Clackamas County Commissioners unanimously voted Thursday to pull out of a 1998 agreement and to initiate withdrawal from a subsequent 2011 agreement with the city of Sandy and Metro establishing a "green corridor" along portions of Highway 26 in Boring. The county must file a 60-day notice before the action can take effect.
Chair John Ludlow and Commissioners Martha Schrader and Commissioner Tootie Smith voted yes. Commissioners Jim Bernard and Paul Savas were absent.
The three-party agreements dating back to 1998 and 2011 would have required developers and landowners to buffer future development by planting trees along stretches of Highway 26 in between Gresham and Sandy.
The 2011 agreement eased many restrictions in the 1998 version including voluntary participation and an agreement to help find funds for the plantings. You can read the documents here.
The agreements have drawn strong opposition from members of Boring's Community Planning Organization (CPO) who said it presents a hardship for landowners living in the affected area. The CPO also said that no significant public participation was done before the agreement was signed. The CPO sent a letter to Commissioners asking that the county withdraw from the agreements.
"This is about government attempts to take private property without compensation," said Commissioner Tootie Smith. "The homeowners affected by this don't want any government entity - Metro, the City of Sandy or the County - telling them they have to plant trees on their property.
"This is another case of governments trying to impose their view of what the world should look like. All public officials need to look out for the best interests of the public. That is why I am speaking up for our citizens and voting to withdraw from this agreement," she said.
"I believe a green corridor is a good idea. Long-term it will preserve quality of life and the environment," said Commissioner Martha Schrader. "But I move to terminate and look at the agreement again while considering the property rights issues. It is our job to ensure that CPO's, Hamlets and Villages and all feel included and aware when we make these decisions."
"I'm very knowledgeable about property rights and I have fought for 30 years for property rights," said Chair John Ludlow. "These people were not notified that they were about to lose rights to their property and that is just flat wrong."
"I feel very strongly that there wasn't a process followed and that the residents in this unincorporated area should have autonomy," he said.
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