Thursday, November 18, 2004

The UnCity declines the honor of assimilation

This Sarah Hunsberger Oregonian article from Nov. 18 shows that folks who live in Oak Grove, Jennings Lodge and vicinity would rather stay independent, when asked if they would like to be assimilated by a city. Despite that telephone survey of about 300 residents by Riley Research Associates, tax dollars continue to be spent to encourage us to let it happen despite what we want.

It also shows that Clackamas County is cutting back on providing road paving and other services:
The county no longer repairs local streets in the Oak Grove/Jennings Lodge area or anywhere else in the county, putting its road money into fixing only the most heavily traveled roads.
This is akin to Sheriff Detloff's decision that, although we pay more for enhanced patrols, we don't get what we paid for (see the Clackamas Review article from the election campaign where this was documented: It was voted in to provide protection for the area inside the Urban Growth Boundary but outside incorporated cities; the tax collected for it is supposed to provide 33 deputies, but.. in reality with cuts there’s only about 11 deputies being supported by the program.

To me, assimilation seems irrelevant; proponents admit that we would continue to receive services piecemeal, a la carte, as we do now. Surrounding municipalities hire such services as fire protection out to Clackamas County Fire District Number One, instead of having their own departments, or offer such marginal levels of service that being assimilated would result in reduced service (op cit.: "Milwaukie — they take one guy into custody, and take him to jail — and nobody is covering the city, because that’s there only one car."

Yes, a new city could receive state revenue. Does anyone sincerely believe it would net us more money, when compared to the costs of municipal government? In the absence of a projected budget which shows it, with cost figures in line with equivalent Clackamas incorporations, I think I'd rather pass on this Full Meal Deal, and continue to pay a la carte for what's really necessary.

This, of course, is historically what area residents want (again, from the Sarah Hunsberger story):

There was an effort to form a city called McLoughlin in 1981, but voters soundly rejected it. In 1997, a proposal for the neighboring cities of Gladstone, Milwaukie and Happy Valley to take over some Oak Grove and Jennings Lodge planning and building permit services crumbled after 18 months of discussions. The proposal was seen as an unpopular first step toward cities annexing the area.

Nevertheless, there will be more beating of the dead horse next Monday night, from 6 to 9 PM, at Alder Creek Middle School 13801 SE Webster Road (map). Please show up to help explain, in words of one syllable, that if we wanted Big Brother government, we'd live in Portland, right?

No comments: