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Letters to the Editor for April 19

Give Tigard a chance to re-examine annexation

In the March 22 issue of The Times, my friend Ken Henschel made the point that nothing has changed regarding Tigard's annexation policies since the rejection of annexation by Bull Mountain voters in November 2004, notwithstanding Tigard's announcement a few weeks ago that it has substantially altered its approach to annexations.

Time will prove that Ken's pessimism is well founded if, in the coming months, no change in Tigard's annexation policies is discernible. But, in fairness to the city, I think it is premature to come to a firm conclusion on the matter at this time, and it would be appropriate to give the city an opportunity to demonstrate that, in fact, it has changed its attitude. In short, let's give the city a chance.

It's important that we not let such efforts as annexation, incorporation and the like blind us to this fact of life: defeat of both annexation and incorporation has done absolutely nothing to address the core issues that need to be dealt with.

On Bull Mountain there is still no program to create parks; the Bull Mountain Community Plan (BMCP) is still totally ignored by developers; there still is no comprehensive planning being done for the Bull Mountain area, including traffic planning; there still are no meaningful tree protection policies; and nothing is being done via density transfers to provide for some larger lots, thereby meeting the housing diversity required by the statewide housing goals, and on and on.

While defeat of the 2004 annexation proposal was essential to prevent Tigard from extending to Bull Mountain the improper practices it had allowed within the city and the attempt to incorporate a new city was a reasonable option, the fact remains that nothing has been accomplished that will preserve - certainly not enhance - the quality of life on Bull Mountain. And lying ahead is planning for UGB 63 and 64, the development of which will have an enormous impact on all of us on Bull Mountain. Bull Mountain should be 'at the table' during that planning process.

I believe that the decisions we make concerning the core issues I have listed above will be determinative of the future quality of life on Bull Mountain. Instead of standing on the sidelines and permitting the piecemeal annexation of the rest of Bull Mountain and its continued development in derogation of the BMCP, permitting the construction of more congested developments on tiny lots, choked by parked cars on both sides of 'skinny' streets, and permitting the continued deforestation of the land by the builders, I want to send Tigard this message: If the city is willing to join with committed Bull Mountain residents in discussing the core 'livability' issues and exploring together, whether we can find common ground to address them, I for one will accept Tigard's pronouncement that it has, indeed, adopted a new approach to annexation and towards future Bull Mountain development, and I will work earnestly with the city to implement it.

DICK FRANZKE

Unincorporated Bull Mountain