Let's keep the momentum going for Milwaukie community
Despite having regularly attended Budget Committee meetings the past two years, my opponent for Milwaukie City Council, Elvis Clark, displays little understanding for how the city's budgeting works, and his recent op-ed piece completely misconstrues what the recently-adopted Climate Action Plan does.
Mr. Clark focuses on the poor quality of our streets. That is a concern that I and other city councilors share. Historically, Milwaukie has funded street repair from gas-tax revenues, but, apart from a modest increase as part of the legislature's 2017 Transportation Bill, gas-tax revenues have remained flat since 1993. Gas-tax revenues are allocated based on population, so Milwaukie, as a built-out community, receives an ever-diminishing share of an ever-diminishing pie.
Arterial streets are resurfaced on a schedule set under the fee-funded Street Surface Maintenance Program. Residential streets are harder, but we did just recently repave a few miles of streets in the Ardenwald and Lewelling neighborhoods, and continue to look for supplemental funding to be able to do more.
Mr. Clark has lived in Milwaukie for only a few years. He touts the idea of a pedestrian overpass over Highway 224 — an idea that has been discussed at least since the work on the 2007 Transportation System Plan. It's still a possibility, but such a project would not only be costly, it would require taking out some homes or businesses on either side of 224.
Pitting streets against other city priorities — whether parks, the library, the construction of sidewalks, adapting to climate change, restoring Kellogg Creek, etc. — ignores the city's responsibility to serve the many other competing needs of residents. Please join me to keep Milwaukie momentum going on a range of issues to implement our recently-adopted 2040 Community Vision!
Lisa Batey is the incumbent candidate for Milwaukie City Council Position No. 2.