Council Meeting: Stafford Improvement Project

At this week’s City Council Meeting, Council and the public heard from Clackamas County on the Stafford Improvement Project. Not only has the public been left in the dark, apparently, City Council has been too. While we know Chapter X specifically prohibits road construction in Nature Preserves, we also learned deed restrictions imposed by the Stevens family prohibit such activity.

How did this important safety project reach this milestone? Certainly, City staff had an obligation to influence Clackamas County to avoid Stevens Meadow. Furthermore, City staff had an obligation to inform Council and the public well before it reached this stage. Preservation and safety can co-exist simultaneously; engineers develop solutions all the time that address such constraints.

Entrance to Stevens Meadow from Childs Rd (about 50 feet from Stafford Rd). This property has a complex ecosystem that is home abundant and thriving wildlife.

The Mayor should be commended for publicly acknowledging Chapter X’s importance to our community: that it prohibits selling any portion of a Nature Preserve and defended it when speaking with the County’s design team. He should also be commended for asking critical questions of them and why this is just coming to light. But, neither the Mayor nor Councilors asked who knew on City staff and when did they know it. Both entities share responsibility. Until that is acknowledged, the Mayor’s words are simply that — words with no opportunity for improvement.

However, Councilors’ rebuke of citizens who expressed concerns and grievances with the City’s continued assault on charter-protected Nature Preserves further erodes trust. Citizen’s comments were critical and factual; they did not disparage Councilors as a few would lead the public to believe — read them for yourself. Councilors playing victim is tone-deaf and playing politics.

Our community expects Council to listen, even when the message is critical toward our City, and take action to address issues in an effort to do better. Chapter X wasn’t ratified by a fringe group of community activists; they are the majority and should be able to trust their City to comply without constant citizen oversight. It’s doing the right thing when no one is watching.

Watch and listen to the discussion:

Watch and listen to Clackamas County, Susan Stevens, Randy Yamada, the Mayor and Councilors discuss the Stafford Improvement Project (57 minutes)