Clackamas County Portland Milwaukie Light Rail Project Funding, Measure 3-424 (May 2013)

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A Clackamas County Portland Milwaukie Light Rail Project Funding proposal was defeated on the May 21, 2013, election ballot in Clackamas County, which is in Oregon.

If approved, this measure would have authorized the County of Clackamas to use County resources to fund the Portland Milwaukie Light Rail Project. This measure is asking voter approval of an already contractual agreement. Therefore it may be only advisory since the courts may rule that the county must fund the project according to a binding contract. The same goes for measure 3-425.[1]

Election results

Measure 3-424
Defeatedd No34,66856.6%
Yes 26,603 43.4%
These results are from Clackamas County elections office

Text of measure

Question on the ballot:

Should Clackamas County use certain County resources to meet previous contractual commitments toward the Portland Milwaukie Light Rail Project?[1][2]


Agreements signed by prior Board of County Commissioners in 2010 and 2012 obligate the County to use the following County resources toward completion of the Portland Milwaukie Light Rail Project: • funding $1,279,740 in improvements to roads and signals near the proposed Park Avenue Light Rail Station, with the funding sources to be the County Road Fund and $279,740 in Systems Development Charges to be paid by Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (“TriMet”);
• allowing TriMet to conduct operations on and maintain portions of county roads and sidewalks occupied by Portland Milwaukie Light Rail facilities; and
• transferring two parcels of real property to TriMet: a 2,614 square foot parcel valued at $20,915, and a 3,485 square foot parcel valued at $1,360.
This Measure seeks voter approval of an ordinance authorizing the Board to use those County resources to meet the County’s previous contractual commitments toward the Portland Milwaukie Light Rail Project. Approval or rejection of the ordinance will not affect the County’s obligations with respect to those previous contractual commitments.[1][2]

Explanatory Statement

new Portland transit bridge (in Portland, Oregon) under construction across the Willamette River as part of TriMet's Portland–Milwaukie light rail project

In September, 2012 County voters approved Measure 3-401, which requires voter approval before the Board of Commissioners authorizes the use of any County resources for public rail transit. TriMet is constructing the PMLR line, which will run from Downtown Portland to a proposed station near the intersection of Park Avenue and McLoughlin Boulevard. The PMLR line will run along an alignment selected by area governments as the Locally Preferred Alternative in 2008.

In February, 2010, the Board of County Commissioners (Board) approved an Agreement with TriMet for the PMLR project. Under the Agreement, the County agreed to provide $25 million toward the project, and also agreed to negotiate in good faith for any further agreements that might be necessary to complete the project. The Clackamas County Development Agency and the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District were also parties to the agreement.

In August of 2012, the Board approved a Supplemental Agreement which reduced the County’s cash contribution by $2.4 million dollars. As part of the agreement, the County agreed to fund road and signalization improvements to roads in and around the intersection of Park Avenue and Oatfield Road. The County also agreed to transfer to TriMet a small (2,614 square foot) parcel of property for which the County will receive a credit of $20,915. In addition, this measure addresses a small, landlocked parcel (3485 square feet) that would be conveyed to TriMet for construction of the Trolley Trail and retaining walls. TriMet values the property at approximately $1,360.

Approval of this measure would constitute approval by the voters of an authorizing ordinance authorizing the following four items related to the Portland/Milwaukie Light Rail line: • Execution of a funding agreement funding $1,279,740 in road and signalization improvements in the vicinity of Park Avenue, Oatfield Road and McLoughlin Boulevard. TriMet will pay $279,740 of that amount in Systems Development Charges, while the remainder will come from the County Road fund. All of these improvements were previously set forth in the County Transportation System Plan.
• Transfer of a property described as Tax Lots 11 E36CD03300 and 11 E36CD03400, approximately 2,614 square feet in size, for which the County will be credited $20,915.
• Transfer of a parcel of approximately 3,485 square feet in size, for the sum of $1,360.
• Execution of a Continuing Control Agreement providing that TriMet will control any portions of county-owned streets and sidewalks that will be occupied by light rail tracks or stations. This agreement is required by the Federal Transit Administration.

The actions authorized by this measure would be one-time authorizations that end with the completion of the project. The cost of staff time for completion of these items would not be likely to exceed $23,000.

Rejection of this Measure would mean that the Board of Commissions will not have obtained approval of an authorizing ordinance as required by Measure 3-401.

Submitted by
Dan Chandler,
Strategic Policy Administrator
Clackamas County[1][2]


Supporters of this measure argue that the County is already under contract to fund this Milwaukie project so a rejection from voters may result in a long, expensive court case and ultimately have no power to prevent the County from fulfilling its contract with Trimet. They urge voters to simply approve measure 3-424 and 3-425 so that the project can run smoothly, cost as little as possible and be finished quickly.[3]


Below are arguments submitted in opposition to this measure:

Eleven years ago TriMet recognized and acknowledged light rail had little public support in Clackamas County. In 2001 Metro’s South Corridor Policy Group (representing all stakeholders) “made a determination, based on the 1998 vote and subsequent public listening posts, that light rail was not going to be a project they would proceed with in this corridor.” The message was clear after failed light rail votes in 1996 and 1998, recalls of Milwaukie’s Mayor and two Councilors and (finally) the Policy Group determination. Unfortunately, TriMet chose to forget all that. What followed was ten years of maneuvering to avoid any public vote on light-rail. New “stakeholders” were enlisted to declare broad “public support” where little existed. TriMet worked through a political network of deep-pocketed special interests, persuading county officials to participate in massive public deception. It worked (almost). Once county commissioners offered TriMet $25million for light rail, voters took matters into their own hands. Over four elections, Clackamas voters withdrew two light-rail funding sources (vehicle registration fees and Urban Renewal) before requiring this election and sending three pro-light rail commissioners back to the private sector. Last summer, those commissioners authorized a private bank loan sending $20 million to TriMet just days before a public vote to stop them. TriMet is now in the throes of a financial meltdown. Over a billion dollars in the hole already, TriMet continues to hemorrhage millions while slashing bus services. Now we are asked to believe the voting public is to blame for their troubles? TriMet has not been a good partner for Clackamas. TriMet’s manipulation has already put us on the hook for $20million. When asked to reconsider options that shorten the line and save public funds, TriMet filed suit to invalidate this election. Local elected leaders Mary Olson, Steve Spinnett and Jim Knapp fought to establish this opportunity to vote. Tell TriMet what you think of their light rail and lawsuit. Vote NO.[1][2]

Informaiton furnished by Jim Knapp

To read more arguments in opposition to this measure see the County Voter's Guide.

Attention Clackamas County Voters: When the citizens of Clackamas asked to vote on Urban Renewal and Light Rail projects, we were told NO by the existing County Commissioners. We all gathered signatures to get these issues placed on the ballot and WON the right to VOTE. This is our first opportunity to vote on one of these issues and our voices need to be heard.

Rejecting Measure 3-424 may not stop the PMLR Line or Milwaukie Light Rail but it will send a message. This is your best opportunity to tell TriMet what you think about spending millions more to fund another light rail experiment. Please ask yourself the following:

• Should TriMet’s last minute lawsuit to stop this election prevent you from voting?
• Do you want your property taxes used to build more light rail lines from Portland?
• Was it fair for TriMet to demand >$20 million of county funds for their light rail project just (4) days before you voted to stop them last November?
• Can a functionally bankrupt TriMet serve Clackamas transit customers by continually cutting its bus service so it can build more light rail.
• Can TriMet give its managers $900K secret raises at the same time it raises fares?

If your answer to these questions is “NO”, then please join us in sending your message to TriMet that we have had ENOUGH.

• Enough with wasting public funds to build light rail while our roads crumble!
• Enough with intimidating the very people you are supposed to serve!
• Enough with the lawsuits that only waste our money!
• Enough with the political corruption driving failed and unwanted projects!

The Clackamas County Republican Party urges you to Vote NO on Measure 3-424 LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD[1][2]

Information furnished by the Clackamas County Republican Party.

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Clackamas County May 21, 2013 Voter’s Guide
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  3. Approval of light rail measures would affirm the inevitable and limit legal costs: Editorial endorsement