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Wish I had a voice in Scappoose UGB decision

I really wish that I could cast a vote on the Scappoose urban growth boundary expansion, Measure 5-216.

I am a registered voter and a member of the Scappoose community, but because I reside outside the city limits I'm not part of the voting populous. Yet, the UGB expansion has an enormous impact upon me and all of my neighbors who live just outside the city limits and close to the Crown Zellerback Road.

No, we will not be able to vote on the future of our community. Those inside the city limits will decide what happens outside this boundary.

So, I'm wondering how many of those who can cast a vote truly know about the history leading to this question on the ballot. As I've spoken with community members over the past year I've discovered that nearly all of them knew nothing of the proposed UGB expansion.

A great neighbor, who just happened to catch a public notice in the paper, informed me. I attended governmental meetings, asked questions and shared concerns. Yet, today, I still find many people who know little if anything about this.

The 'yes' campaign sounds so hopeful. They indicate a need for space and the promise of jobs.

Sounds great, doesn't it?

Yet, nearly 200 acres of vacant industrial and commercial land already in the city, ready to be developed for jobs have sat vacant for years. The lots are of various sizes, most already served by water, roads, power and sewer. A large chunk of it is adjacent to the airport with 'through the fence' access.

If vacant land adjacent to the airport would bring jobs, why hasn't it happened? Could it be that the Crown Zellerback trail needs to be turned into a truck route first?

Why would adding even more vacant land make any difference?

I can't help but notice that some of campaign signs are in empty business windows.

Could the Crown Zellerback trail be improved? Sure it could, but I'm finding it difficult to believe that a strip of pavement with lights and benches, paralleling a three-lane haul road, as the developer has proposed, is going to preserve the trail, protect the varying ecosystems that exist here and improve the livability in this area.

Yes, a truck route would allow trucks to travel next to my neighbors' homes on their way around to the airpark. The noise of their engines and breaks at all hours would certainly be a great selling point should any of us decide to sell our homes in the future.

This won't just affect those that line the trail, but those several properties away, both in and out of the city limits. I'm certain it will destroy the return on the investment my neighbors and I should be able to realize upon a sale in the future. Is this the part that's good for me or Scappoose? Is this the 'win-win?'

The section from Highway 30 to West Lane Road that was developed recently included an enormous concrete wall. Residents on the other side of that wall indicate that this does not mitigate noise or pollution.

Would something like this also be part of the plan to preserve the livability of the area?

Mr. Mayor Burge, really, do you think it is okay to speak disparagingly about the people who live along the CZ Trail as you did in the Spotlight letter to the editor dated Aug. 24? That just isn't right!

No matter where they fall upon an opinion spectrum, these are people's homes. Shame on you!

The governmental layers and processes that have brought us to this point didn't contact them, nor were they required by law to do so. And, no, these people won't get to vote as they live outside the city limits you represent. That must be more of that local control.

The Citizens for a Livable Scappoose managed to get the question of whether or not the UGB should be increased on a ballot.

One reason for doing so was to simply educate our community. It is really hard to get involved and learn about the different layers of government and how to interact with them. There has been a tremendous amount of work done by a few people to bring this issue to light. It's quite difficult to understand. I don't completely understand all of its components, and I'm certain that our local governmental leaders don't either.

Now that the community has caught a glimpse, it's time to truly get them involved in the process. A 'no' vote does not mean this comes to an end. What it really will do is provide an opportunity for more of the community to learn, and make well informed decisions about how we would like our community to develop.

As I started this letter I stated that I wish I could vote on this measure. I'd cast a no vote on Measure 5-216.

Please vote no if you believe our community isn't quite ready for this. Please vote no if you have questions. Please vote no if you don't have enough information. Please vote no if you don't think it is right to make decisions for people who don't get to vote upon this issue.

- Linda di Pietro, Scappoose