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Reject Measure 3-386, Pass Measure 3-388

Clackamas County voters have a choice in the Nov. 8 election between two measures that would require voter approval of urban renewal districts. One of these proposals - Measure 3-388 - would allow each community within the county to decide if it wants to use urban renewal as a tool to encourage new jobs, economic development and public safety.

Voters should approve that measure, while rejecting a competing measure - No. 3-386 - that would have the likely effect of shutting down urban renewal in unincorporated Clackamas County by requiring a countywide vote for each new renewal district.

However, critics of urban renewal argue that the tool has been abused and that it siphons money away from other government services. There is a grain of truth in such arguments, of course, but what taxpayers must recognize is that urban renewal costs them almost nothing, but still allows the county to pay for things that otherwise would have to be funded through direct taxation.

The measure would cut off opportunity in the unincorporated areas while cities could still derive benefits from urban renewal.

Clackamas County commissioners responded to Measure 3-386 by placing the more reasonable Measure 3-388 on the November ballot. It still requires a vote by people who live inside a proposed urban renewal area before such a district could be formed. In that way, it provides voters - but only local voters - with the right to judge each renewal district on its own merits.

Voters who want to see Clackamas County attract new jobs and businesses should reject Measure 3-386 and approve Measure 3-388 in the Nov. 8 election.

The opinions expressed above are those of The Gresham Outlook's editorial board.

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