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Green corridor agreement in the works

Boring leaders suggest plan to gain Highway 26 tree plantings with Metro help


County Commissioner Martha Schrader would like to step between the city of Sandy and Boring residents and say, “Just treat each other as good neighbors.”

For nearly a year, the city of Sandy and the Boring Citizen Participation Organization (CPO) have been at odds over the anticipated effects of an agreement signed in 1997 and another signed in 2011 by representatives from Sandy, Clackamas County and Metro.

The agreements asked landowners alongside Highway 26 between Sandy and Gresham to plant a tree buffer 50 feet deep to shield the view of development from highway passers-by. The buffer is being called a “green corridor.”

After voting Feb. 7 to withdraw from the green corridor agreements, the Clackamas County commissioners would like to see a little more calm in governmental relationships.

But that hasn’t happened.

Schrader stepped forward to say she would mediate the disagreement between the city and the adjacent unincorporated area.

At that point, Boring CPO Chairman Steve Bates took the lead and essentially held out an olive branch, saying he and the CPO have no problem with the idea of a green corridor. The problem is with the way the two agreements planned to take private land and force its owners to plant trees and not use the land for anything else.

Bates hopes that Schrader can broker another agreement that is acceptable to both communities. To that end, Bates has suggested an idea that CPO members approved March 5 — an idea he says might work for both communities.

Bates and Schrader both are banking on one common idea: Both communities want a green corridor.

The point of contention has been what CPO members called the “taking of land” by requiring land owners to give up the use of their land and plant trees.

Bates suggested the trees either could be planted in the ODOT right-of-way adjacent to Highway 26 or a strip of land could be purchased from landowners so there is space to plant the green corridor.

The idea is to create an agency with the sole purpose of planting a green corridor from the Multnomah County border to the Sandy city limits.

Should ODOT not grant permission to plant trees in the highway right-of-way, then the purchased land would be given to the Clackamas County Parks Department for use only as vegetative screening.

Funding for the trees and/or the purchase of land for the green corridor could come from the Metro Greenspace Bond Levy and/or Oregon Lottery funds.

Finally, Bates suggested that the agency would be dissolved if either of these two scenarios happens:

n One year after the green corridor is completely planted.

n Funding is not available for more than one fiscal year.

Bates’ olive branch and Schrader’s mediation is a work in progress. The CPO position statement was mailed late last week; Schrader has yet to schedule a meeting with the leaders of each community; Metro hasn’t responded; and Sandy hasn’t responded.

To date, there’s agreement on the value of a green corridor; there’s a suggested way of gaining a corridor; and there’s an olive branch.

The rest is yet to come.