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There are good reasons to vote no on Measures 3-425 and 3-426. Selling a section of the still under-construction Trolley Trail Park to TriMet will blight the park with long-term environmental damage. TriMet intends to build a 35-foot-high light-rail overpass on top of the trail, and in exchange we’ll end up with a narrow path, much of it wedged against tall concrete walls.

TriMet apparently chose the route because it was the lowest cost option for extending the rail line to the edge of Oak Grove. In spite of the $1.5 billion borrowed cost, there isn’t enough money in the budget for an appropriate design south of downtown Milwaukie. TriMet has ignored a mandate to construct a shorter line if funding could not be balanced.

TriMet is developing some of the property along McLoughlin Blvd without a land use approval, and previously failed to obtain tree cutting permits in their effort to bulldoze through our park. (Search on line for “Milwaukie light rail simulations” and you’ll see what the neighborhood near River Road will look like in two years.)

One of the measures is described as a “property exchange,” as though it’s a good deal for us. Allowing our trail to be needlessly sacrificed is not a good deal. It’s apparent to anyone who drives by that the impacts are dramatic, and the citizens have been fooled. The Parks District was not adequately informed in 2010 when they mistakenly gave a “minimum impact” approval for what was still being planned.

During the past few years the truth about TriMet’s operations has been revealed. Newspapers, including the Clackamas Review are filled with bad news resulting from TriMet’s poor decision making.

All of this would have been avoided if TriMet and most of the previous county commissioners had allowed a public vote before committing to a design that most citizens had never seen. Please read the statement in the Voters’ Pamphlet written by Thelma Haggenmiller, a local citizen who spearheaded creating the Trolley Trail Park. After reading it, ask yourself why there are no Voters’ Pamphlet arguments in favor of the measure. I’ve never seen that occur before.

It’s time to send TriMet a strong message, and it’s time to save our park. Please vote no on Measures 3-424 and 3-425.

Les Poole is a resident of Oak Grove.

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