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It’s one of the hottest items on the ballot for Tualatin voters this fall.


It has spawned controversy, letters to the editor by the bundle, and a lawsuit.

The “it” in question here is now known as Measure 34-247, and if approved by Tualatin voters in the election which ends Nov. 8, it would impose term limits on members of the Tualatin City Council, including the mayor.

The measure was born amidst controversy back in the spring of 2015 when local resident Mae Heide started a petition to get the term limits measure on the local ballot.

When Heide began the process, she had two years by law to collect signatures equivalent to 15 percent of the city’s registered voters to qualify her measure for the ballot. By the time her petition was finalized, however, her window to collect signatures had shrunk to 180 days.

That change in timing was the result of a draft ordinance that had been created five months earlier, then approved by the council soon after Heide filed her ballot initiative on April 28.

The timing of that motion’s approval was not coincidental. Indeed, after the council passed the ordinance — which also required any petitioner to be a Tualatin resident and that the petition's election must be held in conjunction with a statewide general election (only in November of even-numbered years) — City Manager Sherilyn Lombos said the council “wanted it to apply to this petition.”

Hello, controversy.

Despite all that, Heide and other supporters of the measure succeeded in collecting enough signatures to put Measure 34-247 on the ballot and local voters now hold its fate in their hands.

Despite the city’s missteps along the way — and we disagree with the council action that shortened the time allotted to collect signatures — we advise local residents, to vote “no” on Measure 34-247.

As much as we disagree with the Tualatin City Council’s actions to limit this measure’s shot at the ballot, now that it’s there, we believe that Tualatin residents’ best interests will be best served by rejecting it.

Here’s why.

Traditional arguments in support of term limits are these: a long-term incumbent might become a de facto dictator, might use their position to enrich themselves, and enjoys advantages that cannot be overcome by challengers with fresh ideas.

We reject all three of those propositions.

While Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden is certainly well known and offers forceful arguments at council meetings, he is hardly a dictator, nor are sitting Councilors Monique Beikman, Frank Bubenik, Joelle Davis, Nancy Grimes or Ed Truax.

While politicians may indeed line their pockets when serving long-term at a national level, and to a lesser extent, at the state level, there is virtually no chance for such malfeasance at the local level, especially in an unpaid position such as those on the Tualatin City Council.

And as to the door being open for challengers, that door is wide open this year with Council President Beikman choosing not to run again, Truax resigning his spot and Wade Brooksby leaving his after moving out of state. (Yet only four candidates are running this year for three seats.) Indeed, we are already guaranteed to see plenty of fresh faces and ideas on the Tualatin City Council in coming months.

So let’s not solve a problem that really doesn’t exist. Please vote “no” on Measure 34-247.