UPDATED: Land use/transportation issues on the ballot, other land use odds and ends

Unofficial election returns on the items discussed in this post:

  • C-TRAN operating level appears to be PASSING, 54%-46%.
  • Clackamas County urban renewal: Both measures 3-386 and 3-388 PASS; 3-386 (which requires a countywide vote, rather than a vote within a proposed or existing UR district) passes with a wider margin (70% for 3-386, 64% for 3-388) so it prevails.
  • Beaverton UR district PASSES, 54-46%.
  • Washington State initiative 1125 (concerning highway tolls) appears to be FAILING, 51%-49%; though KIRO-TV reports that it is too close to call.

To repeat, these results may be preliminary.
Previous content after jump.
The general election is coming up soon (on November 8) and there are a few land-use related things on the ballot in various communities in the Portland metro area, as well as other government business to report.

In Beaverton
The city of Beaverton has an Urban Renewal program on the ballot, for revamping downtown Beaverton. The proposal, if passed, would authorize the city of Beaverton to issue up to $150 over 30 years, for various projects in the downtown area, much of which is notoriously hostile to pedestrians and bikes. TV Highway/Canyon Road, and to a lesser extent Farmington Road, both impose barriers to human-powered mobility; strip development and car lots abound, and there are insufficient safe pedestrian crossings of the various railroad tracks in the area (both the MAX line, and especially the P&W freight line). This despite good transit access in the area–MAX, WES, and numerous bus lines (including the frequent-service 57) converge upon the area.

Beaverton has not used urban renewal since 1972; for nearly four decades the practice was banned within the city, until a 2008 charter amendment lifted the ban. However, creation or expansion of new UR districts requires a public vote at a May or November general election.

Clackamas County

Beaverton’s UR laws are a nice segue into what is going on in Clackamas County, where there are two competing urban renewal proposals on the ballot. One (Measure 3-388), backed by the county board of commissioners, would require a majority vote of residents within an urban renewal district, in order to create or expand one; the other (3-386), backed by citizen initiative, would instead require a county-wide vote. The two initiatives are competing–should both pass, only the one with a higher vote total would take affect. Neither measure would affect UR districts located within cities, which are the responsibility of City and not county governments to manage.

Beaverton’s policy is essentially similar to 3-386, but on a city-wide scale. Portland Transport previously covered the citizen initiative last year.

In related news, the board of commissioners also pledged, via non-binding resolution, that proceeds from urban renewal would NOT be used to fund the county’s contribution to Milwaukie MAX–it’s long been suspected by critics of the project that a proposed UR district in the Oak Grove area was really about funding Milwaukie MAX, not about other improvements within the district. (A proposal to incorporate Oak Grove has been put on hiatus due to lack of popular support).

North Bethany

Not election news, but the Washington County commission voted 4-0 to upzone the North Bethany area, roughly bounded between NW 185th, NW Springville, and NW 147th streets. PCC Rock-Creek lies within the westernmost part of the area. Despite the vote, planning for the area is still in flux, with much contention as to how dense it ought to be. 185th Avenue serves as a mobility corridor which connects the area to US26 and to MAX, but the rest of the street network through the remainder of the Bethany area is already clogged by the existing sprawl–in particular, Bethany Boulevard, which is the predominant N/S route through Bethany. (One other useful road connection for the area is Germantown Road, albeit one which is presently unsuitable for most modes of transportation other than cars).

Washington and Clark County

On the Washington statewide ballot one finds several things:

  • Initiative 1125, which would “prohibit the use of motor vehicle fund revenue and vehicle toll revenue for non-transportation purposes, and require that road and bridge tolls be set by the legislature and be project-specific”. The bill, sponsored by Tim Eyman, would additionally ban variable tolling, and limit tolls to capital construction costs. If passed, this might have interesting effects on the CRC.
  • Within the C-TRAN service area, there is a proposal on the ballot to increase the sales tax (which funds C-TRAN) by 0.2%, to preserve existing operations. Without a yes vote, C-TRAN claims that they will be forced to ” cut 35% of bus and C-VAN (Paratransit) service. These cuts are real: loss of fourteen routes; elimination of all Sunday, holiday, and special event service such as 4th of July and Clark Co Fair; and elimination of the Camas Connector. Remaining routes’ hours and frequency will be reduced, leaving commuters, senior citizens, the disabled, and students without a way to get to work, church, doctor, school, and shopping. All revenue from Prop 1 will fund bus service only, not light rail.” C-TRAN opponents note that the agency has $50 million in unrestricted funds on the balance sheet, which they argue could be consumed to preserve service levels during the recession, and claim that the promise to not fund MAX expansion with the proceeds from the ballot measure is an empty one.
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