Bill allowing cities to expand without Metro consent fails
A bill opposed by the city of Wilsonville that would have allowed local governments to expand urban growth boundaries without consent from the Metro regional government to build affordable housing and other facilities failed to make it through the House chamber.
The bill received a public hearing in the housing committee, but then was sent to the rules committee without a passage recommendation, and subsequently languished. In its written testimony, the city argued that affordable housing at the edges of development where there aren't as many services like public transportation is "problematic."
In a similar vein, the city of Wilsonville supported an amendment to a bill to allow some development of housing on land not zoned for residential use — provided that the land was publicly zoned, adjacent to residential and school property and not specifically designated for heavy industrial use. The city said this change in policy would prevent "the stigmatization of residents of such housing as being segregated away from other residents into an 'unfriendly' industrial area." That amendment passed as did the bill.
The city also contested an amendment to a bill, which failed, that would have allowed developers to pay system development charges, which governments charge builders in order to pay for public infrastructure, later on in the development process. The city testified that the amendment "results in small savings on interest for the developers and added costs to local governments." The bill, which is awaiting Brown's signature, instead greenlighted a study of SDC policy.
In an entirely different subject, the city was satisfied to see the Legislature provide funding via a budgetary bill for staffing and equipment for the testing of harmful algae blooms. In 2018, city staff had to drive to Seattle to get results after detecting unsafe levels of blue-green algae at its water treatment plant because the state did not have a cyanotoxin autoanalyzer tool.
"Having an in-state, centralized location for quick turn-around analysis of domestic water samples is crucial to public water systems ability to protect public health," the city's testimony for a separate bill that would have funded the tool read.
City leaders were happy to find out early in the session that the Oregon Department of Transportation decided to advance design work for a project to replace the Boone Bridge and alleviate the I-5 bottleneck near Wilsonville. Later on, the Oregon Legislature also provided an opportunity for the project to receive future funding.
An omnibus bill, which is awaiting signature from Gov. Kate Brown, would provide $30 billion per year toward a list of projects including the Boone Bridge replacement. However, the project may have to wait for funding allocation until an I-5 Rose Quarter Project and an Interstate 205 project from Stafford Road to Oregon Route 213 are funded, as those projects were given higher priority.
A bill that would have prohibited expansion at the Aurora State Airport prior to annexation into the city of Aurora and more direct involvement from Wilsonville and Clackamas County in airport planning efforts did not receive a public hearing, which is an initial step in the legislative process. The city submitted written testimony advocating for the bill as well as a request, with the city of Aurora, for legislators to schedule the hearing — but to no avail. The bill was sent to the House transportation committee and no further actions were taken. During the session, the Oregon Department of Aviation announced that a new master planning process for the airport would commence but a new intergovernmental agreement that would include Wilsonville and Clackamas County has not been discussed.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.