At the Jan. 7 Boring CPO meeting, residents will vote by ballot to fix community division

The Boring Community Planning Organization is about to reach a decision on a question it’s been pondering for at least a couple years: “To Metro or not to Metro.”

The CPO is scheduled to decide on the issue during its meeting Tuesday, Jan. 7.

Metro is the elected regional government created in 1977 that largely deals with land-use planning and green space conservation. Metro’s eastern border crosses through Boring, raising issues of service equity for those who live outside the boundary.

If Boring ever were to incorporate as a city, only half of that town would be subject to Metro policies.

That’s been the subject of discussion at recent CPO gatherings. At the Jan. 7 meeting, the CPO is expected to set a course for future action.

On Jan. 7, there will be a ballot vote presenting three options:

n Do nothing and leave the boundaries as they are.

n Endorse a petition to withdraw from Metro.

n Support the annexation of the rest of Boring into Metro.

To Steve Bates, chairman of the Boring CPO, the outcome of the vote is almost assured. He already has drawn up a petition to withdraw from Metro, which he expects to present after the vote.

Assuming the vote sides with abandoning Metro, the petition would circulate through April, and be presented to Metro and the Legislature on or around May 1.

Bates said he’s been asked why he would go to the trouble of drafting the petition ahead of the Jan. 7 meeting. What if the vote goes another way?

“If (the vote goes as expected), then all the work is done,” Bates said. “We can go about getting signatures.”

Bates hopes the vote will be decisive, and that he will not have to intervene with the final say as chairman. Throughout the process, Bates and the CPO invited Metro representatives to participate in discussion and help them arrive at solutions. Bates said Metro did not respond to those invitations.

Bates is a candidate for Clackamas County commissioner.

Regardless of the outcome of the vote on Metro representation, Boring is nearing a crossroads of what the community will look like in the near and not-so-near future.

Jim Middaugh, Metro’s communication director who attended the CPO meeting in December, said Boring has a lot of work ahead of it in figuring out what it wants to be, and that it will be a challenge to make sure that everyone within the community is included.

But Bates said everything has been done to make sure the people of Boring are being heard through this process.

At a CPO meeting, residents are able to vote only if they have attended two previous meetings, a fact Bates tried to make clear in the 15-page document he sent out on the subject.

Also, the petition and vote to withdraw apply only to the areas of Boring within the Boring CPO boundaries, a small area surrounding downtown Boring.

“It’s important that people know we’re not trying to rule the roost,” Bates said. “This only applies to the community within the CPO.”

One further concern for Boring residents with this petition is the fact that something like this has never been attempted.

“If not now, when?” Bates said. “And if not us, who?”

Bates said he does not anticipate any unforeseen consequences with this petition.

“It’s just ink and paper,” he said.

But Middaugh said there will be consequences. To him, there are ways that people benefit from government every day, and he does not want the people of Boring to lose out.

“We benefit from schools even if we don’t have kids ... and we benefit from a well-managed system of planning and growth,” he said. “If we start getting into ‘I pay this much and I get that much,’ it doesn’t reflect the history and working together to protect what makes this place so special.”

Kylie Wray and Steve Brown contributed to this report.

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