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CPO members likely will wait and see how the new commission acts

Boring residents were ready to take a county administrator to task at a recent meeting of the Boring Community Planning Organization.

They were upset because they felt they were ignored by the Clackamas County Commission and county staff after submitting a request that the county withdraw from its green corridor agreements with the city of Sandy and Metro.

Those agreements would require before development a planted tree buffer 50 feet wide along Highway 26 near Boring.

All of this had taken place without any notice to the Boring residents affected by the agreements, and that is why the CPO sent a letter to the county demanding the withdrawal.

The most recent position statement from CPO Chairman Steve Bates says he wants the CPO to continue demanding that the county withdraw from the “green corridor” agreements signed in 1998 and 2011.

He said the agreements have the appearance of government taking private land with only one purpose: to make a view more aesthetically pleasing.

The agreement also devalues the land inside the easement buffer, said Bates. Dan Chandler, Clackamas County’s strategic policy administrator, who was influential in securing the agreement, agreed with Bates’ idea of devalued land.

Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Lehan told the CPO earlier this year that the 2011 agreement was signed to appease the city of Sandy, and she has ignored the CPO’s request to place the withdrawal on the agenda.

Commission Chairman-elect John Ludlow told the CPO and The Post recently that he would get that item on the commission’s agenda at one of the first meetings in January after he has been sworn into office.

Chandler visited with a packed house of about 55 CPO members Nov. 6 to help them understand the agreements.

Prior to the meeting, he told The Post he thought the agreements affected only about 20 landowners, and he preferred meeting with those people outside of the CPO meeting. But his name was on the agenda, and he stayed to speak to the entire group for about 40 minutes.

Chandler said the 1998 agreement created a large rural reserve and a buffer 200 feet wide along Highway 26 from the western Sandy city limits to the UGB.

But he also said it is his opinion that agreement is not valid because only three of the four entities in the agreement signed the document. The Oregon Department of Transportation did not sign.

The city of Sandy threatened the state Land Conservation and Development Commission with an appeal, Chandler said.

“Sandy’s attorney said we’re going to appeal (a decision on Metro’s urban reserves),” Chandler said, “because you violated the 1998 (green corridor) agreement. But if you negotiate a different agreement, we won’t appeal.”

Chandler, who represented the county in this negotiation, said he thinks the agreement means that granting an easement is voluntary, and if granted, the government entities will get together and try to find some trees to plant.

But as Bates reads the agreement, the easement and tree buffer are required, he said.

Affecting the agreements in an unknown way are the 26 appeals currently before the Oregon Court of Appeals regarding Metro’s urban and rural reserves designations. Chandler said those appeals might be out of that court by next spring.

That’s when the 1998 agreement will become history, he said, and the 2011 agreement will be in effect.

Bates argues that the county is saying no buffer would be required until a future city takes over governance of the area.

Bates calls it a “mythical city.” He states there is no law that requires a city to govern where land is approved for “urbanization.”

But Chandler says Metro’s Title 11 requires that any area coming into the UGB must have a governing city formed with a concept plan.

Chandler apologized for the lack of communication, and said that’s why he wanted to speak to the Boring CPO.

“I gotta admit there was a failure of outreach to you folks,” he told CPO members Nov. 6. “That’s part of the reason I told Commissioner (Jamie) Damon I’d come out here (to Boring).”

Chandler described the thinking at the time of the 2011 agreement that included the idea that the future urban area was employment related; it would provide jobs for the region. That suggested the parcels of land would be large (an industrial park), and a 50-foot buffer wouldn’t be a significant easement.

The future city wouldn’t be of importance, Chandler said, until land comes into the UGB to be developed.

He suggested meeting with the 20 landowners who own small parcels in the affected area near highways 26 and 212 and writing an acceptable amendment for the agreement.

But he also reminded the group that the county might withdraw from the agreement if John Ludlow places that item on the commission’s agenda.

Chandler answered the group’s other questions before the meeting ended, but everyone agreed at the end to wait and see what happens in January at the commission meetings.

If the county withdraws from the agreement, the discussion is finished.

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