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Boring mulls Metros faults, benefits

Two months of discussion and consideration lie ahead before vote


Sept. 3 was another of those Tuesdays when the Boring Community Planning Organization filled its meeting room beyond capacity.

The topic of the two-hour meeting? Should the Boring area be inside or outside of Metro’s boundaries? Currently, about one-half is inside the boundaries.

The three options, said CPO Chairman Steve Bates, are to do nothing, ask that the rest of Boring be annexed into Metro, or ask to withdraw all of Boring from Metro’s jurisdiction.

Bates read parts of a discussion document with information about Metro’s relationship with the Boring area. He then listened to people’s comments, and when changes in the document’s statements were suggested, Bates took hand counts to see if making the change got general support.

Bates’ statements in the 12-page document included the fact that it would be unfair — in the event Boring becomes a city — to adopt regulations that meet Metro’s requirements and apply them to Boring residents who live outside Metro boundaries.

Bates’ research shows that residents of Clackamas and Washington counties consistently vote against Metro ballot measures, while Multnomah County and Portland residents regularly vote in favor of Metro.

Boring residents, Bates said, like rural life and do not want high-density population centers.

But Metro’s code and its actions have shown its leaders are planning high-density population for the portion of Boring inside Metro.

Metro uses the taxes it collects from Boring residents, Bates said, to support the Oregon Zoo, which offers summer concerts mainly for Portland residents and does not offer a discount to people who have paid Metro taxes.

Parking at the zoo has not been increased, he said. Instead, the city of Portland has been allowed to operate zoo parking and collect fees that have doubled in the past few years.

When Bates received general consensus of approval for those statements on the document, he continued reading.

He mentioned the way Metro has supported the light rail project to Milwaukie but has done very little about the Sunrise Corridor request during the past 30 years.

Bates posed the question of why Boring needs to be under Metro’s jurisdiction if it already is under Senate Bill 100 (Oregon Land Use Law).

Bates reminded CPO members that Metro was a party to two agreements with the city of Sandy that in effect would take property from Boring landowners and require them to plant trees and not use the land for any other purpose — without payment for the land value.

Noting that more than one-half of the area controlled by the agreements is outside of Metro boundaries and the city of Sandy also is not within Metro boundaries, Bates wondered if Metro was overstepping its powers.

“Metro will meet with people outside of their jurisdiction,” Bates said, “to enter into agreements that affect their constituents without consulting those constituents.”

When the people of Boring and rural Clackamas County supported forming a rural area commission on transportation, Metro opposed it.

And instead of the Portland area forming an area commission on transportation, it uses Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT). Unfortunately, Bates told the CPO crowd, JPACT has zero members representing rural interests in any of the four counties it serves.

In his position statement being discussed at the CPO meeting, Bates also complained about Metro taking over the zoo because the city of Portland couldn’t afford to operate it; taking control of Multnomah County parks to help the county with its budget woes; taking control of Multnomah County pioneer cemeteries to help the county balance its budget; managing the Portland Centers for the Performing Arts to help Portland’s budget; and spending $75,000 to promote building a hotel at the Convention Center, which would benefit only Portland and Multnomah County.

“The people of Boring are paying taxes to Metro,” Bates summarized his views, “and they are spending these regional dollars to subsidize the city of Portland and Multnomah County.”

Before ending the discussion and editing of the written statement to Metro, Bates reminded the group that whenever Metro uses the money it gets from taxpayers to buy land, that action raises taxes to every homeowner in the region because Metro’s purchase takes that land off the tax rolls.

The CPO’s plan is to submit the edited and approved document to Metro so its staff and Metro representative, Shirley Craddick, can attend the Oct. 1 CPO meeting and give a sales pitch on why Boring should not try to withdraw from Metro.

A response from the Clackamas County Commission or its staff has been requested for the Nov. 5 meeting. At that time, the CPO will decide which of the three options it will vote on at the Dec. 3 meeting.

For more information, call Bates at 503-663-6271.