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Clackamas County wins light-rail appeal

The Oregon Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed an appeal of a temporary restraining order that prohibited Clackamas County from seeking financing to fulfill its obligation for the light-rail project to Oak Grove through Milwaukie and Portland.

Last week's appeal followed a series of lower-court actions seeking to halt the financing effort. The county had been pursuing financing options to meet its obligation, but a potential bond sale was canceled last week, apparently because of the appeal.

Jim Knapp, the Oak Grove resident who began the drive for Measure 3-401 on the Sept. 18 special election ballot to block local funding for TriMet’s $1.49 billion light-rail project, said his group would seek another mechanism to block the nearly $20 million that the county will contribute to the project. Knapp has begun gathering signatures for a referendum against Clackamas County’s Aug. 22 decision to pay TriMet for its promised share of funding light rail.

Clackamas County Circuit Judge Douglas Van Dyke dismissed a lawsuit to block the bond sale last week, and petitioners appealed a dismissed temporary restraining order to stop the bond sale to the Oregon Supreme Court. Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas A. Balmer dismissed the appeal on Sept. 12.

Following Balmer's decision this week, spokesman Tim Heider only said that the county will resume pursuing financing options to meet its obligation.