This vote is democracy in action
- Charles Ormsby
- Lake Oswego Review - Opinion
As a concerned, involved citizen for the Birdshill area in Clackamas County, including city of Lake Oswego taxlots, I support passage of the city of Lake Oswego Ballot Measure 3-269 as presented by Ask Lake Oswegans.
In December 2005 I gave public testimony to the Lake Oswego City Council. The testimony included a paper titled 'Schema for Calculation Evaluation.' This was in response to the proposed $300 million-plus Clearwater Waste Water Treatment Plant on the Clackamas River northeast of the Oregon City Shopping Center.
Clearwater had been endorsed by both Mayor Hammerstad and then-Councilor Lynn Peterson in their testimony before the Clackamas County Commissioners in August 2005. Clearwater was to centralize sewage treatment in Clackamas County. And possibly enable the decommissioning of the Tryon Creek WWTP in Lake Oswego. Decommissioning Tryon Creek cost estimates were $40 to $150 million- plus thereby enabling the redevelopment (densification) of the Foothills district and ultimate extension of Portland Streetcar service to Lake Oswego with minimal voter review.
Citizens in Clackamas County Service District 1 found egregious benefits for selected cities in various Intergovernmental Agreements. Therefore these citizens took on Clackamas County via the initiative petition process and were met with a SLAP suit of intimidation. Action by the 5th Circuit Court for the state of Oregon (Clackamas County) favored the citizens over the Clackamas County Board of County Commissioners in November 2005.
However the court decision only forced a negotiated settlement rather than an election scheduled for early 2006.
I saw a continuation of this stormfront of public project debt approaching both the Birdshill area and the city of Lake Oswego. My response was a paper titled 'Schema for Calculation Evaluation.' The paper presented methods by which project costs could be exposed for thoughtful public debate. Debate on such costs had been squelched on both Clearwater and OHSU tram projects by advocates and politicians.
The intent of the paper was to expose project details, dependencies and interrelationships to the public. And avoid public comments by consultants to the effect '… the public does not need to know that level of detail …' before the details of both tax and fee bills are delivered to citizen mail boxes.
In my paper I asked that all project cost numbers presented for public review include the following:
1. All reference materials be listed and identified.
2. Givens and requirements be stated and identified.
3. Assumptions be stated and identified.
4. Proof of calculation for each number be demonstrated step by step, with citations from listed references and application of givens, requirements, and assumptions.
5. Cross references in enabling legal documents for any number be linked to calculation summary presentations.
To my knowledge this has never been done with any project proffered since by the city of Lake Oswego including: Safeco, Foothills, Streetcar, Lake Grove Village Plan and Oswego Lake sewer interceptor.
Council's discretionary spending on land purchases is their preverbial 'foot in the door' method of committing the citizens to council's projects.
Thus, the citizens of Lake Oswego for their own financial security need the protection of a vote on discretionary land purchases offered by Measure 3-269.
Validating public support with a citizen vote on projects is democracy in action.
Charles B. 'Skip' Ormsby lives in the Birdshill area, an unincorporated portion of Clackamas County northeast of Lake Oswego.