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City will likely let the deadline pass to stage the special election in November.

The Newberg City Council has rescinded, at least temporarily, a resolution that would send approval of its urban renewal area plan to the voters in a fall special election.

{filler:graphics-city-notes.jpg}"I brought this forward because I don't think we have enough time to pull off an election for November, so I'm hoping we can reconsider it and look at our options in a less frantic way," longtime councilor Denise Bacon said in introducing a motion at the council's Aug. 16 meeting. The motion passed unanimously.

Councilor Mike McBride concurred with Bacon.

"I don't want to spend taxpayers' money on this. I think it's being rushed, and I'm kind of feeling like … this is not necessary to go out right at this point. … I would hope we would vote (as a council) and say, 'No, we're not going to put this out to a vote right now.'"

The council voted in early August to put the URA plan to a vote after the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners approved the plan with the condition that it passed muster with the voters. However, the commission doesn't have the legal authority to levy that requirement on the city.

A small portion of the 600-acre URA plan (approximately 52 acres primarily encompassing the former county landfill and Rogers Landing) will be county land after annexations and purchases are completed this year, City Manager Dan Weinheimer said, adding that the city is considering temporarily removing those parcels from the URA plan.

The council could revisit the issue before the Sept. 2 deadline to file a title and explanatory statement with the county for the voter's pamphlet.

"At this time, the direction to do so was rescinded … so I do not expect to move forward for November," Weinheimer said. "We will be exploring our options, but any amendments to our plan at this time would push adoption into the next calendar year."

The council's decision to rescind its earlier vote was prompted in part by input from citizens.

"We heard from some residents that they did not want us to spend the money on an election given that a referendum giving voters the chance to seek a citywide vote is built into the statute," he said. "This move does not mean that the city would not have a vote. It means that there is more to consider before agreeing to an election, including the legality of the county conditioning support for the plan on a citywide vote."

Molly Olson, former executive director of the Newberg Downtown Coalition, urged the council to curtail the election, positing that if the citizenry was determined to put the formation of the URA on the ballot, they could do so via a referendum as allowed under state law.

The Board of Commissioners could, conceivably, withdraw its support for the URA based on the council's decision, but Weinheimer hoped that wouldn't come to pass.

"If the commissioners reconsider their support for Newberg's plan, it would be a vote against jobs and economic activity in Newberg," he said. "They would be ignoring our community's needs and our years of community engagement and planning to bring forward the plan. A decision against Newberg's plan would require additional discussion on options at that time."


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