Why has Metro put Measure 26-160 on the November ballot? Because our community thinks ahead! Back in 2002 the voters of our region approved the language that we are voting on now, and they included a provision requiring us—a dozen years later—to think about it again.
A little history:
In 2002, opponents of land use planning tried to persuade voters to take away Metro’s regional planning authority. These extremists told the public that Metro would require communities to build high-density apartment towers in the middle of single-family neighborhoods.
This was a lie. Then, as now, our region’s 2040 Plan called for creating opportunities for new jobs and homes in downtowns and other town centers, along main streets and other busy transportation corridors, and in the region’s industrial areas. If needed, modest expansion of the urban growth boundary would accommodate additional growth. But single-dwelling areas—along with farmlands and natural areas—would be “off limits” to major development.
To make this crystal-clear to the public—and refute the scare tactics of planning opponents—Metro asked the voters to “tie Metro’s hands” by passing a Charter amendment to prohibit Metro from requiring cities or counties to put apartments in single-dwelling zones. The voters strongly supported the Metro Charter amendment, and rejected the extremists’ anti-planning measure in the same election.
The 2002 measure contained a “sunset clause”: the charter limitation will expire at the end of this year unless we reapprove it. Today, as in 2002, our region has no need to redevelop our single-family zoned neighborhoods in order to provide homes and jobs for our kids and for new residents of our region. Passing Measure 26-160 makes as much sense today as passing the same language made in 2002.
We can continue to protect farms, streams, forests and single-family neighborhoods, while providing for our economy and our new neighbors. And we can continue to reject the scare tactics of those who oppose sound planning for our future. That’s why I’m voting “yes” on 26-160.