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Older news articles (from 2012) about issues we're following

  • West side should play hard-to-get on the bypass
    (December 20) The idea of a bypass that would skirt Portland’s city center was studied more than 20 years ago.  Metro instead adopted a regional transportation plan that gave priority to road improvement projects on U.S. 26, Oregon 217 and various surface streets. Wiser heads prevailed back in the day and the idea makes even less sense today.  Is Willey serious, trying to make a name for himself, or is he sucking up to the high-tech industry that dominates his city? Read more…
  • Helvetia woman, 86, in path of ODOT project still looking for a new home
    (December 28) An 86-year-old Helvetia woman whose home is in the path of a road project still worries she will not be able to afford a new place to live. Read more…
  • Bypass jams up political traffic
    (December 14) Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey is rethinking the city’s request that the state study a new automobile and freight corridor through western Washington County. … “I guess we were just naive,” Willey says.  “We didn’t think asking for a study was any big deal.” Read more…
  • Hillsboro plans to lobby the Legislature for 'rigorous' look at west side bypass
    (November 21) Hillsboro wants to resurrect the long-dormant idea of creating a corridor through Portland's western suburbs to alleviate mounting congestion in Washington County and throughout the metro area. Read more… View the proposal documents
  • ODOT project leaves Washington County woman facing possible homelessness
    (November 12) Patsy Burnsed, 86, stands in the front yard of the only home she has known for 40 years.  ODOT plans to replace her house with a greenway, according to one of her sons, part of an enhanced access for the intersection of Helvetia Road and Sunset Highway. Read more…
  • Media Roundup: After Reserves Appeal, Revisiting Washington County Farmland
    (October) Following our announcement of our intent to appeal that proposal to the Oregon Court of Appeals, local media have been taking a look at the reasons farmland is so important to protect, in the Portland region as well as statewide. Read more…
  • Helvetia Culture Fest draws 200 visitors to learn about area's heritage
    (September 26) Atop a hilltop, under the shelter of an oak barn built in 1996 without nails by Greg Mecklem and sons, more than 200 folks gathered Sunday to celebrate the area known as Helvetia. Read more…
  • Helvetia Cultural Fest to celebrate Swiss, Native American ties to the community
    (September 19) Drawing from both its Native American and Swiss heritages, Helvetia will celebrate its fourth annual Helvetia Culture Fest from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23. Read more…
  • Reserves battles head to appeals court
    (September 11) Carrie Richter, an attorney working with [Ed] Sullivan on behalf of Save Helvetia, said there are still a number of issues the court will have room to look at, even with the restrictions of SB 1011.  "I think the court is going to be particular about the connection between the conclusion LCDC draws and the facts," she said. … [Mary Kyle] McCurdy said settlement talks are ongoing to try to keep the issue out of court.  "We've always thought a settlement of these issues is possible, at least amongst a lot of the interested entities, and would be better for the region," she said. Read more…
  • Why We're Challenging a Lackluster Vision for Greater Portland
    (September, 2012) This week, 1000 Friends submitted formal notice it is appealing Metro’s urban and reserves plan. … I want to tell you why we’ve made this choice.  But first I want to tell you about a place. … Wherever you live, knowing where your city ends is a shared value among Oregonians.  Along Highway 26, one such spot is Helvetia Road.  If you exit there and head north, the urban-rural transition is almost jarring in its suddenness. Read more…
  • New long-range growth plan for Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties sparks legal appeals
    (September 5) The deadline for filing appeals to a state agency's growth plan has brought at least nine appeals focusing on six different areas of Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah counties. … In Washington County, one group is challenging the designation of property near Rock Creek as an urban reserve.  "It's a tremendous resource area, but they want to use it for a road," said Cherry Amabisca, who helped file the appeal.  "Switching it to urban makes no sense."  Others filing appeals include 1000 Friends of Oregon, Save Helvetia, the Metropolitan Land Group and Beavercreek-area resident Elizabeth Graser-Lindsey. Read more…
  • Final state approval of urban and rural reserves expected this week
    (August 13) State officials are close to finalizing acceptance of the region's urban and rural reserve designations, nearly a year after regulators from the Land Conservation and Development Commission verbally approved the plan. … Jim Rue, acting director of the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, said the justice department has been coping with budget cuts, and that's slowed down the issuance of the written order. Read more…
  • Helvetia film wins at Festival
    (August 7) Melissa Rue’s Film, Century Farm, won Best Documentary – Social at The Oregon Independent Film Festival. See the full list of winners…
  • Washington County commissioners vote to roll together two separate Hillsboro road improvement plans
    (August 7) Some residents and board members said the widening of Northwest Cornelius Pass Road between Northwest Cornell Road and U.S. 26, a much more recent proposal, should be considered separately. … Vice chair Dick Schouten was the only commissioner to vote against the plan.  "One thing I'm not sure we entirely understand yet ... is the impact that could have on adjacent farmland." Schouten said. Read more…
  • Hillsboro looks to road improvement projects to help with tech-industry traffic
    (August 6) The proposed ordinance has struck a nerve in neighboring Helvetia, where some farmers say the ever-expanding urban growth boundary and influx of tech employees is encroaching on rural land they were promised would be kept safe.  Lyn Jacobs, who runs a two-acre community supported agriculture farm, "La Finquita del Buho," just a quarter of a mile away from the urban growth boundary in Helvetia, said she is worried the proposed modifications to the interchange will run heavy traffic along nearby West Union Road. Read more…
  • Cherry Amabisca receives the Harold Haynes award Save Helvetia founder wins leadership award
    (June 19) Washington County's Committee for Citizen Involvement has named the co-founder and chairwoman of Save Helvetia and the Helvetia Community Association, Cherry Amabisca, as the 2012 winner of the Harold Haynes Award for outstanding citizen service and leadership. Read more…
  • Washington County eyes future growth areas with new boundary-expansion decision
    (June 18) "This all fits Hillsboro's plans to build the roads and they will come," said Cherry Amabisca of Save Helvetia.  "Our view is that there is already plenty of land for these uses inside the urban growth boundary."  Other groups, including 1000 Friends of Oregon, are continuing to weigh their options, which include challenging the decision in court. Read more…
  • State commission unanimously approves UGB expansion
    (June 14) Commissioners spent about five hours taking testimony and deliberating whether the Metro Council complied with state law when it added 1,985 acres to the urban growth boundary in 2011.  In the end, they didn't seem entirely convinced it had – but were willing to trust Metro's attorneys and send the matter along toward a likely court challenge. Read more…
  • New farmers market sells linden trees
    (May 29 ) Save Helvetia, created to save the local farmland from urban encroachment, has inspired folks in the area to create a stronger community.  For example, Lissa Boehm is running the new West Union Farmers Market on Saturdays on the northwest corner of Northwest West Union and Cornelius Pass roads.  Read more…
  • LCDC commissioners signal they're likely to approve UGB expansion in June
    (May 11) After hearing about 10 hours of testimony, five of the seven commissioners said they would support Metro's proposed 1,985-acre expansion if the regional government provides them with certain information by June 14.  If the commission signs off on the expansion next month, the most likely appellant would be 1000 Friends of Oregon.  Its attorney, Mary Kyle McCurdy, said the group had not decided whether it would appeal a potential approval of the boundary expansion.  But, she said, Metro and the cities within it need to do more to spur development within the urban growth boundary. … "Every promise you heard today about South Hillsboro, we heard about Bethany," she said. Read more…
  • As hearing opens, LCDC weighs regulation versus precedent
    (May 10) On one side were representatives from Metro, Hillsboro and development firms, who argued that the commission should override its staff and approve the boundary expansion.  They said the expansion, without question, met the spirit of the law, and it was likely to survive under legal review from the courts. … But 1000 Friends of Oregon attorney Mary Kyle McCurdy, who successfully argued the McMinnville appeal, said there was too much wrong with Metro's boundary expansion to justify approval.  She also called on the state to reject the staff report – because it was too lax on planning requirements. Read more…
  • Acting DLCD director to MPAC: Courts have forced remand recommendation
    (May 9) In particular, Rue said, a recent Oregon Court of Appeals ruling on a proposed urban growth boundary expansion near McMinnville has forced the department into its recommendation. … The department's director also said the written order on urban and rural reserves is days away.  While the commission approved reserves last year, staffing problems at the Oregon Department of Justice have forced delays in codifying the commission's approval into law.  Technically, the urban and rural reserves don't exist until the order has been issued. Read more…
  • Metro's approaches and Oregon rules lead to state recommendation of UGB remand
    (April 20) The land use experts at the regional government seemed stunned Friday by a report from the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, saying Metro hadn't done enough to back up its 2011 urban growth boundary expansion decision. … State officials didn't just pull the complaints out of thin air.  Their recommendations to the state commission were based on complaints, or objections, received from parties ranging from land conservation group 1000 Friends of Oregon to generally pro-development cities in Washington County. Read more…
  • Washington County irks farming community by rejecting tougher codes for agricultural fills
    (April 10) Washington County’s commissioners, brushing aside citizen calls for increased regulation of large-scale agricultural fills, are opting instead to handle new fill applications under existing county rules. … The board’s failure to come down harder did not sit well with Malinowski.  "To me, dumping dirt is not an agricultural commodity,” said Malinowski, whose family owns and operates a Washington County farm.  “I think it’s at least fair that we require that topsoil be put back over the top” of a field.  His sentiments were echoed in letters received from Save Helvetia and CPO 8, the citizens' advisory group representing the area. Read more…
  • Hillsboro, ODOT apply for $15 million federal grant for Brookwood/Helvetia interchange
    (March 22) Hillsboro hopes to secure $15 million in federal funds for the planned expansion of the Brookwood / Helvetia interchange.  Working with the Oregon Department of Transportation, the city applied this week for a U.S. Department of Transportation Tiger IV grant. Read more…
  • Lawsuit alleges urban, rural reserves violate U.S. Constitution
    (March 5) A federal lawsuit, filed last week by Multnomah County property owners, alleges that the county, Metro and the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission violated the U.S. Constitution in designating urban and rural reserves. … The suit also says the public hearings on the formalized reserves proposals were pointless, because no changes to the reserves plan were made after the mid-2010 hearings. Read more…
  • WaCo: Aiding & abetting the enemies list
    (January 30) I've already posted here about the reports of Washington County Chair Andy Duyck's efforts to blackball local citizens from boards & committees if they don't subscribe to Duyck's political and policy agenda.  Unsurprisingly, Duyck's got some help when it comes to eliminating citizens from the Metro Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC).  Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey told me that MPAC isn't functioning now the way it was designed: to be the advisory committee on land use to Metro.  Willey says that Metro is no longer following the input of MPAC. … Willey also said that he has felt that members weren't representing their jurisdictions.  "County chairs and mayors want MPAC members to reflect the policies that they support." Read more…
  • Hughes: Time to reconsider MPAC citizen appointees
    (January 27) Metro Council President Tom Hughes said Thursday that his decision to seek new citizen representatives to the Metro Policy Advisory Committee had nothing to do with political battles in Washington County. … "We believe a change in the county's MPAC citizen representation right now would be a healthy, natural and timely thing considering basic democracy principles," said the letter, which was from the mayors of Hillsboro, Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin, Forest Grove, Sherwood and Cornelius, as well as Washington County Chair Andy Duyck.  Only Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey signed the letter, which was on City of Hillsboro letterhead. Read more…
  • Washington County is silencing critics on advisory boards, say ousted citizens
    Andy Duyck cartoon (January 18) Washington County Commission Chairman Andy Duyck is cleaning house when it comes to dissident voices, even those piping up on seemingly insignificant advisory committees, say some citizens removed from such groups.  From the county's planning commission and citizen representation at Metro to seemingly unrelated venues such as the Washington County Farm Bureau, some citizen representatives say that disagreeing with Duyck means risking immediate removal. Read more…
  • Advisory committee appointments, normally routine business, roil controversy in Washington County
    (January 3) A public dust-up Tuesday pitted the chairman of Washington County's Board of Commissioners against two members of an advisory committee who asked if they are being ousted from their volunteer positions for not toeing the official county line.  The incident, coming near the end of the commissioners' regular weekly meeting, is just the latest stare down between Chairman Andy Duyck and members of various citizen advisory committees and other county organizations, most notably the Washington County Farm Bureau. Read more…

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