Since April of this year a hand-selected group appointed by our city staff has been involved in a “Cut the Red Tape” proposal. As compelling as it sounds, it is nothing but a plan to limit citizen involvement in West Linn and prepare the path for the Lake Oswego-Tigard water project if successfully appealed to LUBA (Land Use Board of Appeals). 

The draft presented at the recent West Linn Planning Commission hearing was 67 pages long and contained eliminating the requirement that a conditional use of land may be allowed after the city planning commission has determined the proposed use is appropriate for the site, compatible with surrounding uses, is supported by public facilities and is of overall benefit to the community.

The LOT project failed to meet these criteria being a major industrial project placed on seismically unstable land in the middle of a neighborhood, near a school and offering no benefit to the community.

Our planning commission said no, but our city council allowed themselves to be influenced by short-term cash at the expense of extremely long-term consequences to the community. The proposal goes on to take out significant decision making from the planning commission and give it to the planning director. Citizen input will be severely limited and neighborhood associations will lose much of the current influence. 

The West Linn Economic Development Committee that is sponsoring this proposal apparently came up with around six of the changes to city code, our city staff then added another approximately 24 changes that they wanted.

If your vision of West Linn includes buildings next to residential of up to six stories, allowing developers and members of our city staff who, by the way, some of whom don’t live in West Linn to build pretty much whatever they want, then support this proposal. The ultimate responsibility for these changes rest with our ethically challenged city council. Ask them what their long-term vision is for our great city and if it differs from city staff, why are they not doing their job and playing an active role in shaping our city to the best interests of our citizens?

Lamont King is a West Linn resident.

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