Metro regional flexible funds: Opportunity or 'scab job'?
A request for $3 million from Metro to construct a trail on the west side of Milwaukie's S.E. 17th Avenue to connect the Trolley Trail and Springwater Corridor is among six projects that Clackamas County wants funded through the regional government.
But there's a limited amount of funds available - approximately $3 million for Clackamas County - for projects that benefit pedestrian, bicycle and freight movement. Recommendations on which projects to fund will be made Aug. 4 by a 12-member subcommittee composed of County Commissioner Ann Lininger and 11 elected officials from each city. (Sidebar to the right includes more info on public comment meeting July 21.)
Thelma Haggenmiller of Oak Grove plans to use Friends of Trolley Trail letterhead to support a decade-long dream of the group to connect the natural trails, a $3.4-million initiative also sponsored by the city of Milwaukie and the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District.
'That was an important component, and I'm going to support that in a letter to Metro,' said Haggenmiller. 'One of the reasons we wanted them to buy the right of way they did buy was because of its connection to the 40-mile natural loop.'
Les Poole, another resident of Oak Grove, argued that even the full $3 million would be a 'scab job' since local agencies haven't the money to clean up Kellogg Lake and Kronberg Park contamination.
'I paid a couple hundred thousand dollars in taxes during my lifetime at least, and I don't want it to go to an ill-conceived idea that features a crime-ridden terminus to a natural trail,' Poole said. 'We get across to the highway, and the minimal impacts that we should have been having at the Trolley Trail are now going to be major with the overpass going up McLoughlin Boulevard.'
Haggenmiller said that, unlike Poole, she's been trying to keep Trolley Trail issues separate from light rail concerns.
'I'm concerned with the Trolley Trail and the things we started in 2000, and his concern is stopping light rail, and he often comes out very negatively about things,' she said.
Haggenmiller insists that she is not anti-light rail; she has instead been working to allow the citizens of Clackamas County a vote on funding the commission's promise to contribute $25 million to the project.
County Commission Chair Charlotte Lehan wants to keep freight movement, which is a focus for the local business community, at the top of the priority list. Clackamas County is requesting $790,000 for development and construction of signal equipment, signal timing and minor roadway improvements in congested subareas of the Clackamas Industrial Area.
'This is a wonderful opportunity,' Lehan said in a press release, 'to improve travel options for our residents that promote sustainable communities and a healthy lifestyle.'
In a work session this month, however, Lehan expressed hope that funds could be distributed in a way that costs taxpayers less through planning and public involvement. She cautioned against a 'trend to spend more money on a smaller pot,' referring to the Interstate 5 to Highway 99W Connector Project.
'We've spent $6-8 million probably without any decision to go anywhere (on the connector),' she said.
The following projects are also requesting funding:
• $1.55 million for project development and construction of the Interstate-205 multi-use trail from the intersection of 10th Street and Salamo Road in West Linn to 11th and Main streets in Oregon City.
• $2.97 million of the estimated $6 million in proposed added median treatments, sidewalks, bike lanes, street lighting and bus shelters along 82nd Avenue Boulevard between Monterey and Sunnyside.
• $180,000 for project development and design of the Mt. Scott Creek Trail Extension in Happy Valley for an alternate pedestrian route from the trail/footbridge west of 122nd/129th avenues, west to Southern Lites Park, south under Sunnyside Road to Mt. Talbert Nature Park.
• $1.5 million for preliminary engineering on the Boones Ferry Road/Lake Grove Town Center in Lake Oswego to reconstruct the cross-section of Boones Ferry Road from Kruse Way to Madrona, adding bike lanes, sidewalks, planting strips, mid-block pedestrian crossings and a greenstreet median to treat stormwater.
Comments due July 21