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Letters

Show some respect for the flag

In the last several years I've attended many high school football, basketball and baseball games and have become increasingly disturbed at the failure of the athletes, their coaches and officials to show the appropriate respect to the flag that many of us have fought for, many at the expense of their lives.

I've contacted school officials requesting that they take some action. Our high schools play the national anthem at these games but fail to teach our children the proper etiquette.

Red Smith

Milwaukie

Don't buy into the buzzwords

Outsiders are using the buzzwords 'local control' to fool the citizens into voting for Measure 3-388, which only allows those who would financially benefit from forming a district to vote, although property owners countywide pay the costs.

Measure 3-388 was placed on the ballot by elected county officials who worked to deny the citizens a voice on whether or not to approve urban renewal districts. Urban renewal diverts millions from schools and other services. Special interest groups, including the promoters of Milwaukie light rail have been abusing the concept for years. Another misuse is the plan to convert 10 acres of the Gladstone Nature Park into an urban renewal district for a library. Urban renewal was never intended to become an overused method for financing development.

The county commissioners, except for Paul Savas, have increased our debt by almost $200 million in less than four years. Much of the spending was done at a time when the economy was in a deep recession. Facing the citizen Measure 3-386, they came up with a measure that appears to be a smokescreen at best. Confusion seems to be the main goal of the promoters of Measure 3-388. Imagine that, local politicians trying to confuse an issue.

The message that urban renewal won't be possible under Measure 3-386 is as misleading as is the claim that 3-388 is about local control. Urban renewal is dominated TriMet and other outside interests who strictly control the design of urban renewal projects. Multistory buildings crammed against the sidewalk is the typical design. Concrete everywhere, and no room for trees. That's not a local design, and surely isn't local control.

I'd rather see more of our taxes spent on schools, police and firefighters. Once you realize why Measure 3-388 was placed on the ballot, the decision to reject it, and vote yes on Measure 3-386 becomes very clear.

Les Poole

Oak Grove

Trade council urges 3-386 vote

Two measures that relate to urban renewal districts have found their way to the Clackamas County ballot this November, and both deal with giving the voters a say in forming them.

Measure 3-386 calls for a countywide vote as a necessary step in forming an URD while 3-388 would limit the decision to voters living within the boundaries of the proposed district.

URDs are an important tool in the economic development of an area but the decision to form one is best left to the residents living with in its boundaries.

Clackamas County is economically and geographically varied ranging from forested wilderness to near urban locations and everything in between. The needs and issues facing a farming community are quite different from what you find in an area that lies adjacent to a major city. Were 3-386 to pass, the potential for the larger more urban areas of the county to shut down renewal projects in the less populated places could suppress any attempt for capital improvements in these locales.

Thus a voter in Canby would make a decision on an URD in Canby but not on one in say, Welches, Wilsonville or Sandy or anywhere else. For this reason we support 3-338. It allows a URD to be tailored to the unique needs of an area and provides for voter approval within the boundaries it will affect.

Paul Riggs

Secretary-Treasurer, Columbia Pacific Building and Construction Trades Council

Squash the countywide cynics

We are in the midst of another cynical, confusing campaign season.

My frustration with many older voters (Yes, I'm one!) is their focus. It seems their focus is on themselves and not on building viable, economic communities for future generations…for their grandchildren.

Simply put, 3-386 is intended to kill all future redevelopment efforts in the county. Backers of 3-386 would rather see blighted commercial areas of our beautiful county continue to wither and die, allowing the seediness and economic degradation to grow further.

With all due respect to us gray-haired boomers, it is time to make something of our blighted communities. It is time for boomers to think of leaving something of value to future generations. It is time to stop 'taking' and time to continue 'building' vibrant communities within Clackamas County.

I could just be in a cynical mood here, but it sure feels like an out-of-state effort is behind funding 3-386. It sure feels like the extreme right side of the national political spectrum is using our county for their purposes by pushing 3-386 so hard. Let's not let them succeed.

Measure 3-388 will enable all of Clackamas County to thrive in coming decades. 388 will enable voters of a specific area to determine their own future… and pay for it themselves! 388 will enable more control, by more local citizens on how to turn around economically blighted areas. People, this is about our county's future. It is about future generations wanting to live in Clackamas County; not abandon it to other counties and states where job and life potential is far greater.

Fred Nelligan

Oak Grove

Everyone pays for 'local' urban renewal decisions

Voters should not subsidize urban renewal areas in the name of 'local control.' It's a wolf in sheep's clothing. It's taxation without representation. It's a sham.

County commissioners who sponsored Measure 3-388 spin the slogan 'local control,' asking why anyone in Molalla, Lake Oswego, Oregon City and even Government Camp, etc., should care about an urban renewal district in some other part of the county. Why? First, they should care because people outside an urban renewal area subsidize the costs within an area through the property taxes they pay.

Second, sadly, urban renewal diverts dollars from vital public services. Example: From millions of dollars in taxes collected in the Town Center plan, Clackamas Fire District No. 1 gets only $79,000 per year to protect the entire Town Center area ($600 million worth of assessed value). Fire protection and emergency service for Town Center cost a lot more than $79,000! Who makes up the shortfall for fire service in the Clackamas Town Center area?

You guessed it! The people of Happy Valley, of Oregon City, of Oak Lodge, of Milwaukie, Johnson City and Beavercreek all subsidize fire service to the Town Center. They pay because they are within the fire district boundaries yet outside the boundaries of the urban renewal district. The urban renewal district does not provide enough funds for fire service.

What happens to the rest of the collected taxes? Your guess is as good as mine. I know $15 million went to TriMet for the Green Line train service. Worth it? Maybe. How would you have voted, if you had the vote? I think other needs come first.

It's not only fire protection. It's true for law enforcement, education, social services, community health and virtually all other government programs-people outside the urban renewal boundaries pay for services received by those within the boundaries.

It's a serious flaw in Measure 3-388, which may grant 'local control,' but it most assuredly results in a countywide tax subsidy. Measure 3-388 diverts taxes from people living outside urban renewal areas to the people within the urban renewal areas. Measure 3-388 taxes all county property taxpayers without their consent…taxation without representation.

Local control can be granted within a proposed renewal area. A LID (local improvement district) can be formed with a vote of local citizens who also approve the payments for the bonds to make improvements. An LID ensures local control without countywide tax subsidy.

Measure 3-386 lets the property tax voters who pay for urban renewal make decisions about urban renewal.

If the county has a plan for renewal area benefitting citizens, taxpayers might well support those plans. But voters should not be asked to subsidize urban renewal areas in the name of 'local control.' Get real.

John F. Williams, Jr.

Oregon City