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Cornelius, Hillsboro at odds on reserves

Metro and Washington County hear hours of testimony, all over a map

The meeting wasn't about Cornelius until the city packed the room with its advocates, begging Washington County Commissioners and Metro Councilors to ditch a plan to add an urban reserve north of Highway 26 near the heart of the farming community of Helvetia.

Instead, Cornelius planning commissioners, officials and employers argued that the Cornelius' latest proposal for adding an urban reserve north of its city limits should be considered by the joint body deliberating the latest brokered deal to establish urban and rural reserves in Washington County that will dictate the growth pattern of the region for the next 50 years.

The county and Metro, the regional planning agency, set the Tuesday meeting in downtown Hillsboro to discuss a proposed reserves deal that could, with enough votes, break a stalemate in the now years-long process to establish a new way to manage the region's growth.

That process hit a major hiccup last Oct. 29 when the state's Land Development and Conservation Commission toppled a previous agreement between Metro and its three constituent counties.

The reason? Cornelius.

The LCDC said the region couldn't put an urban reserve north of Council Creek, which roughly forms the northern boundary of Cornelius, and remanded the reserves to the county.

Since then, a trio of proposals have been floated by various political factions. The Cornelius option, which would pare back the urban reserve north of the city, the option on the table at Tuesday's meeting, which would add an urban reserve in Helvetia, or a third: to do little and send the reserves plan back to LCDC without the controversial Cornelius land or the Helvetia reserve.

Jerry Willy, Mayor of Hillsboro, argued in favor of Helvetia plan.

He said he wants to ensure opportunities to create jobs, livability in city and state as a whole. Developable land would do that.

"This is not about Hillsboro. This is about our state."

Bob Clay, of the city of Portland, gave a different message. He said he was sent on behalf of Portland Mayor Sam Adams and city commissioner Amanda Fritz to plead with the two bodies to dump the idea of an urban reserve in Helvetia.

The meeting, which was scheduled to run from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday was still underway without a single vote when the News-Times went to press at 5 p.m., check online Wednesday for more updates on the votes and fallout of the reserves battle.