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Bristling over Stafford

Feasibility forums upset local cities

Despite formal objections from some surrounding cities, Clackamas County is pushing ahead with a series of forums to explore the inclusion of the Borland-Stafford area in the urban growth boundary.

The county, along with representatives of Metro, will hold four forums, with the first set for Nov. 5.

The purpose of the forums is to educate and discuss the future planning of the Borland-Stafford area if it is brought inside the urban growth boundary.

According to a city of West Linn staff memo, the county is moving ahead with the forums now 'to enable discussion of the contentious issues around growth without the pressure of a looming UGB expansion deadline. The hope is that the discussions will clarify whether any of the area should be considered for concept planning.'

The first meeting will explore capacity and density, with future meetings discussing transportation, public services and infrastructure, and governance.

The Borland-Stafford area is bordered by Lake Oswego, West Linn and Tualatin. It's about 4,000 acres and was designated as an urban reserve last year, putting it in line for future inclusion in the urban growth boundary.

But without the official designation and no concept plan, members of the West Linn City Council said the forums are premature.

The county initiated the forums with the Stafford Hamlet, without inviting neighboring cities, which did not sit well with the West Linn City Council and the city of Tualatin. The cities contend they should have been involved in the formative stages of the planning of the forums.

'We are dismayed that the county has not engaged in conversation about this project with the adjacent cities of West Linn and Tualatin prior to planning and setting dates for these community forums,' Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden wrote in a letter dated Oct. 7 to Clackamas County Commissioner Charlotte Lehan.

Lake Oswego, Tualatin and West Linn mayors and planning staff representatives met with Lehan and county planning staff on Oct. 10 to discuss their positions.

Lehan said that although there was interest in including Borland property in a UGB expansion this year, preparations were not completed in time. The next possible UBG expansion is in 2016, which could then include both the Borland and Stafford areas.

Although its officials declined to join West Linn and Tualatin in hiring attorneys to fight Stafford's inclusion in the UGB, Lake Oswego has also long taken a position against urbanization of Stafford.

If the Borland-Stafford area is included in the UGB, its development would affect Lake Oswego, Tualatin and West Linn in multiple ways.

One area of concern is transportation. How are the existing major thoroughfares going to handle the extra load of vehicles?

Another area of major concern is governance, which some felt should be the first forum topic. When developed, one of the neighboring cities will have to provide services.

The first Stafford forum will be held at 9 a.m. Nov. 5 at Athey Creek Middle School, 2900 S.W. Borland Road in West Linn.