Clackamas Wins in Salem, with More Work Ahead

Main Content

Clackamas entered the 2023 State Legislative Session with two main goals: secure a final state match of $61 million for the Replacement County Courthouse Project and reduce the impact of tolling on I-205. Progress was made on both goals in Salem, but no outcome was perfect.

The Oregon Legislature decided to fund $30 million for the Clackamas County Courthouse. This funding was the largest state investment allocated to county courthouses this session and represents a major win for Clackamas County. However, it does leave a $31 million shortfall on the State’s historical commitment to fund 50% of county courthouse replacement projects. Because of major safety concerns and the need to improve access to justice, the courthouse replacement project is currently under construction with a commitment by Clackamas County to fund the project through a public-private partnership (P3). State funding relieves the debt burden on Clackamas County. Learn more about the Courthouse Replacement Project.

Another key outcome in Salem was the Governor’s decision to pause all collections on tolling until January 1, 2026, and direction by Senate President Wagner and House Speaker Rayfield to form a legislative Subcommittee on Transportation Planning. The pause is a result of significant community outcry and numerous detailed rebuttals of the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the I-205 Tolling Project. The impact of this tolling pause remains in flux, but early ODOT reactions have hinted that Phase II of the I-205 Bottleneck Project, the part of the project that would add a third lane in each direction, will be postponed indefinitely due to a lack of revenue. Likewise, the legislative Subcommittee has not yet met and the scope of its work remains unclear. What is known is that Clackamas County and the communities along I-205 have more than two years until tolling is set to begin. That extension allows for more time to work with ODOT and state legislators to address community concerns on the impacts of tolling.

In addition to these priorities, the county worked with numerous partners and coalitions to advocate on dozens of other issues that impacts county residents. These can be found in greater detail on the county’s 2023 Legislative Summary.