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A vision for Stafford Triangle

The League of West Linn Neighborhoods recognizes that regional population pressures, and the consequent demand for urban density development, threaten livability not only in the existing rural buffer between West Linn, Lake Oswego and Tualatin, but in the three communities themselves.

Therefore, the League calls upon community and political leaders involved in local and regional planning to look beyond perceived short-term needs and profits, and consider the ramifications of today's land-use decisions on the population 50 years into the future.

In the League's vision, a rural buffer between West Linn, Lake Oswego and Tualatin will still exist in 50 years and beyond, though vastly different from the one we know today. First, we will have recognized, and planned for, the local impact of peak oil and global warming. In the world of tomorrow, our ability to feed ourselves may depend on actions we take today.

We see the Stafford Triangle as a model of sustainability, with agricultural utilization based not on the current system of grading soils, but on the potential of specific soils to produce something of value. A prime example of an overlooked resource exists in West Linn: land labeled 'worthless' for agriculture produces exceptional wine grapes.

We foresee land stewardship that enlists citizens of every age in a multitude of tasks, all part of a master plan for the common good. An excellent example is Lake Oswego's all-organic Community Garden and Community Supported Agriculture program at Luscher Farm, which enhances the balance of nature, and reduces air and water pollution, by using only natural soil supplements, and no chemical pesticides. Similar gardens will sprout on every available scrap of undeveloped land.

We foresee stable populations in the three communities bordering the Stafford Triangle, with self-imposed moratoriums on growth. The disappearance of glaciers on Mt. Hood, coupled with reduced snowfall in the Cascade and Coast ranges, reduced rainfall in the Willamette Valley, and reduced stream flows, will put water at a premium-perhaps the single most critical concern 50 years from today.

We foresee no need for government to take private property; once landowners understand the seriousness of the threat, most will join the cooperative effort-and profit from it.

The League of West Linn Neighborhoods urges the Metro Council, Clackamas County Board of Commissioners and city councils of West Linn, Lake Oswego and Tualatin to agree to suspend expansion of the urban growth boundary into the Stafford Triangle until a comprehensive study is conducted on the local impact of peak oil and global warming.

The faster we appreciate these coming changes, the better prepared we will be to adapt.

Curt Sommer, West Linn, is chair of the League of West Linn Neighborhoods.