Inflammatory language has no place in Bull Mtn. debate
- Erik Gellatly
- The Times - Opinion
(Soapboxes are guest opinions from our readers, and anyone is welcome to write one. Erik Gellatly is a resident of unincorporated Bull Mountain.)
Regarding Isador Morgavi's most recent litany of Soapboxes on the proposed incorporation of a new city west and south of the existing city limits of Tigard ('Bull Mountain bickering a three-ring circus,' The Times, July 27), the author's commentary read like a classic example of someone determined not to let facts get in the way of a good story.
He admitted he's been in New Orleans for awhile, but the critical facts he missed are nothing new; nothing that's occurred in his absence.
While the author might wish to remain unincorporated, the reality is that remaining unincorporated - the status quo - is simply not an option for people in the affected area. State and county land-use policy requires that areas within an Urban Growth Boundary must become part of a city. Further, the inter-governmental agreement that coordinated the provision of urban services between Tigard and Washington County has been terminated. For the 8,000-plus residents of the area that is being proposed as the city of Bull Mountain, the only way to gain local, effective control over issues like land use, planning, development, parks, natural areas and deforestation is to become our own city.
Mr. Morgavi took issue with the proposed tax rate for the new city.
However, the Economic Feasibility Study (EFS) that private citizens commissioned and paid for in June states clearly that a city of Bull Mountain will be economically feasible with a maximum tax rate that is very close to the city of Tigard's current effective tax rate and current bond levy amount. The study was prepared by ECO Northwest, a highly qualified and respected economic consulting organization whose clients include government agencies such as the Bonneville Power Administration and the Oregon Department of Justice, and businesses and institutions such as Intel, US Bank, the Ford Foundation and others.
I would encourage readers to download a copy of the EFS from www.cityofbullmountain.org and arrive at their own conclusions as to the costs and benefits of incorporation. ECONorthwest has the benefit of vast experience and access to information and sources; this is what they do, and they do it well.
Mr. Morgavi also took issue with proposed service levels for law enforcement in the new city. It is important to understand that this service level is a legislative decision for the incoming city council and voters, not a one-time decision that depends on incorporation. Proponents of the new city have already initiated discussions with Sheriff Rob Gordon about contracting for law enforcement services for the city of Bull Mountain, discussions that have been realistic, positive and reflect the community's desire for continued excellent law enforcement and public safety.
Granted, a Soapbox forum is intended to allow for one person's viewpoint.
However, it's reasonable to expect that person to strive for some accuracy, reality and proper context before forcing that viewpoint on the public through the newspaper. Anyone writing about this issue should be held to the same standards of responsibility as the people who are working hard to give their neighbors and their community the opportunity to decide for themselves.
It was certainly a disappointment that Mr. Morgavi resorted to such wide-reaching and personal swipes at the proponents of a new city, calling their public statements and remarks 'scams' and 'manipulations.' While the author has a right to his opinion and is obviously free to disagree in a public forum, inflammatory language is a real disservice to those of us who want a genuine and informed debate on this very important topic.
If anything, the private citizens of Bull Mountain who have contributed vast amounts of time and energy, and even their own money to this effort, more appropriately fit former Oregon Gov. Tom McCall's definition of heroes: People who say, 'This is my community, and I have a responsibility to make it better.'