The Knower of All Things passes on this interesting tidbit about TriMet's light rail line through Milwaukie to Oak Grove, now under construction, and how last year's Clackamas County ballot measure might affect it. (I'd hinted at this a few weeks back.)
First, the background. In September 2012, Clackamas County voters passed an initiative, Measure 3-401, that prohibits the county from allocating or contributing resources to light rail without a vote of the people. "Resources" includes, according to the explanatory statement from county counsel, not just money and staff time but also interests in property.
To comply with the voters' mandate, Clackamas County is working on a ballot measure for the May 2013 election that would authorize the county to transfer two small pieces of county land to TriMet for the light rail line. However, the real challenge for the county, and for TriMet, is not with these two bits of land but with the park-and-ride that TriMet proposes to build at the south end of the line, at Park Avenue and McLoughlin Boulevard.
Why? The Park Avenue station itself will be on the north side of Park Avenue, but the proposed park-and-ride is a multi-story tower on the south side of Park Avenue, straddling a modest dead-end street called 27th Place, which will be closed and vacated for the project. And there's the first problem: SE 27th Place is a county street, not a city street. Under Measure 3-401, the county can't vacate it for light rail without first submitting the question to a vote of the people, and it can't submit the question to a vote of the people unless 60% of the adjoining landowners consent to vacating the street. There's the second problem: TriMet can't give that consent until it owns the adjoining property, which (given the slow pace of litigation) is about a year away. The station may open a year or two before TriMet can start building the parking garage - a whimsical and unexpected effect of the Clackistani rebellion. And if the ballot measure fails, the station may have to get by without any parking at all.