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'Red tape' process is flawed

On Wednesday evening. Oct. 2, while most of our lovely little community was having dinner, working on homework, watching a favorite show on TV, reading, relaxing ... you get the picture ... six planning commissioners were hearing one of their most important proposals, the so-called “Cutting Red Tape” amendments to our codes.

Most of these were not truly about red tape. They were about cutting the citizen’s rights at land use hearings and doing away with the tree protections that make West Linn’s one of the best tree canopies in the Portland metro area.

The citizens were not even made aware of these sweeping proposed changes until the day before the PC had its first meeting on them. Well guess what? Under tremendous pressure, these six people voted 4 to 2 to deny the amendments. All of the proposed amendments.

This is a very big deal because everyone on the dais agreed that the citizens were not given the transparency they deserve and that these amendments to the code did not come out of the economic development meetings at all.

The PC suggested that the citizens should have been in the loop from the very beginning and those of us in the audience agreed. This isn’t the first time these individuals have done the right thing for the citizens. They did so in the Lake Oswego-Tigard water treatment hearings also, voting unanimously against putting an industrial water treatment plant in the middle of a small residential neighborhood.

The PC had two meetings and four work sessions on this proposal before the final hearing. They worked long and hard having intense discussions to see if they could squeeze anything of value out of the proposals. But in the end, they had to throw the whole thing out.

The process was flawed from the beginning and the “red tape” was a guise for getting rid of citizen rights. They did so with the rare courage and moral fortitude I am proud to see in public appointees. They do not get a dime for the work they do for us and they are to be applauded. Please send them an email and thank them because, whether you were keeping up with this issue or not, they saved our bacon on Oct. 2. Their email address is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Now the city council will have to decide what to do. Please email them and ask them to table these amendments. The citizen’s right to transparency and to a code that allows de novo (starting anew) hearings and no fee appeals for neighborhood associations is of paramount importance to the people of this city. West Linn is a town that wants to keeps its bedroom community status. Our geography dictates this use.

West Linn citizens do not want to live in an industrial city. Don’t take my word for it, do a legitimate poll (not a push poll) for goodness sake. Full land use participation by the people that pay the bills is the foundation of West Linn governance.

The city council’s email addresses are John Kovash, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; Jenni Tan, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; Michael Jones, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; Jody Carson, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; and Thomas Frank, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Roberta Schwarz lives in West Linn.



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