Liveability a concerns with light rail line
- Ed Zumwalt
- Clackamas Review - Opinion
I empathize with residents of the Ardenwald neighborhood regarding the newly discovered/revealed elevated light rail bridge (Ardenwqald neighborhood livid over lighjt rail bridge, July 1) and other issues that have cropped up in relation to it, but the truth is light rail is going through this "locally preferred alternative" whether we like it or not.
In the early part of the decade when Tri-Met was talking in terms of another light rail election in '04 or '06, the agency was quite magnanimous about the mitigations it would provide to protect our livability, but since they acquired financing without a vote, all niceties are forgotten. Livability is very seldom mentioned.
TriMet's job is to put in a light rail line, and that's what they're going to do. Our council's job is to protect the city, and so far they're not doing a very good job. Since well before the ill-conceived "memorandum of understanding" they entered into with Tri-met to the present, the citizens are not being well represented. The present Ardenwald dilemma is a case in point.
Council should have given staff explicit instructions to be conscientious regarding infringements on neighborhoods, churches and schools from the very beginning. Staff should now be the devil's advocate on every inch of that rail line, using their expertise to question all decisions that might negatively effect the city. That should be their job, not to be the automatic support system and enabler for Tri-met. Something is turned around here, and it is not serving the city well.
As for the Balfour house mentioned in the article, light rail will cause more crime problems in the city in a week than that place will in a year. Tri-met has had over 22 years to perfect a security system with various degrees of failure, and although they are now talking in terms of beefed up police presence and different strategies, the key will be what happens to Clackamas Tow Center when the new Green Line opens this fall.
Of great concern is what quality amenities, design, material and workmanship will be incorporated into the entire project. After attending several Citizens Action Committtee meetings, the budget seems to be of constant concern to committee members, and only just recently TriMet agreed to bring it to the group. A major fear is that too much will be spent on the bridge crossing at one end and the effort to reach Park Street on the other, resulting in quality cuts for everything in between. We do not need a shabbily constructed, seedy rail line coming through Milwaukie. After all, when you're running 150-plus trains a day down a 75-foot swath right into the gut of a town, you had better find a way to make it lovable to somebody besides the builder.