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Rail vote worries county

Washington County officials are concerned about passage of the King City ballot measure requiring a vote on public rail funds.

The measure passed with around 60 percent of the vote Tuesday, about the same margin as a similar measure in Clackamas County.

“I am absolutely delighted,” says Billie Reynolds, the measure’s chief petitioner. “All this means is that as King City plans and works on mass transit, it must have voter approval before signing a financial commitment.”

Washington County Chair Andy Duyck says such measures could also limit funds for studying transit options, however. Metro is studying whether light rail or other alternative transit options could reduce congestion and encourage redevelopment in the congested Highway 99W corridor between Portland and Sherwood.

“We are committed to providing the best transportation service we can to the citizens in the county,” Duyck says. “If the voters start taking tools away from us, we will have to do that with the tools that remain.”

Activists in several other cities in the corridor tried but failed to place similar measures on the Sept. 18 Special Election ballot. They have vowed to continue their efforts.

— Jim Redden