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Judge: Clackamas County must pay for MAX line

Clackamas County is legally obligated to continue funding the Portland to Milwaukie Light Rail Project, a state judge ruled Monday.

Circuit Court Judge Henry C. Breithaupt ruled the county breached its contractual commitments when it held up a portion of its previously-approved funding for the project.

In response to a suit filed by TriMet, Breithaupt ruled the county breached its contractual commitments to the project and must now continue supporting the $1.4 billion project or pay monetary damages.

Breithaupt said that two recent ballot measures from September 2012 and May 2013 do not “…excuse performance by Clackamas County of its obligations under the IGA and Supplemental IGA.”

IGA stands for intergovernmental agreement. They were signed between TriMet and the county.

Referring to the IGAs, Breithaupt noted, “It is important to recognize that those agreements were acts by the parties in a long string of actions by each of the parties…for the purpose of carrying forward a common decision to build the light rail system…”

TriMet General Manager Neil McFsrlane applauded the agreement.

“We’re pleased that the Court upheld the long-standing commitments that TriMet and the County have made,” McFarlane said. “We also remain committed to working with the County while it completes its final obligations to the project.”

Construction on the Portland-Milwaukie project is more than 40 percent complete and set to open in September 2015. The 7.3-mile project is the region’s sixth MAX cline to be built and will extends from Portland State University in downtown Portland through South Waterfront and Southeast Portland to Milwaukie and North Clackamas County.