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Goodall Road expansions coming to voters in March

Citizen petitions to stop approved projects, ask voters to weigh in

Lake Oswego voters will soon weigh in on 4-foot road-widening projects approved by the city council earlier this year.by: REVIEW FILE PHOTO - A car travels on Goodall Road, which has been widened multiple times over the years as vacant properties were developed. Voters will weigh in on additional approved expansions this spring.

The council on Tuesday passed along a measure to voters asking whether approved road expansions near several properties on Goodall Road should be allowed to proceed.

The council gave the expansions a green light over the summer. Required as conditions of approval for developers to divide land at 13888, 13912 and 14050 Goodall Road, they weren’t a heated topic.

But Chris Robinson, who owns property next to those at issue and is chairman of the Forest Highlands Neighborhood Association, challenged the projects, which would take some private property to widen the road and make it safer for shared use by cars and bikes.

Around the time he filed petitions against the projects, he said, “The idea of pathways is wonderful, but when it involves the taking of private property, that has a diminishing effect on the value of that property.”

Initially Robinson also challenged a similar expansion on Douglas Way but withdrew that petition.

The looming election stems from a provision in the city charter, the legal document outlining how the city government works. Added decades ago, the provision requires the city to hold a special election if a citizen gathers 25 signatures from voters opposed to certain road projects. Projects that qualify include new roads wider than 32 feet and the widening of any existing road that would be 20 feet or wider after its expansion.

Voters approved the provision in November 1976, a time when many citizens were up in arms over a planned Bryant Road expansion that they feared would forever alter Lake Oswego’s small-town character.

The challenge process has been rarely used since then. According to the city, only one road-widening project has come up for a public vote this way since 1980, when the charter section was last amended. In that case, although citizens petitioned to challenge approval of Jean Road’s expansion in May 1999, voters ultimately approved the project, allowing it to move forward.

In the case of Goodall Road, widening has already taken place at two of the three properties. If voters shoot down the road expansions, the pavement will have to be narrowed.

The measure will appear on the ballot in a March 11 election.

Kara Hansen can be reached at khansen@lakeoswegoreview.com and 503-636-1281, ext. 107. Follow her on Twitter, @LOreporter.

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