Official: Tigard vote does not stop Southwest Corridor Plan
Work will continue of the Southwest Corridor Plan, despite voter approval of a ballot measure that raises question about whether a high capacity transit line can be built through Tigard.
That includes a design workshop scheduled at Tigard Center Hall next Wednesday.
Bob Stacey, a Metro Councilor who is co-chairing the steering committee overseeing the development of the plan, says passage of the measure does not eliminate the congestion problems it is intended to address.
"I think the sky is not falling. The longer we fail to address the congestion problems, they more they are going to cost," says Stacey.
Stacey also thinks the campaign and vote will ultimately prove beneficial for the plan because of the increased visibility and debate. He was impressed that around 36 percent of Tigard voters mailed in their ballots, and noted that the narrow margin of victory 220 out of 9,917 votes as of Thursday morning show the city is closely divided on the issue.
"What I think it shows is that people want to be involved in the decision, they want more information, and they want to know what it will do and what it will cost," says Stacey.
Stacey says he believes Tigard planners can continue working on, despite the fact that the measure puts the city officially on record as opposing a news high capacity transit line, one of its principal features. Stacey understands the extent of their work will be determined by the Tigard City Council after consulting with legal counsel.
Although the measure also requires a public vote on any future high capacity line, Stacey says that does not poses an unsurmountable obstacle. Tigard already has a charter requirement that a vote be held if taxes or fees need to be raised to fund a new line. Stacey says the ultimate cost of the project may be so high that numerous governments decide to ask voters to approve funds for it.
The Southwest Corridor Plan has been in the works for around two years. It envisions a high capacity transit line in the corridor between Portland and Tualatin, passing through Tigard. No decision has been made on whether it should be light rail line or bus rapid transit, which involves dedicated bus lanes. Governments along the line are discussing the kinds of developments they would like to see the line help generated. No official budget estimates have yet been released.
The Tigard design workshop will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on March 19 at City Hall, 13125 S.W. Hall Blvd.