Metro Council OKs Stafford agreement
The Metro Council has put its stamp of approval on an agreement to shape the future of the Stafford urban reserve nestled between Tualatin, Lake Oswego and West Linn.
The 4-0 vote Thursday (June 22) cleared the way for a signing ceremony, which is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. June 28 in the fourth-floor hearing room at the Clackamas County Public Services Building, 2051 Kaen Rd., Oregon City.
The agreement follows up the council's June 15 vote to designate urban reserves — open to development in 50 years — and rural reserves in Clackamas and Multnomah counties.
"I just want to say let's get on with it," said Metro Council President Tom Hughes, who took part in the meeting via telephone.
The agreement resolved a looming impasse between Clackamas County, which sought to reaffirm Stafford as an urban reserve, and the three cities. Officials in those cities argue that much of the 6,230 acres within Stafford is hilly terrain, where extension of streets and other utilities would be costly.
"We finally have ended up with an agreement that works for everyone," said Roger Alfred, a senior attorney for Metro.
Martha Bennett, Metro's chief operating officer, credited Clackamas County Administrator Don Krupp with helping broker the agreement.
Under the agreement, the cities will share responsibility with the county for shaping the eventual development of the area. They also pledge not to appeal the urban-reserves designation by the Metro Council, either to the state Land Conservation and Development Commission or the Oregon Court of Appeals.
A 2007 state law launched the designation of urban reserves — land deemed suitable for future development — in the three metro-area counties.
West Linn and Tualatin were among the 22 plaintiffs that challenged the Metro Council's original 2011 decision on urban reserves at the Oregon Court of Appeals. The court in 2014 returned that decision to the Metro Council and Clackamas County to furnish additional justification for Stafford as an urban reserve.
Metro Councilor Carlotta Collette said that given the cities' past opposition, there were doubts about whether a new lawsuit could be averted.
"I think it is a momentous occasion being able today to approve an agreement that all the cities have already approved, and Clackamas County has approved," she said. "This agreement really puts residents of the Stafford basin, as well as the adjoining cities, into a collaborative model of how they can move forward."
Metro Councilor Kathryn Harrington said there is a 2010 agreement between Metro and Clackamas County, but the new agreement is more specific.
"We have different players — different mayors, city councils and county commissioners — who were not part of the original urban reserves program," said Harrington, who has been on the Metro Council since 2005. "Everyone has the opportunity to practice collaboration, and I think there is a lot more specificity in this agreement that really carries the community forward."
Expected to take part in the June 28 signing ceremony, in addition to Hughes, are Jim Bernard, Clackamas County board chairman; Jeff Gudman, Lake Oswego city councilor; Russ Axelrod, West Linn mayor, and Lou Ogden, Tualatin mayor.
Adds comments by Metro Councilor Kathryn Harrington.