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Soapbox: Ballot measure paves way for downtown projects

John L. Cook serves as mayor of the city of Tigard.

On Nov. 5, Tigard voters have the opportunity to help keep our downtown’s momentum going. Ballot Measure 34-207 will clean up some outdated language that relates to urban renewal in Tigard’s City Charter.

The measure will bring the charter in line with state laws and allow the City Center Urban Renewal Plan, approved by voters in 2006, to keep revitalizing downtown. I urge you to vote “yes.”

Since 2006, the City Center Development Agency (CCDA) has helped spark revitalization and new investment on Main Street and the surrounding area. Infrastructure improvements, such as the Burnham Street re-construction, were partially financed by urban renewal. Urban renewal projects include Main Street Green Street, Fanno Creek Trail and Park improvements, and the Tigard Street Trail. The CCDA has also partnered with 14 small businesses and property owners on Main Street to improve their storefronts.

Urban renewal funds were also instrumental in attracting a popular café to Main Street. These public investments have in turn encouraged new private investments and attracted new businesses to locate here. If you haven’t been downtown lately, I encourage you to check out the changes Urban Renewal has fueled. Approving this measure means these positive changes can continue.

The reason the City Council put Ballot Measure 34-207 before the voters is that city charter language, adopted in 1983, is out of sync with voter-approved changes in the Oregon property tax system from the 1990’s (Measures 5 and 50). Voters need to change this inconsistency to allow the urban renewal plan to be fully implemented.

What this measure does:

n Allows the urban renewal agency to implement the city center urban renewal plan as it was written and approved by the voters in 2006.

What this measure does not do:

n Change the requirement that voters approve new urban renewal plans or new property taxes outside the district to pay for projects.

n Change the $22 million maximum indebtedness of the City Center Urban Renewal Plan, or the district’s boundaries.

Don’t forget to vote. Ballots are due by Nov. 5.

Get on your soapbox

The Times offers a soapbox to stand on every week in our Opinion section. The soapbox is a guest column written by any reader on any local issue of public interest. They should be no longer than 800 words (about three double-spaced typewritten pages) and should include the signature, address and phone number of the writer. Soapboxes are due Mondays at noon and can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .




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