I am writing to set the record straight from the grassroots on issues being raised regarding the high-density development of the Milwaukie Farmer's Market Space. I have been a vendor at the Milwaukie Farmer's Market for 5 years and a Milwaukie citizen for 16 years. After hearing rumors about the market moving, I asked the mayor about the development of the space, and he answered as he walked away 'We need the tax base. It is a done deal. Don't worry about it.' I was not satisfied and began to ask questions. At that time that the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between the City of Milwaukie and Metro was given to us by Ken Asher, Community Development and Public Works Director. After reading the IGA we began a grassroots movement to stop the development of the Texaco/Milwaukie Farmer's Market space until there could be citizen's input.
Over a year ago, Mayor Bernard signed the IGA with Metro to develop the Texaco and Milwaukie Farmer's Market Space with a mixed used of condos and one floor retail space. This agreement was discussed in two city council meetings (August 16, 2005 and September 20, 2005.), but was never posted on the City's website until last week when Mike Swanson, City Manager added it to his weekly message. In fact, at one point, they were in such a hurry to sign the agreement that Mike Swanson was given the authority to sign for the city without bringing the changes back for review. That decision was reversed and the Mayor signed the agreement on September 29, 2005. The two city council members who were at the September 20th meeting where the IGA was approved do not remember seeing the document. (Two council members were excused from that important meeting.)
The IGA promises Metro that the city will exert its best efforts to change zoning so there can be a minimum of 5 stories erected to block our waterfront and darken Main Street.
The IGA indemnifies Metro and a third party regarding the environmental clean up from the Texaco station. There is ground water contamination documented in the DEQ report yet Metro and the City are only talking about the cost of removing the contaminated soil.
The IGA states parking for this new development will not EXCEED one space per condo. The city is using a 2004 traffic study to say that we really don't and won't have a problem with parking or traffic. We do not have mass transit in place to support high-density developments. Our current parking situation is close to capacity.
In 2000 a citizen group developed a wonderful plan for the downtown development of Milwaukie. Very little of that plan has been followed. You only have to drive by the North Main project to see what the city has in store at the Texaco Farmer's Market site- only worse. North Main has been described as a compound or tumor growing…
In typical political maneuvering, Mayor Bernard and his supporters are trying to discredit our effort by saying those opposing the IGA are against development and progress, manufacturing fear and spreading rumors. No, Mayor Bernard, we are not against progress. We are against having our elected leaders tell us our ideas are wrong, that we are uninformed, and evading the issues by ignoring the facts or changing the facts to suit the point you are making at the time.
I am sorry, but the emperor has no clothes.