Don't forget the Sept. 18 special election


Measure puts public rail projects to vote

Voting in a special election for a light-rail transit measure ends Tuesday.

Measure 3-401 asks whether voter approval should be required for Clackamas County to be involved in the finance, design, construction or operation of a public rail transit system. In a nutshell, the proposal would require county officials to get voters’ approval before using resources on public rail projects.

Those “resources” would include public funds, staff time, lobbying agreements, property interest and other county assets.

There are three rail-based transportation systems in Clackamas County at this time: MAX Light Rail Green Line, WES Commuter Rail and Amtrak’s railroad. A fourth line, the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project, known as the Orange Line, is now under construction.

Meaure 3-401 will restrict the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners’ power to take action, which is the source of contention between supporters and opponents of the measure.

In general, those who support light rail are against the measure, and those who oppose light rail are for the measure.

Proponents say Measure 3-401 is about voting on large infrastructure projects that have a big impact on the county’s budget.

Instead of requiring a vote on every big-ticket infrastructure project in the county, the measure targets only spending on one type of project: a public rail system.

However, those against the measure think it will limit the county’s ability to respond to smaller or more immediate needs or ot even consider certain transit projects without obtaining voter approval.

To view the voters pamphlet for the Sept. 18 special election, visit

You can drop off ballots at the West Linn Public Library during regular library hours and any time at West Linn City Hall. Ballots must be received by 8 p.m. Tuesday.