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Understanding the Scappoose Referendum

In a most unique exercise of democracy, a group of citizens has petitioned the city of Scappoose to place on the ballot a decision by the City Council approving an ordinance allowing certain lands within the proximity of the city limits to be deemed available for potential future growth.

The ordinance approval, followed by an approval of Columbia County, followed by an approval of the state of Oregon, is the procedure required by law to expand Scappoose's, or any other Oregon city's, urban growth boundary.

Once approved by all of the governing bodies, and having withstood any and all potential legal challenges, the urban growth boundary becomes the legal limitation of the extension of municipal services if the property or properties are annexed by vote into the city of Scappoose.

What changes occur when the UGB is finalized? None, except the community maps are remade to reflect the expanded area of potential services.

In a few weeks all of the citizens of Scappoose will receive their annual property tax statement. It will be higher than last year, guaranteed; that's the Oregon tax rule with its built-in inflation factor. Oregon property taxes are based on assessed value, not real market value, so even if your property value goes down your property taxes still go up.

There is only one process that can reduce your property taxes and that is to expand the tax base. That means when a business like Fred Meyer comes to Scappoose its property value is added to the total community value and we each pay a little less in property taxes.

Without growth - without industrial growth -Scappoose's tax base will stay dormant while the property taxes continue to increase.

The logic of your vote in favor of the Scappoose UGB ordinance should be evident.

Please don't succumb to the naysayers who speak of geometric growth in population and traffic. Both of these contentions are irrational. First, there is not enough zoned land to accommodate any large growth in population, (the UGB expansion did not include residential lands) and, second, traffic will continue to grow at its historic level with many of the jobs, if and when they occur, being filled by the workforce that now commutes to the Portland area.

- Len Waggoner, Scappoose