This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 17, 2012 10:23 AM. The previous post in this blog was Steve Duin names Portland cops in mistreatment of mentally ill. The next post in this blog is Portland Seed Fund: corruption waiting to happen?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Clackistani rebels should fight on

Will the county commissioners in Clackistan get away with the outrageous stunt they have pulled -- running out and getting a bank loan to hand over $20 million to Tri-Met for the Mystery Train to Milwaukie, on the eve of the election that would prohibit them from doing so? Despite a valiant effort to stop them, lawyers for the rebels in that part of the region failed to convince the courts to put a halt to the backroom loan deal, which reportedly closed on Friday. Where will the opponents of light rail turn next?

Well, the obvious place is at the ballot box in November, when two of the scoundrel commissioners are facing strong challenges in their bids for re-election. County chair Charlotte Lehan and commissioner Jamie Damon now face positively livid opposition. Their buddies in the Portland construction, planning, and union mafias will be sending them gobs of money. We've already been invited to some shindig in Portland at which Lehan will be held up as a big "conservationist," and the sock puppets in the blogosphere are loudly denouncing the opposition as Tea Party zealots who want Clackistan to be a "third world country."

But it's not clear that Portland money or Portland rhetoric is going to help Lehan and Damon. They've riled people up royally, and their political careers are marked for extinction.

The other place for the rebels to battle is in the courts, and we fervently hope that they will keep up the fight on that front. To our untrained eye, the loan deal that went down last week was not properly authorized under state law. Until the loan documents are made public, which will take a public records request and no doubt a delay, it's not clear exactly what the county bureaucrats signed in exchange for the $20 million from the Bank of America. But we think there is a good chance that if it is examined by a court, the loan would eventually be declared invalid. What the remedy would be at that point is anyone's guess, but (a) there are grounds in state law for holding public officials personally liable for malfeasance, and (b) there is precedent, from the WPPSS case in Washington State, for leaving the bank in the lurch if the government IOU was not properly issued.

The Clackistani bond affair is just another illustration of our contention that Portland needs a good government league -- a standing organization that would watch out for overstepping by public officials, and bring court action to combat it. If a good lawyer could be put on the case for an extended period of time, incidents like this one -- and the Portland water and sewer bureaus' outrageous mission creep, and the many other instances of funneling public money to cronies -- could be reduced in number. In the meantime, the scams proceed apace.

We leave this topic, at least for a while, with a timeline submitted by one of the rebels. It's so typical of the way Portland and Oregon are run -- which is to say, lawlessly:

Milwaukie and Clackamas County have voted twice directly, and once indirectly, on light rail, since the last TriMet light rail measure passed in 1990 to fund part of the Westside MAX.

In Nov ’96 the next light rail measure failed.

In Dec ’97 there was a successful recall of the mayor and two councilors in Milwaukie. The reasons for recall (stated on the ballot) included light rail.

In '98 another light rail measure failed.

The regional partners, while fully acknowledging public opposition, then shifted away from including any authentic public approval process.

1. In November 2001 the regional light rail regime knew the public would not support more light rail: "the 1998 vote and subsequent public listening posts, that light rail was not going to be a project they would proceed with in this corridor."

2. So they stacked a south corridor committee, claimed the public wanted it anyway and began to conspire to avoid voters: "the Policy Group added Milwaukie and 1-205 light rail options to the study due to the public's request."

3. In Feb. 2003, a little over a year later, this Metro South Corridor Policy Group launched the forcing of unwanted light rail into Clackamas County. The committeee "unanimously recommended" light rail while declaring "strong public support."

4. There is no disputing that Metro, TriMet, Milwaukie, Portland and Clackamas County conspired to go from "light rail was not going to be a project" to unanimously recommending light rail with "strong public support."

5. The MAX Green Line from Gateway to Clackamas Town Center was approved in a project designed to make over and add light rail to Portland's downtown transit mall. Without any public vote, Clackamas County officials approved $39 million in borrowed urban renewal funds for the expansion. Soon after, county officials also approved an additional $24 million in borrowed UR funds for an expansion of the shopping mall itself.

6. In January 2010 an EcoNorthwest memorandum stated that Clackamas County had already taken the first steps toward creating a McLoughlin Area urban renewal district to pay its share of a Portland to Milwaukie light rail project.

7. In February 2010 Clackamas County commissioners signed an inter-govermental agreement with TriMet committing the county to paying $25 million by Sept. 2012.

8. In December of 2010 Clackamas County commissioners (with significant public opposition) passed a new vehicle registration fee intended to pay $22 million for part of Portland's Sellwood Bridge replacement. Portland mayor Sam Adams had publicly declared his intention to shift $20 million in bridge funding to Portland-Milwaukie light rail.

9. Clackamas County residents gathered 7000 referendum signatures and repealed the fee by 63% in the May 2011 election.

10. With county officials continuing to plan a McLoughlin urban renewal district to pay the $25 million for P-M light rail, citizens gathered 12,000 signatures and required county-wide votes for UR by passing measure 3-386 by 70% in November 2011.

11. With county commissioners announcing their intention to proceed with payment to TriMet (without urban renewal) citizens began another initiative signature drive to require county-wide voter approval for ANY county payment for Rail Transit. Initiative opponents' delays prevented a May 2012 election, resulting in a Sep. 18 special election.

12. On May 22, 2012, after citizens gathered 12,000 signatures to successfully place the rail vote measure 3-401 on the Sep.18 ballot, county commissioners signed the full funding grant agreement for Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail.

13. In a June 6, 2012 study session, commissioners instructed county counsel not to review the inter-governmental agreement for any basis to terminate and escape payment. The board of county commissioners also agreed to postpone payment to TriMet until sometime in 2013.

14. On August 20, 2012, as the Sep. 18 rail vote approached, a bond rating and bond sale date posting was discovered revealing the county's plan to pay TriMet before the September election.

15. After subsequent court action prevented the bond sale until Sep. 12, the board of county commissioners, in secret and through unknown actions, arranged a Bank of America loan and payment to TriMet.

16. On the morning of Friday, Sep. 14, TriMet received the payment in full and sent a thank you note to Clackamas County.

Comments (14)

It's funny, and telling, that the Bus kids are suddenly on the scene down there. Maybe Charlotte needs some photo ops with Nutsy Smith.

Unbelievable. Message to public: "You don't know what you want. We'll tell you what you want, shove it down your throats, and send you the bill for it."

But it's not clear that Portland money or Portland rhetoric is going to help Lehan and Damon. They've riled people up royally, and their political careers are marked for extinction.

Have these people no shame? These elected officials have trounced on any semblance of democracy, becoming more apparent as the months go by. This is more likely to please insiders who have had their way for years around here and will do anything to maintain control, to the extent of having to become more apparent in their disdain for the public and the rule of law. They have been challenged and in order to continue the agenda have had to show their true colors and mode of operation. Not a very pretty sight.

Voter turnout on rail funding initiative soars


"If trend continues, Clackamas could see a 44 percent voter return in this election that includes just the light rail initiative. That’s a 39 percent jump in turnout when compared to the Nov. 8, 2011 special election for two ballot measures, which saw a 24 percent voter return, Steve Kindred, Clackamas County Elections Manager, said."

" . . Our contention that Portland needs a good government league -- a standing organization that would watch out for overstepping by public officials . . . "

I thought for sure that with the rush bank loan this story would finally have legs. Isn't there a TV reporter anywhere on this? Oregonian? Tribune? Not even Portland Mercury?

I've seen Lehan in action for years as the Mayor of Wilsonville. She is the original nanny in nanny state. Lehan is a know-it-all who belives that her opinion is correct and everyone else is wrong. No surprise to me that she is trying to ram something thru which the voters hate. That is exactly her style. The sooner she is retired from politics the better off we'll all be.

" If a good lawyer could be put on the case for an extended period of time, incidents like this one -- and the Portland water and sewer bureaus' outrageous mission creep, and the many other instances of funneling public money to cronies -- could be reduced in number."

Jack, sounds like a great teaching moment (in more ways than one)how about a community service school project? Get a little experience for the Political Science majors, various crimnal defense law students etc. Looks like we have some interesting criminal law sprinkled with a little civil moral turpitude. Yum Sprinkles!

Thanks for the excellent coverage of this Clackamas mess here. I don't know if this is appropriate but what gives with BlueOregon? I find it hard to believe they are publishing their stuff with a straight face.

Not only are they branding the opposition to Clackamas graft as some sort of "Tea Party" movement (I see no Russo funding there, sorry), but this Evans character is delusional about 9/11, Libya, Syria - you name it. How could credibility mean so little amongst the so-called "progressive" label?

2012 September 17 Monday 18:15 U (6:15 PM PT)

There has been a stranger on stranger murder in the environs
of Lake Oswego in Clackamas County jurisdiction this morning.

It is a developing tragedy; however I hope the 2011 – 2012
Clackamas County Board of County Commissioners is prepared
to explain to constituents in writing any potential budget reductions
in the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Budget. For general
budget funds redirected to pay the loan / bond issued and released on
2012 September 14 Friday for the Portland Milwaukie Light Rail
settlement agreement. For that matter the TriMet Board of
Directors 2011 – 2012 had best prepare their written explanations
along with Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber’s Office and all
associated court officers and officials.

Residents in my neighborhood are minding this issue as they mark
their ballots for Clackamas County Measure 3-401. Which are due
on 2012 September 18 Tuesday by 8:00 PM PT (20:00 U)
Further I have already had some phone conversations and inquiries.
People I sense are very concerned.

Charles Ormsby (Skip)
Birdshill CPO / NA Chair 2012 – 2013
A Joint Clackamas County Community Planning Organization (CPO) and
City of Lake Oswego Oregon Neighborhood Association (NA)
Google Earth GPS Coordinates: 45°25'42.18"N, 122°39'41.48"W
EM: birdhillcpona@gmail.com

I've lost track of what's going on at Blue Oregon. If you have to go for these mindless rail projects and abuses of law and public trust in order to be "progressive," then I guess I'm not "progressive" any more. And if you have
to genuflect in front of sellouts like Wyden, count me out, way out.

Perhaps the best synopsis available regarding what the renegade commissioners have been doing. Only one thing missing: according to Clackamas County Sheriff's office, crime increased 32% following activation of the "Green line" - even as it decreased across the rest of the county.

I've lost track of what's going on at Blue Oregon

If you're against Sam Adams, don't go there.

If you're against Global Warming/Climate Change, don't go there.

If you own a car, don't go there.

If you don't bike, don't go there.

If you eat fast food, don't go there.

If you live outside downtown Portland, don't go there.

If you have a blue collar job, don't go there.

If you don't love Amtrak and all things trains, don't go there.

If you don't have a college education, don't go there.

If you shop at WalMart, don't go there. But it's OK to shop at Target and IKEA (the Swedish WalMart).

If you ride a bus, don't go there. But you are expected to faithfully drive your car to a MAX park and ride lot, or ride the Streetcar. (See how now you can't win?)

You guys are sooooooooo screwed.

Sam L.You guys are sooooooooo screwed.

Are you possibly really Sam A.?
He most likely knows exactly how screwed we really are!

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