The article in the March 28 West Linn Tidings titled "Petitioners: Latest Stafford IGA 'kicks the can down the road'" identifies the complaint by the local Home Builders Association asserting "dereliction" of responsibility by elected officials in not moving forward with Stafford area planning as quickly as possible.
That perspective is not only amiss, but seems to demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding on what representative democracy is all about.
Metro, the county and the three cities signed a five-party Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) in June of 2017 therein agreeing that the "Cities will have control over the planning process and timing for the urbanization of Stafford" and "The timing for commencement and completion of a concept plan will be up to the City."
The January 2019 three-party IGA between the cities further clarifies this delegation of responsibility and authority to the cities for controlling the timing of development.
The three-party agreement reflects considerable and thoughtful work by council members in a vigorous, open environment with substantive public engagement.
Ezra Hammer seems to ignore the fact of Metro's and the county's delegation of responsibility to the cities and suggests the cities and elected representatives should not honor their agreements and submit to the home builders' wishes.
It is disappointing to have the hard-working council members of the three cities maligned as "irresponsible" because of their commitment to representational government.
They are elected to represent the desires of their current and future citizens. The five-party and three-party IGAs are the work of these responsible elected officials.
Instead of blaming our elected representatives, perhaps the Home Builders Association can explain why it is in Lake Oswego's, Tualatin's, West Linn's and the Stafford area's best interest to endure the impacts associated with 20,000 new homes, 50,000 new residents, over-capacity schools, while also adding 200,000 additional road trips on already crowded McVey Avenue, State Street, Highway 43, Rosemont, Stafford, Borland, 65th Avenue, and then there's I-205 and I-5.
Perhaps Mr. Hammer can explain how the existing residents — not the home builders — will be paying the taxes to support the commensurate new infrastructure with costs conservatively estimated at $800 million.
Perhaps slower and more thoughtful planning is exactly what this area needs.
John Keith is a West Linn resident.
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