March 29th, 2013 | Andrea Damewood News | Posted In: Activism, Transportation

Clackamas Light Rail Vote Doesn't Really Mean Anything

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The ballot measure language for Clackamas County's May 21 vote on light rail is out, and the wording is just as confusing as most of what's going on down there.

Clackamas County is in the throes of a light rail rebellion. Board of Commission Chairman John Ludlow and Commissioner Tootie Smith were swept into office on the back of anti-Portland creep sentiment and funded by Stimson Lumber CEO Andrew Miller, who was profiled by WW in October.

The new board is doing all it can to kill the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail line, and its trying to get out of a contract with TriMet. The regional transit agengy sued earlier this month to force the Clackistanis to follow through.

Ludlow and Smith have promised to send every major expense directly to tax-averse voters. So the commissioners put forward a new ballot measure which includes giving permission to TriMet to improve county roads and signals, as well as hand over about $23,000 worth of land for use.

Problem is, a yay or nay vote this May won't do a thing to halt the controversial light rail project. At the end of the text of the measure is this head-scratcher:

"This Measure seeks voter approval of an ordinance authorizing the Board to use those County resources to meet the County's previous contractual commitments toward the Portland Milwaukie Light Rail Project. Approval or rejection of the ordinance will not affect the County's obligations with respect to those previous contractual commitments."

Here's the full text of the measure. Enjoy democracy at work:

Caption: Use of Certain County Resources for Portland Milwaukie Light Rail

Question: Should Clackamas County use certain County resources to meet previous contractual commitments toward the Portland Milwaukie Light Rail Project?

Summary: Agreements signed by prior Board of County Commissioners in 2010 and 2012 obligate the County to use the following County resources toward completion of the Portland Milwaukie Light Rail Project:

  • funding $1,279,740 in improvements to roads and signals near the proposed Park Avenue Light Rail Station, with the funding sources to be the County Road Fund and $279,740 in Systems Development Charges to be paid by Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon ("TriMet");
  • allowing TriMet to conduct operations on and maintain portions of county roads and sidewalks occupied by Portland Milwaukie Light Rail facilities; and
  • transferring two parcels of real property to TriMet: a 2,614 square foot parcel valued at $20,915, and a 3,485 square foot parcel valued at $1,360.

This Measure seeks voter approval of an ordinance authorizing the Board to use those County resources to meet the County's previous contractual commitments toward the Portland Milwaukie Light Rail Project. Approval or rejection of the ordinance will not affect the County's obligations with respect to those previous contractual commitments.

 
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