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Letter to the editor: Nov. 2, 2011

Let's keep the voting local

I question if people of Clackamas County fully understand the consequences of voting for Measure 3-386.

This measure applies only to unincorporated communities - the small, rural communities of this county.

It would require the entire county to vote their approval for unincorporated villages and towns to do any form of urban improvement.

Do you honestly believe the people of Oregon City or Milwaukie or any of the other heavily populated incorporated cities and towns - the suburbs of Portland - would vote to approve a measure to improve parking in an unincorporated portion of the county near Sandy or Estacada?

Requiring a countywide vote will hamstring all improvements for those of us in these rural areas that are not incorporated.

Measure 3-388 requires a vote of the citizens, but only the citizens of the area involved, not those who live on the other side of the county and do not benefit from improvements in our small rural towns and villages.

Can you imagine having to run a countywide campaign every time you need to improve your little village? Keep the vote local. Vote yes on Measure 3-388.

Fran Mazzara

Welches

No on 3-386, yes on 3-388

There are two measures on the ballot regarding urban renewal. I am urging Estacada/Clackamas County voters to vote yes on Measure 3-388.

This measure provides for local, not countywide, elections to create urban renewal districts. This enables the citizens who are most affected and who will pay for the urban renewal project to have a vote and not have a decision forced on them by someone who lives in another part of Clackamas County.

Linda Kincaid

Estacada

Another yes for Measure 3-388

Two ballots measures, 3-386 and 3-388, 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 voice in forming these districts.

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

An urban renewal district is an important tool in the economic development of an area, but the decision to form one is best left to the residents living within its boundaries.

Clackamas County is economically and geographically varied ranging from forested wilderness to densely 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 Measure 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.

Measure 3-388, on the other hand, limits the voting to only those residents who live within the proposed district.

Thus, a voter in Canby would make a decision on an urban renewal district in Canby, but not on one in say, Welches, Wilsonville or Estacada or anywhere else. For this reason, we support Measure 3-338.

It allows an urban renewal district to be tailored to the unique needs of an area and provides for voter approval within the boundaries it will affect. No on 3-386 and yes for progress on 3-388.

Paul Riggs

Executive secretary/treasurer

Columbia Pacific Building and Construction Trades Council

Vote yes on 3-386, no on 3-388

It is vital to our schools, fire and public safety services that we all understand urban renewal as we mark our ballots.

Currently, county commissioners can create an urban renewal district wherever they want for projects they'd like to do. These districts freeze property taxes in place for long periods (typically 20 years) in a prescribed zone and the tax collections on increases in property value are diverted from their normal taxing districts (services) to pay for urban renewal projects to improve the area.

While on the surface it sounds like a good plan to improve blighted areas in our communities, there is a good argument that the process is being abused.

Some urban renewal proponents claim taxpayers are not affected by this process. This is untrue for this reason: While taxes in an urban renewal district are being used for specific projects, the costs associated with services for that area (police, fire, schools, etc.) continue to rise as they normally would. With the taxes that the urban renewal district would have paid for services being frozen, the taxpayers pick up the tab with levies, such as the one in place for the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

Citizens of Milwaukie have twice voted against having light rail come through their neighborhoods. Yet, county commissioners could create an urban renewal district that would force Milwaukie and all county taxpayers to pick up the $25 million tab for the project.

Passage of Measure 3-386, would require commissioners to put projects such as Milwaukie light rail to a vote of all county taxpayers.

Urban renewal districts create countywide debt, so it should require a countywide vote.

Vote yes on 3-386.

Traci Hensley

Canby

Little League clarification

In last week's letter to the editor ('A final comment from the Little League') there was an adjustment made during the editing process of the letter, so please allow me to clarify.

Boring Damascus Little League is expanding its boundaries, this much is true. With those expansions come more field availability for our league's use within our new expanded boundaries.

At no time has Boring Damascus Little League applied for field usage at Kelso Elementary or Cottrell, nor do we intend to at this time. With this clarification, we hope to lay to rest this nonissue and move forward with planning out our upcoming seasons.

Again we at Boring Damascus Little League wish Cal Ripken and all its participants a successful season, and many seasons to come.

Jill Monteith, president

Boring Damascus Little League