Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Smart Growth vs. Dumb Growth | Urbanism vs. Suburbanism -- politics in Clackamas County, Oregon

In terms of the previous discussion about pro-sprawl forces being engaged in a permanent campaign ("The right's permanent campaign in favor of their pro-sprawl (and anti-Democratic Party) message"), it is no surprise that "conservative" groups (the Oregon Transformation Project is primarily funded by timber industry interests) are donating money to certain Clackamas County political campaigns, and putting out the message that these candidates will support good county values of no development versus the creeping urbanism of Portland.

From "Regional transportation, cooperation at stake in three Clackamas County commission races" in the Portland Oregonian:

A new term has entered the political lexicon of Clackamas County: Portland creep.

Those two words, intended to denote density, crime, congestion and tax-happy bureaucracy, appear on two can't-miss billboards along Interstate 205 near Gladstone. The conservative Oregon Transformation Project's political action committee paid for the billboards to support a slate of candidates who, if elected, would take majority control of Clackamas County government.

The new phrase also sums up what's at stake in this year's race for three seats on the five-member Clackamas County Board of Commissioners: Should the county be a cooperative partner in regional efforts or become more politically independent and fiscally conservative? ...

The county's largely conservative, grass-roots movement already chalked up two significant reversals of county policy over the past year.

In May voters resoundingly approved a referendum that reversed the commissioner-approved $5 annual vehicle registration fee intended to help build a new Sellwood Bridge. In November, voters overwhelmingly supported requiring countywide approval for new urban renewal districts in unincorporated parts of the county, a move that effectively kills urban renewal.

The pro-sprawl forces produced a damn good but misleading--because they aren't for flowers, they are for anti-planning--billboard to communicate their message.  See "John Ludlow and Tootie Smith, Clackamas County commission candidates, receive contributions from Oregon Transformation Project" from the Portland Oregonian.
Oregon Transformation Project political billboard
A billboard along Interstate 205 near Gladstone urges Clackamas County voters to support Tootie Smith, John Ludlow and Jim Knapp, candidates for the Clackamas County commission. The billboard was paid for by the conservative group Oregon Transformation Project.

The organization has also helped to fund a ballot measure that will require public voting on all rail transit measures in Clackamas County ("Clackmas County won’t fight rail vote: County employees will continue to issue TriMet permits" from the Portland Tribune), which is an attempt to limit metropolitan transit expansion in the Portland region.  That election will be held September 18th.

In the May 15th primary election, one of the three candidates, Jim Ludlow, who ran for Board Chair, did win.

The issues in Clackamas County are somewhat comparable to Loudoun County in Northern Virginia, where expansion of the subway rail system to Dulles Airport and then beyond into Loudoun County is seen by pro-sprawl forces as a key element of what they could term "Urban creep" if the pro-sprawl forces put some money into a good ad agency.  See "Loudoun may have votes to OK Metro line" from the Washington Examiner.

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