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Chief petitioner isn't looking out for city

One of the chief petitioners of Measure 3-407, J. Kevin Hunt, is an attorney whose profession is to make arguments and win cases. Unfortunately, his desire to win often gets in the way of his telling the whole truth.

Readers must remember that Hunt supported recalled City Commissioner Jim Nicita in his efforts to kill The Rivers-Cabela’s project. And, today, Hunt is still actively trying to thwart future urban renewal developments by sponsoring Measure 3-407. He wants to sway voters to support his charter-change effort, but he is NOT looking out for Oregon City’s economic future.

In his latest op-ed piece (“Urban-renewal fight to set the record straight,” Sept. 12.), attorney Hunt alleged that I had misled readers when I called him out for willfully twisting Mayor Neeley’s comments about Oregon City voters. Hunt intentionally put words into Neeley’s mouth in an effort to turn public opinion against the Mayor’s valid concerns about Measure 3-407.

Mayor Neeley is a trusted public servant who would NEVER say, as attorney Hunt misquoted, that “Oregon City residents are too dumb and lazy to vote on urban-renewal bonds.” Hunt’s intention was to embarrass and discredit our mayor, but he actually embarrassed and discredited himself.

Regarding T5 Equities, attorney Hunt made it sound like he had uncovered some impropriety on my part, but once again, he misrepresented the facts. The Oregon City Urban Renewal Agency awarded $155,000 to T5 Equities (Actually to Funnelbox Production Studios) in an effort to help revitalize downtown Oregon City. T5 Equities INVESTED over $4.5 million of its own money to purchase and rehabilitate six blighted buildings along Main Street, and plans to spend another $1 million on the Masonic Lodge building in the near future.

The renovations made by T5 have substantially increased the property values of these blighted buildings and have caused tax revenues on these properties to more than double. Increasing Oregon City’s tax base in this way is exactly how urban renewal is supposed to work.

Urban renewal is a great investment tool for our city, and in the long run, will provide greater funding for our fire, police and other city services. Not only that, but these private-public investments have incentivized new businesses to locate in downtown Oregon City, creating as many as 90 new jobs. This has provided a great boost to our city’s burgeoning economy.

Finally, in his last op-ed piece, Hunt desperately tried to wrap Measure 3-407 in the American flag and apple pie, but this, too, is deceptive. Measure 3-407 is not about our right to vote—we already have that right as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

So, please don’t allow attorney Hunt to deceive you into thinking Measure 3-407 is about anything other than blocking urban renewal investments in Oregon City and hurting our prospects for economic growth, jobs and increased tax revenues for vital city services.

The Oregon City Chamber of Commerce and the Oregon City Business Alliance both oppose this flawed measure. I’m urging you to see through attorney Hunt’s misleading arguments and vote ‘No’ on Measure 3-407. It’s just not in Oregon City’s best interest.

Robb Crocker is a downtown business owner.



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