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Clackson Newsletter

March 2017

In this Issue:

March General Meeting: Oil rides the rails in the Gorge:
What’s being done about this danger?

When: Tuesday, March 21 at 1:30 p.m.
Where: Oswego Heritage House, 398 10th St, Lake Oswego
Parking: On site and across the street at Lake Oswego Episcopal Church

It was just last June that we saw what an oil spill and subsequent fire look like when they happen to us. And we were so lucky it wasn’t worse. The Friends of the Gorge are on the case to preserve and protect the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, a designation that comes with many restrictions on what can and can’t happen in the Gorge, but restrictions that need enforcement. The Friends of the Gorge does much more than advocate hiking: from its inception in 1980 it exists to protect and preserve the beauty of this natural wonder, working to reject subdivisions, a casino, wind farms, cattle grazing and more from the Gorge. They established a land trust and opened up more public access to this splendid site.

The Friends recognize that with rail lines operating on both sides of the Gorge, the only sea-level route through the Cascade Mountains, the National Scenic Area and its communities face greater chances of a catastrophe as NW regulators consider numerous oil train terminal proposals. Anticipating a major increase in fossil fuel trains, both the Burlington Northern Railway and Union Pacific Railroad are proposing major expansions of rail through the Gorge. The construction of new tracks would endanger wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, cultural resources, recreation and public safety. Double tracks would result in more large trains moving at higher speeds through the National Scenic Area and its communities.

There are also pending proposals for coal export, transforming the Columbia River Gorge from a National Scenic Area into a fossil fuel pipeline on rails. The Friends believe that oil and coal transport is dirty, dangerous, and disruptive and does not belong in our national scenic treasure.

Come hear Ryan Rittenhaus talk about past successes and current challenges in protecting the Gorge. Invite a friend to attend and learn more about our Columbia Gorge’s possible future.


Clackamas County News

Nancy Murray

We have a new commissioner, Sonja Fischer, to complete the 5-member Board of Commissioners. Sonja lives in Lake Oswego, heads Fischer Family Law, and is a former legislative director for the Oregon Dept. of Human Services. She’s a graduate of Lewis and Clark Law School with a master’s degree from PSU and a B.S. in sociology/social work from Warner Pacific College.

The land use issue that doesn’t seem to go away is again on the agendas of Metro and Clackamas County: the Stafford triangle, parcels of undeveloped land designated urban and rural reserves. The reserves status of the Stafford area – unincorporated land between the cities of West Linn, Lake Oswego and Tualatin – has been in limbo since the state Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) remanded the designation of the area back to Clackamas County and Metro following the Oregon Court of Appeals decision in 2014. The county and Metro are working with the Stafford area community (including the Stafford Hamlet, Stafford CPO and Stafford Landowners Association), area business groups and adjacent cities to finalize revised findings related to the Stafford urban reserves.

Our League has had a position on the Stafford area since 1993. It reads: (we support) “the Stafford Area remaining outside the Urban Growth Boundary. Because of the costs of providing services to the area and the topography, the area should remain rural in nature with growth to occur as currently planned by the County. The following factors should be considered when development is allowed: water availability, waste disposal, surface water management, transportation, air quality, geological hazards and soil stability, the preservation of open spaces and natural areas, schools, costs and who pays, and the interest of current residents in the area. Planning should be done for the area as a whole, and it should be coordinated among the jurisdictions involved.” League is monitoring public meetings on this issue and will likely give testimony on April 12 to our county Board of Commissioners. Stay tuned.


A Busy Legislative Session

Marge Easley
Being a member of the LWVOR Action Committee during a legislative session feels a lot like running a race—a race to monitor scores of bills, attend weekly meetings at the Capitol, meet with legislators and aides, observe hearings, write articles, and get testimony approvals—all before the gavel falls at sine die. Yet however stressful it may seem along the way, there is tremendous satisfaction in knowing you’re helping to bring the League perspective to the messy and very political process of lawmaking.

The Action Committee consists of an action chair (Alice Bartelt), four portfolio chairs (Peggy Lynch, Becky Gladstone, Karen Nibler, and Paula Krane), plus numerous other members who keep tabs on specific bills or issues. This session I am continuing my work on gun safety and have added the new issue of the National Popular Vote Compact. Thankfully, each of those issues has a very active statewide coalition. It certainly helps to have many voices joined together to share the load.

The weekly Legislative Report is the League’s electronic publication to keep you up-to-date on all our work. It also includes action alerts to let you know when we need “all hands on deck” to influence legislators. But if you want to get a closer look at the legislative scene, I urge you to attend the LWVOR Day at the Legislature, April 21, at the Capitol. Registration forms and information about carpools will be sent out soon, so mark your calendar today!

Welcome, New Members!

Carol Horvath, Wilsonville
Theresa O’Leary, Happy Valley
Ellen Urbani Gass and Steve Gass, West Linn

Hilly Alexander, Membership
They all joined our League in the last few weeks. More than 30 people have joined the Portland League. We are part of a national trend as you can see in this excerpt from the mid-February update from LWVUS:

The nearly 100-year-old organization — which began during women’s suffrage to give new female voters a way to organize around their new civic right — has seen a massive resurgence since the election, and even more so since the women’s marches in January. Across the country, the league added thousands to its membership and inspired individuals like Marie Gauthier in Massachusetts to start new chapters in towns from Utah to Georgia to Pennsylvania.

It’s a level of interest that national president Chris Carson has never seen in her 33 years with the league. She thinks people are drawn to it because it is nonpartisan — it doesn’t weigh in on party politics, but it does take a stand on issues, usually progressive ones. Its main purpose, though, is to engender the kind of active citizenship that is in sudden demand since the election. It encourages voting and champions civil discourse, putting out voting guides in communities and sponsoring political debates at all levels of government.

With the Oregon Legislature in session and Clackamas County tackling old and new issues, there are plenty of opportunities for us to get engaged.


Join us for Lunch & Learn

March 31, 11:30 a.m., Szechuan Kitchen, 15450 Boones Ferry Rd., Lake Oswego

Topic:  Youth Support Services in Clackamas County

Our speaker will be Brian McCrady, who heads up several Prevention and Positive Youth Development Programs for Clackamas County. We will learn about the county’s school-based support services, the teen mentor program, and a special social norms project to prevent underage drinking.


Coming Events

General Meeting: Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 1:30 PM, “Oil rides the rails in the Gorge: What’s being done about this danger?”

LWVCC Board Meeting: Tuesday, March 28: 9:30 a.m. Social, 9:45 AM Meeting, Pacific West Bank, West Linn

Lunch and Learn: Friday, March 31: Youth Support Services in Clackamas County, 11:30 a.m., Szechuan Kitchen, 15450 Boones Ferry Rd., Lake Oswego.