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Clackamas County sells land for light rail on Trolley Trail

By a 4-1 vote Thursday night, county commissioners authorized the parks district to sell about 1.25 acres in Trolley Trail parcels to TriMet for its light-rail project south of Milwaukie.

by: FILE PHOTO - LudlowClackamas County’s Dec. 19 acceptance of $515,260 from the regional transit agency faced legal issues, including TriMet’s successful lawsuit for a July 1 court order against the county to comply with light rail. But TriMet, before Thursday’s vote, wrote to media: “we have all authority necessary to build” and there will be “no delay to the project.”

Advertisements sold for TriMet vehicles could be argued as income applying to the property’s restrictions, Commissioner Paul Savas said, noting there are lots of significant complexities on Trolley Trail titles and deeds.

“I understand there’s a lot of anger,” Commissioner Tootie Smith told the citizens who packed the hearing room to protest the sale. “We tried as hard as we could to fight this.”

County attorney Stephen Madkour recommended that the commissioners authorize the purchase, saying some of the issues raised by Les Poole of Gladstone and other members of the public have “no applicability” to the transfer of the property moving forward. Deed restrictions on the 2001 contract between Portland Traction Company and Metro weren’t included in the transfer of the property from Metro to the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District in 2005.

County Chairman John Ludlow also defended the decision to sell to TriMet, saying “we have a judge who ordered us to do so.”

“I don’t like it either,” Ludlow said, “but the judge said ‘Act in good faith, and transfer the property.’”