Bill to leave Metro still a work in progress
After several years and many pleas for removal, some Boring residents are still standing their ground to make their desire to leave Metro regional government heard, none more so than former chief petitioner Steve Bates.
The unincorporated community announced its intentions back in 2012, and since then Bates says he has seen no change or signs of compromise from Metro.
"It appears to me that Metro is playing the politics I am used to seeing them use, which is the politics of a bully," Bates says.
He also expresses his discontent stemming from the lack of respect he has perceived from Metro officials, noting he requested the president's presence at several meetings and was met with straightforward refusal.
"He refused to come to meet with us, and he's a representative of all (in Metro)," Bates explains. "That did not sit well with us."
What makes this issue more convoluted is that only half of Boring is in Metro boundaries and receives its services.
"We've maintained that all of Boring should be outside the Metro area," he asserts. "The people of Boring are not fond of Metro, so we're trying to change the boundaries."
Of even greater concern for Bates is that if the county sides against Boring, concept planning could lead to it being absorbed by Gresham, an option these residents strongly oppose.
"The people of Boring did not get to vote on this," Bates explains.
The Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) that allows Metro to exist does not give voters the right to vote on Metro's actions.
At the moment, two bills — House Bill 2700 and Senate Bill 450 — are awaiting action by legislative committees.
"We thought if we had a bill on both sides and that we worded it right, the bill wouldn't become sausage," he says, referring to the tendency of the Legislature to lump similar bills together, determining the fate of both with one decision.
To dissuade that, the Boring group made a concerted effort to narrow the subjects of the relating clauses in both bills. The main motivation for doing this was to prevent lawmakers from adding riders, or amendments on unrelated issues, to their bills.
With neither bill yet passed, it's uncertain if the strategy worked.
"We're not optimistic (about) movement at this time," Bates says. "When it comes to the Legislature, you just have to be patient and see how it goes, and that's what we're doing."
If their bills fail, the Boring residents' only other option to keep them from being bound into Gresham domain would be to incorporate themselves — something none are too keen to attempt given the example of their neighbor, Damascus.
"We want to have self-determination for the future of Boring," Bates states. "If we were to become a part of a city, we'd just as soon want to become part of the city of Sandy. We share a high school with Sandy. ... Sandy represents more of our values (as) more of a rural city."