I'm still mulling over the arguments in favor of and against Measure 3-401, Clackamas County's vote-by-rail citizen initiative, as well as the larger policy effects of the underlying issue, including in particular the tie-in with the county's land use policies.
One of the arguments in opposition struck me as not well thought out. Five of the eight Voter's Pamphlet arguments in opposition state that if Measure 3-401 passes, county emergency services (police and fire) could not respond to an accident on a rail track without first getting approval from the voters, apparently because (in their view) putting out a fire on a rail track or taking an injured passenger to the hospital would be "financing, designing, construction, or operation" of a rail system. One of the opposing arguments, furnished by Eleanore Hunter of Positively Clackamas, implies that the county would need to hold an election before it could paint a crosswalk.
This argument reminds me of the famous argument against the Equal Rights Amendment, that if it is adopted then public facilities would have to convert their restrooms to unisex bathrooms. It was one of a parade of horribles that opponents raised.
The argument that the county won't be able to put out fires on a rail track is equally false, as we can see by analogy. The county can't lawfully go into the banking business because it doesn't have a banking charter, but it can still chase bank robbers and put out bank fires without begging the permission of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.