Community Soapbox by Nick Veroske

Opportunities exist in every economy to break the cycle of weakness and return to strength. The bigger the opportunity, the longer it takes to move from idea to realization. In 2004 an opportunity came to Oregon City for jobs and tourism.

Over the next six years, The Rivers lifestyle center fought economic and political upheaval with the potential of creating 1,500 to 2,000 jobs, attracting thousands of visitors to Oregon City, boosting our local housing market, helping our schools and creating value out of an old landfill site. The Rivers center was to be anchored by a Cabela's outdoor store, drawing customers from 100-150 miles away.

The golden ring was ours to lose, and lose it we did, primarily through the obstructive actions of City Commissioner James Nicita. And why is he against it? Mr. Nicita states that he supports the creation of family-wage jobs on the landfill. Yet, if he had been willing to meet with The Rivers developer and understand the projects this Oregon developer creates, he would have known that The Rivers was expected to create 350-400 family-wage jobs.

Additionally, Mr. Nicita would rather ignore the fact that in order to construct any building on the landfill, structural pilings must be driven down through the garbage to bedrock, approximately 3,600 of them at a last-known cost of $17.6 million. Mr. Nicita would rather cast out seven years of planning, $8 million of private investment, and now $23 million of public investment in the Jughandle project, and ignore the studies and advice of people who have accumulated a lifetime of expertise.

Unlike Mr. Nicita's short range thinking, Cabela's realizes the potential of Oregon's active outdoor enthusiasts. Someday, Cabela's is likely to open a full-service regional store in the Portland metro area. The Rivers/Rossman Landfill site offers them an excellent location.

However, if Mr. Nicita is still involved in Oregon City government, they will not come here. How can Jim Nicita defend the loss of 250,000 visitors per month and the tax revenue produced by a $200 million investment as being in the best interest of Oregon City?

If Mr. Nicita is recalled from the Oregon City commission, the developer of The Rivers has said that he will come back and talk to us. Please vote YES to recall Mr. Nicita and start creating JOBS, JOBS, JOBS for Oregon City.

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