Citizen's View: Support a better plan for Stafford's future
If you, like the majority of your neighbors, are appalled by Metro's plan to increase Stafford's population by 50,000 (yes, you read that right — 50,000), with all the traffic, habitat destruction and endless cycles of construction that it will bring, it is critically urgent that you make your objections known.
Let your mayor and the Clackamas County Commissioners know that you support the Stafford Hamlet Compromise (more on that below) and oppose Metro's "high density" plan for our community. Just go to www.StaffordHamlet.com and sign the petition today.
In his inauguration speech, newly elected Clackamas County Commission Chair Jim Bernard said one of his top priorities was to "rebuild trust with three of our cities, a hamlet and Metro, and let them know Clackamas County will work with them to arrive at an agreement that will give them control over the future of Stafford." Unfortunately, despite this clear statement, one of his first actions was to support Metro and a small group of land speculators and throw Lake Oswego, West Linn, Tualatin and Stafford Hamlet under Metro's "high density" bus.
Adding insult to injury, the County Commission took this action unilaterally, without consulting the jurisdictions or residents that will be so profoundly impacted by this ill-advised decision. This is the very kind of action that destroys public trust and undermines people's faith in government to act in the public good.
The cities of Lake Oswego, West Linn, Tualatin and the majority of Stafford Hamlet landowners have been resisting Metro's efforts to urbanize the area for more than 25 years. Some of the numerous reasons for this opposition include:
Astronomical cost: Providing urban services (sewers, water, roads, etc.) alone has been estimated to cost $1 billion in taxpayer dollars. Then there is the cost for providing new schools, fire stations and other urban services;
Increased traffic congestion: Studies of the area confirm the topography of this region prohibits practical and economical solutions to the vastly increased traffic that high-density development would bring; and
Destruction of the area's rural legacy, and with that the quality of life we in this region have all invested in: Implementing Metro's density requirement of 15 homes per acre will inevitably destroy the rural character of this area and eliminate the buffer it provides to residents of surrounding areas. The projected increase of 50,000 people in the area is more than the population of either Lake Oswego or West Linn.
The Urban Reserve designation ignores the criteria-driven recommendation of the Clackamas County Urban/Rural Reserves Project. After an extensive two-year countywide study completed in 2009, this advisory committee concluded that only the Borland area met Metro's own "factors" for urbanization.
The committee concluded that the area north of the Tualatin River (the Stafford Triangle) did not meet the urban "factors" and should remain undesignated because of concerns about governance and topography, and because existing parcelization limits opportunities to create Metro's vision of walk-able communities and urban densities.
In line with these recommendations, the Stafford Hamlet Advisory Board created a compromise plan that calls for some level of urbanization in the Borland area and a very limited increase of homes in the Stafford Triangle area. Metro ignored these recommendation when, in 2010, it put Stafford in the Urban Reserve.
West Linn and Tualatin appealed that decision. In 2014, the Oregon Court of Appeals remanded this decision back to the county and, as I write this, Metro and the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners are conspiring to throw us back into the Urban Reserve again.
Sign the petition at www.StaffordHamlet.com to tell Metro and the Clackamas County Commissioners that we have a much better plan for Stafford's future.
Dave Adams is vice chair of the Stafford Hamlet.