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Mailer claims 'light rail down 99W' but is that true?

Mailers like this one have been going out this week to homes across Tigard, but opponents say the message is misleading, since the proposed transit line would not go down Pacific Highway.A new set of campaign materials from “Voters First” aim to stop the spread of light rail along 99W.

“Demand your right to vote!” the mailer reads. “Tigard citizens should decide on their city’s future.”

But Tigard officials and Metro planners have said for months that the proposed high capacity transit line would not go down Pacific Highway at all, instead plans are for the line — which could be either a MAX light rail or a rapid bus service — to travel down Southwest 72nd Avenue and Hall Boulevard into Tualatin.

The photo used in the mailer includes a photo of Highway 99W through Tigard.

Tim Esau, the co-petitioner for the measure, said that the flyer’s claim of having “light rail on 99W” was referring to Barbur Boulevard, which is technically part of Highway 99W, but does not fall in Tigard city limits.

“The use of that phrase was intended as a hook to get people’s attention,” Esau said Tuesday morning. “We are not at all saying it’s going to go down 99W in Tigard.”

Portland planners have said that the line would likely run down Barbur until it reaches the Tigard.

The idea, Esau said, wasn't to spread the idea that it would come down Pacific Highway, but to get people excited about the measure and have them look into the matter on their own.

The Voter’s First flyer does not give a website or other means for people to learn more about the project, but does promote the group’s own website and Facebook pages, neither of which specifies where the line will run.

Opponents of the measure and the campaign say the campaign has relied on the belief of a MAX line running down Pacific Highway to stir up support, despite what the plans actually say.

Thomas Murphy, an attorney who heads the oppositiion group "Stop Congestion - Vote No," said the tactic was manipulative and disingenuous to put that image in people's heads.

"It's technically not untrue, though," he said, "since apparently Portland does intend to put their part of high capacity transit on Barbur Boulevard, which is part of 99W."

If passed, Measure 34-210 would change the city’s charter, so that it formally opposes high capacity transit of any kind without a vote of the people and send letters to county, state and federal officials every year.

That vote would need to include cost information for the project as well as density changes and how much available road will be used for the project within five miles of the city.

Ballots are due March 11 and can be mailed back or turned into ballot drop off box at Tigard City Hall, 13125 S.W. Hall Blvd.



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