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Vote Jim Bernard for Clackamas County Chair!
It’s worse than “disingenuous.”
That’s the word used in a story by a local newspaper about the so-called “public process” that Clackamas County engaged in around three recent open houses. The subjects: changing the designation of properties from rural reserves to an undesignated status to allow them to be developed – making them far more valuable in the process.
The three properties at the heart of this effort include Langdon Farms south of the Willamette River owed by the Maletis Brothers, Springwater Road owned by Terry Emmert, and another 400 acres east of Canby. Despite the major impact on cities and residents, the three public open houses for citizens were scheduled the week before the Fourth of July holiday with short notice and only property owners within 250-foot of the proposed study area were notified. Affected cities, mayors, community planning organizations and hamlets all say they were not notified. They were outraged, and I agree with them.
Thanks to the quick actions by Friends of French Prairie and other community organizations in Wilsonville, approximately 400 people attended the three open houses. Only one person spoke in support of this proposal, Chris Maletis.
That shouldn’t be a surprise. Thousands of citizens participated in the Urban/Rural Reserves process to preserve foundation farmland, prevent urban sprawl and give certainty to farmers and urban developers. After years of court challenges, the court ruled that areas south of the Willamette River were properly designated as foundation farmland. Instead of accepting the court’s and the public’s verdict, Clackamas County Chair John Ludlow and other commissioners voted to spend $200,000 to study employment lands in areas that have already been decided – and that would benefit only a few property owners. At the same time, those same property owners have donated tens of thousands of dollars to the campaigns of the chair and those commissioners.
These properties are in the heart of agricultural land and have been rejected as urban land in all previous public processes. And for good reason: our citizens need jobs close to their communities where services already exist; not on virgin farmland down in the Willamette Valley, where communities do not have the infrastructure to support these industrial uses – and taxpayers would be on the hook for paying for them.
Why should this matter to all Clackamas County citizens? The Clackamas County Commission adopted five strategic priorities in Performance Clackamas; chief among these: Build Public Trust through Good Governance. This process does exactly the opposite.
I personally attended two of three open houses. No one I spoke with received notice from the county nor did I encounter even a single individual who supported the proposal. There is a work session that is scheduled on this subject on Aug. 3. While a vote is not usually called during a work session, there is nothing preventing that from happening, if a majority of commissioners decide otherwise. That must not happen. Instead, we should restore the integrity of a process that has raised far too many questions – and far too few answers about who the County Commission is truly serving.
— Jim Bernard, Clackamas County Commissioner
to see just some of the ways I stand out from my opponents and why you should…
Moderated by Raymond Rendleman of the Clackamas Review,
with guest contributor Rob Manning of OPB News
Connecting people and bringing communities together has always been one of my greatest passions. Through years of hard work from many citizens of Clackamas County, we we’re finally able to take a giant step forward in connecting Clackamas to the future!
Check out my speech below at the Grand Opening of Tri-Met’s new Orange Line!
Having served as a commissioner for the past 6+ years, I believe I am the best person to take on the challenges of leading this diverse and growing county. Although I had not originally planned on entering into the race for chair, when I opened the Oregonian to an article a few weeks ago outlining some very negative and potentially game changing allegations about certain members of the Clackamas County Commission, I knew I had to step up and throw my hat into the ring to lead the county in a more inclusive and productive way.
I am an upbeat, can-do kind of person and I have a great depth of experience in issues facing the county. I have built strong relationships with people across the spectrum- community, businesses, industry, local, state, regional and local governments and organizations. I reach across the aisle to find solutions. This is what the county needs and deserves from its leaders.
Please join me in moving our county down a more positive and prosperous path to the future by supporting me for
Chair of the Clackamas County Commission.
Thank you for the honor of serving you.