures the real oppostion and problem.
Forget all of those. Here is why Clackamas County will not go along with this scheme.
1. Negligence. Portland and Multnomah County have neglected their bridge for decades as they diverted countless millions away from this "vital link" in the past.
2. Continued negligence. Nothing has changed. Portland, Multnomah County, Clackams County and the region are currently planning to divert 100s of millions more from other infrastructure needs to pay for Milwaukie Light Rail.
3. Conniving. Portland Mayor Sam Adams is planning on raiding $20 million from the Sellwood bridge funding for Milwaukie Light Rail.
4. Not a priority. Clackamas County residents do not want the $1.5 Billion Milwaukie Light Rail.
5. Commissioners wrong. Clackamas County commissioners are thumbing their noses at their own county as they misappropriate millions more.
6. The Sellwood Bridge replacement has never been dependent upon a Clackamas County fee. The bridge will get rebuilt without it while officials throw a tantrum.
7. Clackamas residents will pay a share anyway through the ODOT and fed shares.
8. Clackamas residents know the $5 fee will become permanent, increase to $40 and be misappropriated by their commissioners.
9. Portland can pay for their own design. They have selected a new bridge design with same 24 ft of travel lanes and 37 feet of ped/bike surface.
10.Clackamas County residents are rejecting their commissioner's attempt to follow Multnomah County's agenda.

Ben is spot on .... the $5 will grow to $40 and with no sunset clause it will be a cash cow for them to milk whenever they have a pet project the taxpayers don't want.

Of course the 5 bucks is not the point. Clackamas County has always supported local measures for the good of the community. If the Sellwood Bridge was located in Clackamas County it would have been repaired or replaced 10 years ago.

"Blumenauering" as Jack mentioned, seems to be a description of recent decisions made by Clackamas County to follow Portland into a future of failed transportation projects. But one should not equate that with an unwillingness to pay their fair share.

Good luck people of Clackamas County (Clackamites? Clackamanians?). Remember that 90% of all this planning nonsense that Pdxers rave about with utter conviction remains either:

a) Completely unproven on the ground in any measurable way;

b) A proven failure on the ground; or

c) A "success" insofar as the Mayor can show it off to visiting officials as long as the taxpayer keeps subsidizing it forever at great cost and at the expense of more important things

Tommyspoons, you'd think that if keeping the bridge in good repair was so important, Portland and Multnomah County would have been funding that all along. Or, at the very least, that Mayor Creepy wouldn't be raiding the Sellwood bridge funding for $20 million to spend on pyramid building.

There's no reason to believe that the "mere $5" fee is a) temporary, b) fixed at $5 and will never rise, or c) that it is incumbent on Clackamas County in any way to enable Multnomah County/Portland in their idiotic obsession with building pyramids (by whch I mean Milwaukie Light Rail and other stupidities).

Points taken, Mark. But nobody has answered my question: have any fundraising alternatives been made by those opposed to the fee? I've scanned the comment forums of the O, WW, and other publications and I can't find any.


I'll have to call BS on you.
It is implausible that you have missed the alternatives.

It looks like you are planting the false seed of no other sourse.

The $20 million Adams is planning on taking from the Bridge for the Milwaukie Light Rail will cover the entire CC fee portion.

Now how did you miss that when it is in the previous Mark Jones comment you just responded to?

You didn't miss it.

The many other pots of money are mentioned throughout the dispute on story threads. Pots which are staged to be raided for Milwukie Light Rail. 100s of millions in Metro flex funds for Milwaukie Light Rail and nothing for the Sellwood Bridge. That alone could easily
take care of the funding. The lottery is another source. $400 million is set to pay off MLR lottery bonds and nothing for the bridge.

You see the new MLR transit bridge down river is more important than the Sellwood bridge that will kill people if Clackamas doesn't go along with the scam.

See how this works?

Ben, I'm not some troublemaker planting the "false seed of no other sourse". It was my understanding that those other pots of money that you and others have referred to cannot be modified once those funds have been committed. If I'm wrong, so be it.

BTW, I agree with you that the Sellwood Bridge should be replaced instead of building light rail to Milwaukie.

OK tommy.

It was too pat of a pitch, sorry.

No the other pots of money are not locked up at all. Any more than Clackamas County's yet to be secured MLR and Sellwood bridge shares.

In fact every unspent dime of the Milwaukie Light Rail funding would be reallocated if it were halted.

Jack, you make a valid point of the two petitions maybe affecting each other, and negatively . But if the public can be educated beyond what the typical mass media will be regurgitating, then the two petitions have a very good chance. I think most of us can agree that the bridge needs to replaced, but it's the madness of how it's being funded that is disturbing.

First, what does a bridge replacement issue have to do with urban renewal issue? Sam Adams has made the connection because he has foisted in negotiations $20 Million on any cost savings from the bridge budget to help fill in Milwaukie Light Rail budget deficit that is primarily based on local urban renewal dollars. And two of the three urban renewal districts aren't even formed. The public is beginning to understand how projects throughout our region are all intertwined from policy to funding. And they realize that the politicians are playing a ponzi shell game.

The Clackamas vehicle registration fee is projected to generate $22 Million (Nov. 30, Oregonian). It is amazing that this amount is almost the same as the potential $20 Million in design savings that Sam wants to steal for MLR. Why didn't Clackamas Commissioners apply the savings to the bridge budget and not charge the $10 vehicle fee (biannual)? It's a logical question that simpleton citizens are making.

They are also questioning the lack of a sunset clause to the fee. Why not? How can politicians guarantee that the fee will only raise $22 Million, and not be increased?

The Clackamas Co. Urban Renewal petition allowing citizens to vote on whether they want voter approval of new or changed Urban Renewal Districts is a "check and balance" need that is long overdue. Citizens are beginning to realize how UR negatively affects budgets of schools, police, fire, parks and the general budgets-the basic needs that our governments are to provide.

What is wrong with citizens voting on whether they want to obligate themselves and their children to $200 Million to $1 billion or more obligations? I would think that politicians would want these reality checks on urban renewal to help them govern.

Clackamas Co. needs to form another URA to raise their $25 Million portion for MLR. Milwaukie also needs to form a URA for their $5 Million portion. And Lake Oswego is proposing the Foothills URA in downtown to help fund the Portland to LO Trolley. If Commissioner Peterson and others are so sure that they have correctly read citizens' thinking on these issues, then why are they strongly opposing these petitions?

"have any fundraising alternatives been made by those opposed to the fee?"

I'd go to the same place that:
- TriMet got $735M for the new MAX
- CoP got $30M for SW Moody rebuild
- Cop got $10M for Gerding-E, $4M for Homer for SoWa bldg lots, $10M for Paulsen's soccer team
- Metro/CoP and everyone got almost $100M to study the CRC crossing so far.
- Wherever they are getting $80M for the sustainability center.
All without any new taxes. Matter of fact they might see what happened to some of this:
- $700M tobacco settlement
- $1.7M stimulus money
That Oregon received. After all, they're pushing 20 years of knowing the Sellwood needs repairs now and done absolutely nothing besides watching it.

I think the issue is what is priority in our commmunity and I can make a good case the existing Sellwood is more important than some maybe future projects.




"First, what does a bridge replacement issue have to do with urban renewal issue?"

It freezes any property tax income in whichever URD uses TIF. So you'd better hope anything like schools or bridges don't need property tax income to make them work - or you have 0% expense increases for 20+ years (let me know if they've ever killed an URD).

"What is wrong with citizens voting on whether they want to obligate themselves"

That'd be great, but we never get to vote on boondoggles like MAX or the Convention Center, because they know it'd go down in flames.

I'd be grateful for a link to the study that says 70% of all trips across the Sellwood bridge originate or end in Clackamas County.

It is being bandied about like it is gospel. And what about Washington County residents?

And what happens to the $5.00 fee once the $22mm is acheived?

The Other Steve:

It can't be coincidence or mass lunacy for everyone to expect that $5 will remain and will be simply diverted to another "worthy public project" once this one has been paid for.

I have heard that 70% figure thrown around for years. I also once heard there were legitimate questions of its validity (for example, when did they conduct the "survey" - I am thinking this is just like Portland's famous bicycle riding census that only counts sunny days in August).

Separately, let's assume 70% of the trips start or finish in Clackamas County. That means (a) Clackamas residents driving to Portland for work or shopping and Portland would get the tax revenues or (b) Portland residents traveling to Clackamas for work or shipping and they would presumably spend some of their earnings back at home.

Adams ---> Ahab
Portland ---> Pequod
Rail ---> whale (rhymes!)

Some of you act like poor old Clackamas County is being held hostage by the evil liberals of Multnomah County and if it weren't for that, why, they'd have their own wonderful bridge and would take better care of it than any bridge EVER in their non-freak-show, salt-of-the-earth way.

I sat in on the early rounds of Sellwood Bridge replacement/repair meetings and can tell you that Metro's first pass definitely stressed the proposal that a new Clackamas County bridge be added to the region (with all Metro residents footing the bill). Why didn't they do this? well, it was simply OUTRAGEOUS that anyone build a bridge through Waverley Country Club (from 224), into Lake Oswego, or basically anywhere else next to the Willamette. Clackamas County politicians and residents made it clear that would NEVER fly.

I also wonder if most people who doubt the 70%-of-trips-start-or-end-in-Clackamas are clear on just where the east end of the bridge is. It's pretty much at the southern edge of East Portland, and if you're going half a mile or so further north, even to Bybee Blvd, it generally makes more sense to take the Ross Island Bridge because the streets around it are faster. At the east end of the bridge, most traffic is going to (or coming from) 99E to the south or 224 to the east, both in Clackamas County. 70% is totally believable.

(If you want to look at waste for this project, take a look at why we need an enormous interchange at the west end. But overall, it's a deal compared to a lot of other public and private projects.)

And it'd be an even better "deal" if they would just fix the bridge and not waste money, in this economy, to dress it up with extras. I would like to see an estimate that tosses out the interchange, extra wide bike lanes (for the handful of people would would even use them), and aesthetics. Perhaps we wouldn't need to tax $5 per year here and $38 per year there ...

Julie, I frequently make trips from my home and business in the Johns Landing area across the Sellwood. I visit my structural engineer in Milwaukie, I eat in the Sellwood area, I frequent businesses in Sellwood and Milwaukie and Oregon City. For each of those trips back to my base, they constitute as a trip "originating in Clackamas Co.". But here I am a CoP and Multnomah Co. resident and the politicians have turned it into "70% of trips originate in Clackamas Co.". I think of my trips as Multnomah Co. trips; I need that bridge as a Multnomah Co. resident.

A finite study of trip origination and all the breakdowns has never been done, if that is how we are going to determine percentage of who should pay. Heaven help us if that becomes the formula for how we divey up all our public works projects-"how much crap are you contributing to the sewage plant?"

"that Metro's first pass definitely stressed the proposal that a new Clackamas County bridge be added to the region"

Why wasn't METRO's first pass just fixing what we have already in the Sellwood Bridge? It seems to work fine.

What BS.

We get addicted to building new things while we let existing stuff rot.

Jerry: I guess I see what you're saying -- if the vast majority of that 70% is Multnomah County residents traveling to Clackamas and then back home, that would lessen the "70%" argument for Clackamas's contribution. I really doubt that's the case, though, given the number of jobs in Multnomah & Washington counties and the number of bedroom communities in Clackamas.

Also, in addition to the money the city of Portland is putting up, all of us Multnomah residents are paying $19/year extra on our vehicle registrations -- that is, almost four times as much as the Clackamas residents. And I might grumble about that, but I wouldn't vote down funding for the whole damn bridge over this peeve.

I totally agree that it's stupid, counterproductive, and a waste of time, money, and energy to try to nickel-and-dime everyone's share of public works projects. I'm all for watchdogs trying to shine a light on waste and fraud, and I read this blog because bojack is especially good at that. But trashing valid projects over $5 fees that seem like a reasonably fair compromise... oy.

Steve: the idea behind putting another crossing in was that many people traveling over the Sellwood Bridge are going north several miles, crossing the bridge, then going south several miles, with those routes suffering a lot of traffic congestion and adding to travel times. Also, at the time (this was in the late 90's), the Sellwood's condition hadn't gotten quite so dire so I think I recall that the idea was to patch it up so it could continue carrying some traffic, and build another bridge to carry more. I think the plan they have now is probably a better use of money overall, but my point was it's not like Clackamas never had the chance to build their own bridge.


No you are wrong. Frankly I don't know where you came up with your funny ideas.

If you don't understand the opposition to the fee that's one thing. But "poor old Clackamas County is being held hostage by the evil liberals of Multnomah County" Huh?

The Clackamas County people are being held hostage by their own commissioners and are fighting back.
They don't want the Milwaukie Light Rail or many of the other Portland priorities their board of commissioners are forcing them to pay for.

They don't want a board of Sam Adams commissioners.

So they are about to stop them.

Why is that so hard to grasp?

Do you have a problem with them voting? That's all the two current petitions do. Allow voting.

It's hard to know if the bridge would have been replaced long ago had it been in Clackamas county. But Multnomah County & Portland repeatedly made decisions to neglect it in favor of trams and other fun stuff.
They haven't even stopped doing so. The same misplaced priorities and neglect continues more than ever.

Milwaukie Light Rail is like a $1.5 BILLION Tram, no one voted for it and Clackamas county voters do not want it. Voters who are still stinging from being forced to take and pay for the Green line that Metro now says was built in the wrong place.

This goes on and on in circles with the Portland critics of Clackamas residents insisting they just take what they do not want.
Those critics better start paying attention to their county. It's not long before Mult voters are going to stike out.

All of Metro residents could right now be footing most or all of the Sellwood bridge bill. But Metro and their JPACT partners comitted over $200 million in future regional funds to MLR and nothing to the bridge. All of that money is still available.
So call your Mult county comissioners and give them hell.

The Metro money is one of the central problems with the CC commissioners. They gave away a huge share of the regional funds for county infrastructure to MLR. So county infrastructure upgrades will get deferred exactly like the Sellwood bridge was for decades.

It's irrelevant but most people doubt the 70%-of-trips-start-or-end-in-Clackamas because there is no data or study available to even show how many actually come "from" Clack county residents and busineses.

The 70% bit is like a sales pitch echoed over and over again and half the time it's misrepresented as the entire 70% is coming from Clack Co.

If you want to look at waste for this project, take a look at 37 feet for pedestrian and bike traffic but only 24 feet for road surface.

If you want to look at waste look at the other new bridge for the $1.5 Billion Milwaukie Light Rail.

Do you think that is a deal too?

"But trashing valid projects over $5 fees"
The Clackamas fee and share is NOT holding up the project and will not "trash" the project if it never arrives.

Again, Sam Adams could simply leave the $20 million he plans on taking out of the bridge funding for MLR.

Metro could fund the project gap. $20 million is nothing to them or JPACT.

However at 37 feet for pedestrians and bikes I wouldn't call the project "valid".

I haven't followed this as closely as you, am I correct in that Adams plans to take the money from the Sellwood Bridge to do that light rail and then pops out this idea for this registration fee for the bridge? It does seem like the drive to move forward with the Milwaukie Light Rail project has led some to thinking of anything and everything in order to do so.
If so, what other plans are in the works, what other fees might be created for the agenda?

OK, if Clackamas votes down the $5 a year, I sure hope you are right and somebody somewhere manages to make up the money for the bridge. I gather the idea is that Metro would shut down some or all of the MLR funding and redirect money from that to the Sellwood Bridge.

I don't even know if that's possible. Even if it is, do you really think it can happen without delaying the federal and/or state contributions, and thus the construction of the bridge (which would also increase the cost)? It's a pretty big gamble to take to save $5/year. And if it isn't MLR that the funding would come from, I don't see it happening at all: I can't imagine any MultCo or WashCo politician hitting up their constituents for extra money because Clackamas doesn't feel like paying that $22M.

The 70% figure comes from this 1999 study:
which is posted under Resources/Project Library on the sellwoodbridge.org site. See p. 5 in particular. Interestingly, 20% of the Sellwood Bridge trips didn't start OR end in Multnomah County! By the way, the data is presented without much justification that I see on a quick read.

Right now the Oregonian says the funding is set to be:
$127M from MultCo via $19/yr vehicle reg fee
~$22M from ClackCo via $5/yr vehicle reg fee
$100M from Portland
$30M from ODOT
unspecified amount from feds; probably about $50M since total is ~$330M
with construction due to finally start in 2012.

Earlier this year, Cogen and Adams were fighting over Portland's contribution. In the end Adams said Portland would give the $100M he'd promised in the first place BUT if somehow magical budget fairies saved up to $40M, Portland would get to take half of that and put it toward light rail. THIS ONLY HAPPENS IF THEY KNOCK THE PRICE DOWN FROM $330M TO $290M. Personally I doubt that will happen and think the whole thing was a facesaver so Adams could give way without directly admitting to being a butthead.

Once again, this is NOT money being diverted from Metro to MLR. It is City of Portland money that would HYPOTHETICALLY be diverted if and only if the bridge can be done $40M cheaper. Even then, Portland would be giving $80M, MultCo car owners $127M, and Clackamas car owners $22M. I guess MultCo would keep the other $20M, which would indeed be a shell game if it happens, so maybe you should get Clackamas to line up a commitment to get to keep some of it.

As for the bridge design, I personally think it's pretty good, but this is way too long already.

"if most people who doubt the 70%-of-trips-start-or-end-in-Clackamas"

Still BS. Does Clackamas ask Mult County or CoP for a pro-rate share of repairs for bridges in Clack County? I think we are opening a can of worms that doesn't need to be opened. The bridge starts and ends in Mult County. Unfortunately, CoP gets all the rev generating stuff and Mult COunty gets all the pay-for stuff, but based on the way CoP spends money (as above) I don't see why CoP can't help to pay for it, not to mention the honeypots METRO has lying around.

The current bridge works fine. IF you can show me studies that te majority of people who live in LO/WL work in Milwaukie and don't take I-205, I might be persuaded otherwise.


Do you think you are making a case for Clackamas county voters to pay up?

If Clackamas votes down the $5 a year fee the bridge will get built.

Clackamas County Commissioners Bernard admitted it in one of their hearings.

If the S bridge fell down today who's fault would it be?

If it falls down in 6 months does it magically become Clackamas county's fault if they vote down the fee?

Please stop pretending the $22 million Clackamas fee share is irreplaceable.

That flies in the face of the many ways Adams, Metro, Peterson and TriMet round up money whenever they need it.

Yes of course the MLR could and should be shut down. But that is hardly the only source of revenue.

The urgency of the Sellwood bridge makes the MLR project gross negligence.

The Adams' plans to divert $20 million is a lesson in the creative means to find funding when the agenda is at work.

Your pretense that it is not possible to move revenue to the urgent bridge project ignores reality.

Any scenario that hinges the project on the Clack fee is a concoction of the conniving politicians not the limitation on funding.

Your embellishment of delays and added costs is helpful to their scheme.

Couching it again as a "gamble to save $5/year" is right out of their play book and ignores and entirety of the opposition.

Of course few politicians will be willing to hit up their constituents for extra money because Clackamas doesn't pay the $22M.

That's a false choice. Also right out of the play book.,

Read the study.
The irrelevant Metro 1999 study is a agenda driven piece of work that involved none other than (then) Metro employee Lynn Peterson doing the Travel forecasting for the Sellwood bridge.

Her special kind of contribution ginned up the case for keeping the bridge two lanes and cooking up the justification for Milwaukie Light Rail.

Mult Co residents should have been outraged over the misappropriation of billions only to get stuck with a new fee.

Wise up.

Adams' money grabbing chaos could not be more deceitful. Any effort to take bridge money to help fill the MLR funding hole is alone a deal breaker.

But it is in the mix of many other reasons for Clackamas to reject the scheme.

Wake up. Adams' stunt to raid money from the bridge is not the only egregious move to fill the funding needs of Milwaukie Light Rail.

TriMet will raid it's own operations, Metro will raid other of over $200 million, the lottery will raid $400 million from lottery profits already feeding services and jobs.

These people have no conscience or ethics.

The bridge design is more madness.

Anyone dispensing with all of the shenanigans to then blame Clack Co is simply being a useful tool.

This faux outrage over Clack Co. while demonstrating no anger at the scoundrels who created this entire mess isn't going to have any effect on the rejection by Clackamas County voters.

The fact that you think 37 feet for pedestrian and bike use and 24 feet for road surface is a "pretty good design" qualifies you as extremely biased and only interested in forcing Clackamas county to not only pay for your bridge but to take MLR and be forced to help pay for it too.

The greater rebellion in Clackamas County is a total rejection of the TriMet, Metro and Peterson plans for the county.

What's you message about that?
Shut up and take it becasue you like the overall plans as well as the bridge design?

Suppose Clackamas voters disagree and the county throws out Peterson et al and stops all participation in the Creepy agenda?
What's your pitch then?


"I don't see why CoP can't help to pay for it"

? Not sure what you mean. The City of Portland's paying $100 million (unless the price goes down, and then they're still paying at least $80 million). That's almost as much as Multnomah County's $127 million from their $19/year vehicle registration fees.

"? Not sure what you mean."

Where did you get that CoP is paying $100M?

Last I heard Scam was generating some garbage about taking some "cost-savings" from the TriMet bridge to use, not actually paying money.

Besides the charters are that Mult County is supposed to do bridges, but Mult County is broke and CoP can afford to pay $30M for just one street (SW Moody) and god know what the couplet cost, so why not just give some money for the Sellwood?

Is this $19/year vehicle registration fee a new fee?
Is this what I was referring to earlier, a fee here and a fee there a fee anywhere -
no matter where, just so this "Malarky Light Rail" can be built?
Insiders really want/need this, public needs to be proactive here as Ben has clearly outlined for us the negatives of this project.
Thankfully, Clackamas County folks are involved.
People in other areas need to help them.

"Suppose Clackamas voters disagree and the county throws out Peterson et al and stops all participation in the Creepy agenda?
What's your pitch then?"

My pitch would be that you guys made your decision and we go from there. I don't have any interest in trashing Clackamas County... heck, I have family there. And I don't want the bridge to be closed or fall down just so we can scream about whose fault it is, either. Again, I hope you're right that it will be built just as fast if the $5 fee goes down, but I'm really worried you're wrong on that.

In the meantime, I want to make the case for the $5 fee so people hear more of that side. Then obviously the voters have to make their own decisions. If they agree more with you, then they do.

As for faux outrage and none against scoundrels, I'm pretty sure I ranted on this very site against Adams holding the bridge funding up when it was exposed last fall... I would never vote for the guy again after that (and other things), and am sorry I voted for him in the first place.

Steve, on the $100 million from the city, please read my previous posts and/or the Oregonian. The $20M possible savings would be a REDUCTION of the city's $100M contribution to $80M. They'd still be handing over at least $80M to Multnomah County. And yes, that move of $20M of the city's money to MLR is a stupid, crappy shell game and as a Portlander I hate it, but the $80M to the bridge is real money and I support that part.

Ben, I'm still not sure I get how TriMet bonds for light rail could be transferred to Multnomah County for the Sellwood Bridge. Personally I'd rather that Multnomah County funds the bridge based on reasonable contributions from the groups that use it than with the TriMet-style magical funding. The $5 fee just doesn't seem that unreasonable to me for a contribution to a major new project, nor does the $19/year fee for MultCo residents. I don't expect to convince all of you on that; we'll just see how the vote goes. If Clackamas County voters support the fee, will you feel any better about it?

Julie, going back a bit on this thread, you stated that, "But trashing valid projects over $5 fees that seem like a reasonably fair compromise...oy.".

Downgrading a fee of $5 as being insignificant is a problem that our economy is suffering from. You should look at it from the perspective of it's $22 Million value, and even higher. And many citizens are beginning to see all these "fees" in that way, but not the politicians. The "latte a day, a month, a year" is getting tiring.

And what's your perspective on the lack of a sunset clause to the fee? That is significant to those who will be signing the petition.

What becomes the point on issues that citizens can begin "trashing valid projects"?


It's obvious you aren;t even reading and considering the full issue.

But let's see.

The short version of your case is:

"Ok so there's lots of problems, but
hand over the fee and $22 million and worry about them later.
And if you don't the bridge will either be closed, delayed, cost more or fall down and it will be your fault".

That is complete BS.

But you want Clackamas voters to shut up and hand over their money based on yet another chapter of BS.

Never mind ALL of the conniving deceit, the rest the details, chapters past and current or that the county commissioners are in cahoots with Adams and Metro to advance an agenda Clackamas county residents do not want?

Yeah sure. That's real persuasive.

Problem as I see it, is that insiders should stop trying to create a "bundle of $$" for that light rail, then there would be money for the much needed Sellwood bridge and for schools, etc.

Citizens are tired of being "pick pocketed"
for this and that and that old song and dance of only a latte does get weary.
We so need to get elected officials who have public interests as a priority.

Could we please stop calling this thing a fee and start calling it what it really is: a tax. To call it a fee is a total semantic trick. And since it is a tax, can I deduct the $19 a year Mult Co "fee" from my state income tax?

No, the short version of my case is, the new Sellwood Bridge is a valid government project that is being funded in a reasonable way and if you agree and want to encourage that behavior from the governments involved, you should consider voting for the $5/year fee.

If you don't agree with either of those premises, then you should vote against it.

However, I don't think it's a great idea to vote against it just to send a message to Lynn Peterson & co. about problems with the concept, design, and funding of Milwaukie Light Rail. I would say there are more effective ways to do that.

I'm reading and listening to the case against MLR and have never argued that your concerns about that are invalid. But I still support the fees to build the new Sellwood Bridge.

Good point.

They are creating more fees (taxes) for pet projects!

Semantic tricks work. For years we were told we need more affordable housing, who can argue with that? What they really meant was that we need more subsidized housing.

. . . . or might be better to write
They are creating more taxes (called fees) for pet projects!

If public would pressure against the light rail and other pet projects, there would be money for the needed Sellwood bridge. Seems officials can always get people to go along when they throw the hat out for money using children or when something dire is really needed. In this case of the Sellwood Bridge, taking public safety as hostage.

Just based on the apparent stonewalling of CoP on both bridge projects and what appears to be intent to covertly divert bridge funding for other purposes, it's not hard to conclude that there appears to be an effort afoot to prevent the Sellwood bridge from ever being replaced.

Read the obits lately? Anyone else noticed the rise in younger people listed under 50, under 40, under 30? How many more suicides-by-cop must there be? How many more children have to get thrown off bridges? How many more homeless must there be living under the bridges? How many more of them have to freeze to death at night? How many more bodies have to get fished out the Willamette before enough is enough with the effed-up priorities here in scamville, the City That Works, the City That Eats Its People.


You can't be reading very well because every time I pop over here you are misrepresenting the opposition to the fee.

Of course the Sellwood Bridge replacement is a valid government project. As it was every year for decades while it was ignored in favor of the exact same agenda today.

The only way the current scheme can be called "funded in a reasonable way" is by ignoring the parallel misappropriations of 100's of millions by everyone involved. Even Mayor Adams share will come from raiding essential services because the city does not have $100 million laying around. Adams doesn't have a source for the Portland share. He just promises it while claiming he'll take back out $20 million for MLR.

The greater Portland share of MLR will come from UR/basic services and fees needed where they go now.

You fail miserably to grasp where the money must ultimately come from when these officials misappropriate the money they should be using.

Moreover, all of the complicit politicians are opposed to any public vote at all.

You support these scoundrels and this funding scheme because don't know what you are talking about.

Nothing personal but it's people like you who supported all of the prior spending practices which deferred the Sellwood bridge replacement over and over agian. With each and every opportunity to say no you didn't.

Here's an opportunity for Clackamas County resident to say no and you're going out of your way to once more sustain the status quo.

The ultimate vote against the fee is NOT just "to send a message to Lynn Peterson & co."

It's to stop them from continuing what they are doing.

As for messages, the only "messages" they understand is defunding and their own elections.

Nov 22 Poll of Clackamas County residents.

Pay for part of Sellwood Bridge---76% NO
New car registration tax---84% NO
Milwaukie Light Rail---71% NO

Now why don't you try your pitch on the other petition. It will require a vote on the Urban Renewal plan Peterson has for funding the Clackamas County's $25 million share of Milwuakie Light Rail.

Let me guess. You have the same argument for paying that too? Just shut up and do it?

Julie, I don't mean to be in your face, but as I first posted on this thread, Jack's Blog is one way to educate the public on these kinds of issues.

Like you, I've been attending meetings on the Sellwood Bridge for over 15 years. It is a matter of setting priorities which our government agencies have failed to do. A factual example of failed setting of priorities is in South Waterfront that eventually leaks to the Sellwood Bridge.

Sorry to visit this matter again on this blog, but it shows the direct connections to the bridge. In the past year Adams has taken $20 Million out of SoWhat for MLR. First he took $10 Million in SoWhat Service Development Fees(SDC's). Soon after he took $10 Million in TIF dollars from SoWhat. There are several projects in SoWhat that are required to be completed per 9 Agreements. Two primary requirements is Affordable Housing and Transportation Improvements in/out of SoWhat. Neither has been done and several years behind schedule. CoP has said that Affordable Housing is a top priority for the city.

So why did Sam take $20 Million for MLR and disregard Affordable Housing? Or why didn't he take $20 Million and help build the SouthPortal Transportation project in SoWhat? Then, since he sits on JPACT representing CoP, he could have then taken the JPACT money for the South Portal and substituted the SoWhat $20 Million, and free up $20 Million and advocated spending that towards the Sellwood Bridge.

That is how it could have played out; and there are several other "funds" that could have been directed to the bridge. Oregon ODOT STIP dollars (part of the gas tax money)for 2008/09 for the Portland area was over $189 Million. Most of it went to bike trails, mass transit, ridership promotion programs, bike boxes, etc., all based on Sam's lobbying. Some of that could have been directed to the bridge.

It's all in the priorities. And CoP, Metro, TriMet and County Commissions have been playing a shell game. Please ask your public officials to answer questions based on these facts. I grant you, most won't even understand the facts, but ask them. Follow the connections and don't let them get away with the pat answer of, "well, that is a different pot and we can't touch it". Isn't it amazing that Randy and Sam can raid sewer "taxes" to paint bike boxes-but not direct several sources of money to the bridge? Their put-offs don't fly.

This all boils down to why asking for a bunch of lattes to build a bridge doesn't set well for many of us.

I think we're just repeating ourselves at this point. Not interested in discussing the other petition; I don't know much about it and have not formed an opinion, so have nothing to say on it. (I know that's practically illegal to admit in a blog comment section; sorry.) I'm out of here. Happy New Year to all.

There are two groups of voters in Clackamas County. Lake Oswego & West Linn are progressive and many are envious of Portland's hip community vibe. They want the streetcar because buses are not at all cool - even if they are cheaper, more flexible, and the streetcar solves a problem that doesn't exist.

The other huge "half" of Clackamas County residents live their lives completely happy that they do NOT live in Portland. Most don't want a light rail or streetcar project to come anywhere near their towns because they feel like they would no longer be separate. Portland is seen as the place that other types of people live in, but most of Clackamas County feels proud to be just regular folks and wants nothing to do with the big city and their ways.

Unfortunately, Lynn Peterson is from Lake Oswego -- the more urban(e) part of the county. As a city council member and county commissioner, she has championed (re)development as a good thing in spite of how the bulk of county residents want to live. All the urban trappings are coming to the county very quickly, and I don't think most county residents understand what is going on. They know something is amiss, but many still think that Portland is the devil without understanding that the enemy is among them.

Go Oregon City, Estacada, Sandy, and Canby! May Clackamas be saved from its commissioners and retain its identity that has nothing to do with Portland!

Many I know in Portland do not like what is going on here as well.
Some people I talk to are sick at heart over what has happened here.
Hopefully people will start paying attention
and stop voting for "familiar names" or at least make sure that the ones they vote for are for the public interest and that they would not continue the agenda which is creating instability in our city and neighborhoods.

Maybe I missed it, but I'm still wondering...
Where can I sign the petitions?

Nolo, Judging from comments in local media and simple word of mouth, I think you would find many in LO are not "progressives" who are envious of Portland. There has been a lot of recent civic opposition to things like the Streetcar expansion, the imposition of Metro restrictions on private property, and other Portland-esque progressive ideas.

Let's assume your hypothesis is correct - are you suggesting that those poor folks in LO and West Linn are being prevented from moving to this great Land of Oz we call Portland for economic reasons? I have a house to sell you . . . right next to a bridge.

"Where can I sign the petitions?"

There was this mention on the earlier thread.


UR Petition and Vehicle Registration Fee Referendum.
(Both are funding schemes for Milwaukie Light Rail)

Among others, Richard B. is organizing an effort to recruit and train signature gatherers for both petitions.
rpbinfo@gmail.com 503-970-1876

An initial web site for the UR petition -- www.voteonurbanrenewal.com
You can download donation form/send contribution.

Please do what you can to connect interested and potential volunteers and contributors with campaign organizers.

Also check this out.


Lorca January 01, 2011 at 7:40AM

$16 million of the Sellwood Bridge funds are being diverted to install sidewalks in Portland according to Oregon State House Bill 2001 though gas taxes. Why spend money on a collapsing bridge when we can build sidewalks and keep our buddy in business. This news from "The Southwest Community Connection" newspaper, January 2011 edition

You have some asking "how do you propose funding the bridge if we don't have the $5 fee?"

The answers are in the following facts:

We have the $16 Million being diverted to build sidewalks.

We have Sam diverting $20 Million from any bridge savings to MLR when any prudent person would apply the savings to the bridge funding problems.

We have Sam diverting $20 Million in TIF and SDC funds from SoWhat that could have indirectly helped the bridge funding.

We have JPACT diverting $200 Million for this metro area to bike/bioswale projects.

We have all or a portion of STIP gas tax money for this metro area of $189 Million in the last biennium diverted to bike/mass transit/biowswales that all or a portion that could have helped fund the bridge.

We have federal grant $millions from the stimulus and elsewhere, such as the $28 Million that was applied to moving the new trolley line in SoWhat on SW Moody, that could have been applied to the Sellwood Bridge instead.

And there is probably more. I just can't keep up with all the ponzi schemes of our government officials. The problem is in their priorities.

Thank you Ben.

Thank you lw,

Showed your facts last night when a visitor
thought the $5 tax (called fee) was not a bad idea.
Too bad the O doesn't do such fact write-ups,
or have they and I missed the good reporting?

The ponzi schemers must be confident that they will not ever be held accountable. Wonder whether they could get away with this as easily in a small community?

Am so weary of living in a community of people who apparently do not care or just expect that someone else will take care of matters. This lack of involvement and/or just depending on someone else to magically fix a broken system is turning out to be very detrimental.

To Julie in SE and others - regarding the $20MM back to the City of Portland based on a savings of $40MM in bridge costs. You state that it is "unlikely" the project will show a $40MM savings off the estimated cost. However, the original cost estimate included $40MM to build a new access road to the Staff Jennings property. As the parcel is now empty, Portland plans to purchase the property and thus eliminating $40MM in new road expense. The agreement with the City of Portland specifies that half of any savings goes to the city, so it appears Sam's plan to divert $20MM to MLR will probably happen.

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