Labor Council weighs in on Clackamas County urban renewal


The Northwest Oregon Labor Council’s (NOLC) Executive Board has taken action on several ballot measures that will appear on the Nov. 8 general election ballot in various cities and counties within its jurisdiction.

In Clackamas County, the labor council is backing Ballot Measure 3-388. Referred to voters by the county Board of Commissioners, the measure requires local voting on all proposed urban renewal districts in unincorporated Clackamas County. The measure would require residents within the boundaries of a potential urban renewal district to vote to approve it before it can be created — and not the entire county.

“This allows residents who would be most affected by a urban renewal district, and most familiar with the needs of the area, to vote,” Commissioner Ann Lininger told the NOLC Executive Board.

The measure was referred to voters  as an alternative to another measure on the November ballot. Ballot Measure 3-386 would require all Clackamas County residents to vote prior to creation of a new urban renewal area in the unincorporated portion of the county.

“If 3-386 passes, it would functionally eliminate the use of urban renewal in unincorporated Clackamas County,” Lininger said. “How could one win (or even fund) a countywide campaign to use an arcane finance tool to improve a neighborhood most voters likely have never visited?”

NOLC’s Executive Board voted to actively oppose Ballot Measure 3-386.

If both ballot measures pass in November, the measure with the most votes will be declared the winner.

NOLC also supports Ballot Measure 3-378, the renewal of a public safety levy first passed by Clackamas County residents in 2006. The 2006 levy costs homeowners 24.8 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

“That will not change under Measure 3-378, it’s simply a continuation of that levy,” said Steve Thoroughman, marine patrol supervisor for Clackamas County. Thoroughman said renewal of the levy will help reduce the early release of inmates, maintain or increase sheriff patrols, and help fight drug crimes.

In West Linn, the labor council supports Ballot Measure 3-377, a bond measure to raise $8.5 million to build a new police station. The current police station was built in 1936 and is falling apart. Last May residents rejected a bond measure seeking $10.8 million. The city came back with a lower bond after finding a cheaper piece of property. The cost to homeowners is about 16 cents per every $1,000 of assessed value over the next 20 years. NOLC’s endorsement came with a condition that any construction of a new police station must have a project labor agreement with unions from the building trades.

In Beaverton, the labor council endorsed Ballot Measure 34-193, a 5-year local option levy proposed by the Beaverton School District to help offset reductions in teachers and educational programs. The levy would be $1 per $1,000 of assessed home value. If passed, it would raise approximately $14 million per year for the next five years.

The election is Nov. 8. Ballots will be in mailboxes starting Oct. 21.

(Editor’s Note: The NOLC Executive Board also opposes Initiative Petition 3. The petition is currently on the street seeking enough signatures to qualify for the 2012 ballot. It is supported by friends of union foe Bill Sizemore. The initiative would prohibit public employees from making voluntary contributions to their union’s political activities or to charities through payroll deduction. NOLC is asking union members, their families, and friends not to sign the petition.)


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