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No, Molalla was first

Ludlow opinon piece ruffled some Molalla feathers


In last week’s opinion piece, Clackamas County Commissioner John Ludlow ruffled a few Molalla feathers with his statement that “Wilsonville was the first city to withdraw from TriMet and subsequently build a cheaper, better and faster model transit system. Other transit models have been initiated by cities like Canby and Sandy.”

Not only did Ludlow fail to recognize Molalla’s part in the process, but also, as it turns out, his statement was false.

Molalla, not Wilsonville, was the first area to withdraw from TriMet.

Shirley Lyons, manager of the South Clackamas Transportation District, or S.C.T.D., brought it to the attention of this editor that Molalla led the way for Clackamas County in 1987, being the first of the four small districts to pull out of TriMet.

Ludlow’s claim may be based on the fact that he was mayor of Wilsonville from 1989 to 1991. He stated on a campaign website:

"As Mayor of Wilsonville, I drove TriMet out of town and replaced their bloated transit system with our own local bus line that offers better service and has saved our businesses millions of dollars."

1988 news stories, however, documented that in October 1988, the Wilsonville City Council voted to support a withdrawal resolution from TriMet. In November of 1988, the TriMet Board agreed to the withdrawal. And in January 1989, Ludlow was sworn in as mayor.

Here’s the facts, according to the history of the district:

The 1987 Legislature passed a bill allowing areas to withdraw from Tri-Met’s taxing district. The bill was supported by TriMet. Molalla started a withdrawal process in 1987, the first of any district in Clackamas County to initiate that course of action. Wilsonville followed Molalla’s lead, making its first steps toward the withdrawal process in 1988. As a matter of fact, Wilsonville contacted Lyons about how Molalla went about organizing its withdrawal petition.

Molalla’s first board meeting was in March 1989 and was chaired by then County Board Chairwoman Darlene Hooley. Wilsonville followed, then Sandy, and lastly Canby.

It was TriMet's bill in the Oregon Legislature that allowed areas to withdraw from TriMet. At the time TriMet was sending one bus out from Portland in the a.m. and one back in the p.m., taking people who worked in Portland into the metro area.




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