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Your right to vote on Oregon City 'slush fund'


Why vote?

1. Citizens are able to vote on all other bonds in the city; school, fire and police bonds.

2. Citizens want to close the loophole that allows urban-renewal bonds to be issued without their vote.

3. Citizens question the way precious tax payer dollars are spent on urban renewal.

Why do the citizens question?

1. We have discovered that over seven million urban-renewal dollars were spent on new City Hall; none of it will bring any return into the city coffers.

2. People also discovered that the city commissioners voted to allow up to $130 million of urban-renewal debt without voter approval.

3. Urban renewal has become a slush fund for city staff and favored downtown developers who use public money to fund their deferred maintenance.

4. People live in homes that are also in need of a facelift. Why should residents pay 75 percent of property taxes to be used to maintain private business properties, many owned by non residents.

Why are the developers and city staff so adamantly opposed to the citizens’ right to vote? Why can’t the city come to the table, disclose their agenda and explain it in language citizens can understand?

There has to be a motive that no one wants to talk about. I’ve attended meetings, I’ve listened, I’ve discussed and I come up with only one conclusion, based on a review of the financial details, there is reason to allow monies to be allocated without public disclosure or reason. If there is nothing, then why don’t they want a vote?

Our city staff and commissioners need to be upfront with information that they make decisions on. We continue to be caught up in misinformation and a sense of a lack of transparency. The financial records do not make any sense. That’s not good, not good for the image of the city, and does nothing but create questions. One commissioner even voted no against forwarding a legally presented measure. This is not the kind of government that is for the people, by the people and of the people.

Therefore the citizens of Oregon City have declared their will. They want to have their right to vote on urban-renewal bonds for good reason. They are motivated by past urban renewal decisions that defy public interests. Publicly paid city staff work against public interest and City Commissioners fail to uphold responsibility to represent the public.

As one of three chief petitioners who successfully achieved making this a measure according to the democratic process, I stand by the citizens of Oregon City to have a right to vote.

Oregon City resident Barbara Renken is one of the chief petitioners for Measure 3-407.