Inclusion, Diversity and Cultural Change? NO! Says Dictator Molalla Mayor Jimmy Thompson!

 

Boo hoo, Wanna Be Dictator Molalla Mayor Jimmy Thompson NOT getting his way. It sure looked like he was about to cry when all the City Councilors rejected his rush to judgment against a Planning Commissioner.

It there are any words Molalla “mayor” Jimmy Thompson doesn’t get, they are “inclusion, diversity and cultural change”. Wanna be dictator Jimmy is a chip off the block of our much detested so-called president. They both want to shoot from the hip, have melt downs if they don’t get their way and are totally beholden to the rich. In the case of  Wanna Be Dictator Jimmy, he’s stuck with lording it over a next to insolvent failed timber resource town that has some of the least educated, drive till you qualify and hope against hope to hold on to a home residents in the greater Metro area.

Wanna Be Dictator Jimmy joined and defended an armed vigilante patrol looking for “unwanted persons” last summer. Talk about a publicity fiasco!

http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamascounty/index.ssf/2016/08/molalla_open-carry_patrol_even.html

Wanna Be Dictator voted to allow  so-called City Councilor George Pottle to continue as a City Councilor AFTER Pottle admitted to and was convicted of voter fraud for posting false statements in the voter’s guide.

http://pamplinmedia.com/mop/157-news/279217-155465-molalla-city-councilor-steps-down-as-council-president-following-court-conviction-

http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamascounty/index.ssf/2015/10/molalla_city_councilor_convict.html

The perfect example of Wanna Be Dictator’s convoluted “thought process” was this hoot of a post on a Molalla Community FB page. Jimmy was disturbed that the local citizens had the gall to discuss problems and posted this idiotic  scrambled thought about free speech (prey tell Wanna Be Dictator, how will people solve problems if they aren’t allowed to discuss them in public?):

Molalla Now Facebook Community Page

Jimmy Thompson

February 23 at 2:11pm

“One thing that I think as a community it would be helpful for us all to be more aware of is that this page is public, and what we post here has the potential to be seen by anyone. That could be anything from potential new neighbors, to new businesses, to people that dislike the community and try to do it harm.

Posting something on facebook is not likely going to solve the world’s problems. What can and often does solve problems, at least in my experience, is going to the source. In a city of 9,000 people, the source is not often difficult to identify.

I’m all for freedom of speech. If that is the foot you want to put forward for other people to see, so be it.

I think most people would agree, we have a great community that does some wonderful things. Share the Love, Relay for Life, Ford Family Leadership, heck, even just neighbors looking out for and helping each other. In my humble opinion, we are far better served by putting that foot forward for others to see, and dealing directly with the problems that do happen to come up.”

How funny that a “leader” thinks that public debate about problems translates into “try to do it harm”. Only someone afraid of the truth would spout that kind of fear based nonsense. North Korea Dictators think like that, Jimmy! What’s next, are you going to turn off the internet? We already hear that City Hall has tried to suppress free exchange of opinions in the local paper.

Now Wanna Be Dictator Jimmy wants to keep his hand picked, insider club of three so-called Planning Commissioners happy by kicking off the ONLY Commissioner in the past year who has shown even a spark of intellectual curiosity. Par for the course, with Wanna Be Dictator and his hence man El Hefe so-called city manager Huff “in charge”.

http://pamplinmedia.com/mop/157-news/358505-238507-molalla-mayor-threatens-to-oust-planning-commissioner-

http://pamplinmedia.com/mop/157-news/358517-238522-molalla-city-council-rejects-mayors-request-to-oust-planning-commissioner

Wanne Be Dictators like Jimmy depend on stuffing their interests through with little public oversight, hence Jimmy’s pathetic failure to even list the name of the Planning Commissioner he was trying to remove on the agenda. That’s typical of sleazy Molalla and it’s “agendas” – they more than often violate public meeting rules by failing to provide adequate detail so the public can understand what issues are being address. Worse than that, the record keeping is so terrible that the minutes of past meetings are currently a month or more behind – what kind of train wreck city would fail, with two weeks (or more) between City Council meetings, to provide minutes of the most recently past meeting? Molalla! It always wins the award for the least transparency and the worst record keeping. Dictators depend upon keeping the public in the dark and ensuring that people they appoint to commissions are untrained rubber stampers who won’t dare to have an independent thought.

To back up Wanna Be Dictator Jimmy (or maybe to manipulate him?) El Hefe “city manager” Huff blows hard at Planning meeting, trying to control the message. Only cities with something to hide allow their city managers to endless butt into Planning meetings. Competent and ethical cities have an attorney present and their planning staff and the city managers are not a factor in Planning meetings. Not so Molalla, Huff never knows how to keep his mouth shut.

The only time Huff kept his control the message trap closed was on May 10, because we can guess, excellent County Commissioner Ken Humberston was front and center to witness Jimmy’s witch hunt. How hilarious to see Humberston, a champion of inclusion, transparency, inclusion and diversity,  there to witness Jimmy’s nasty attempt to burn a volunteer at the stake. It was funny that Huff failed to jump in, could it be that he didn’t want to humiliate himself in front of a County Commission or is Huff so mean that he enjoyed watching Wanna Be Dictator Jimmy twist in the wind on May 10?

Wanna Be Dictator Jimmy will be back on May 24, hoping to get support for his witch hunt burning at the stake campaign. Will the Molalla City Council join his noxious witch hunt or will they start to turn the tide for respect for inclusion, diversity and cultural change?

Here’s what the City Council heard about their sleazy “leaders” Thompson and Huff on May 10. Only time will tell if the Council will for once stop being a herd of sheep and will try to lead Molalla into an era of respect for inclusion, diversity and cultural change. Time is running out for anyone who has an ounce of respect for inclusion, diversity and cultural change to step up and tell the Molalla Dictators NO NO NO!

May 10, 2017

Dear City Council,

Mayor Thompson invited me to participate in the visioning project. Frankly, after 26 years here, I have little faith in the City of Molalla’s ability to follow any vision except helping greedy developers and land speculators while ignoring quality of life needs like the elaborate 10 year old unimplemented Parks Plan. Molalla must understand how far behind it is compared to other local cities, which produced realistic, in scale plans and successfully implemented them.

Dissenting ideas and debate must be encouraged. There is clearly a group-think, lock step fear of anything that does not suit the agenda of the Mayor and City Manager. Molalla has, as it did ten years ago, engaged in what is called a DEAD land use process – where decisions about outcome are made to satisfy speculators. Now a campaign is underway to defend a premature decision. Good luck on that. Apparently Mayor Thompson learned nothing from the huge waste of public money on the past urban reserve fiasco. Molalla needs a stable, well-trained Planning Commission, working independently with the City Planner, without inappropriate manipulation by the City Manager and Mayor.

My vision requires your city staff to perform their stated duties on time and respectfully. The minutes of the meeting directly past should accompany every new agenda. The city website should be transparent and easy to use. Public documents should be proudly produced and shared.  City staff should be accessible to all.

City councilors, Mayor and City Manager should write op-eds and newsletters that honestly outline problems and plans. Your City Manager is, in my opinion, fond of maligning agencies and individuals when they are not in attendance. A public exchange of ideas via the paper would be a far more appropriate way to contest opinions the City Manager doesn’t agree with.

A successful city fully cooperates with public agencies and immediately employs the outcomes of grants.

Molalla needs to accept reality and tell its citizens that the wastewater problems are serious and will be costly to fix; instead, you spend public money on lawyers to try to whine your way out of the increasing violations. Attendance at Bear Creek Recovery’s annual meeting would have allowed you to discuss with DEQ the process and money needed to become a Major Facility and to solve the violations. Manager Huff made an incorrect slur about Bear Creek Recovery at the April planning meeting. BCR has been a registered non-profit since 2013, has a full and engaged board of directors and will continue to vigorously advocate for the environment. BCR receives direct land use notifications from Clackamas County and DEQ honors our requests for hearings.

Unless you encourage debate and diverse citizen involvement, acknowledge Molalla’s glaring problems, work with agencies in good faith, follow legal process and make plans that fit local financial and social demographics, you will, as usual, be stalled with grandiose visions that never come true.

Posted in diversity and cultural change, Molalla, Molalla City Council, Quality of life | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Molalla Mayor, City Councilors, Planning Commissioners, City Manager Contact Information

 

CITY OF MOLALLA PUBLIC OFFICIALS

MAY 2017 CONTACT INFORMATION

(Obtained via Oregon Ethics Commission Filings where EVERY ONE of these “officials” has “Outstanding Penalties” listed on their report)

 MOLALLA MAYOR:

Mayor Jimmy Thompson getting ready to witch hunt a Planning Commissioner!

Jimmy Thompson (elected unopposed )

647 Shenandoah Drive

Molalla OR 97038

(503) 737-4487

jthompson@cityofmolalla.com

*A little background on  the abject HYPOCRISY of “Mayor” Jimmy: He’s fond of joining in to rid Molalla of supposed “unwanted persons” – it was a fiasco last summer when he joined this open carry vigilante patrol: http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamascounty/index.ssf/2016/08/molalla_open-carry_patrol_even.html

*And a bit more background on HYPOCRITE “Mayor Jimmy: He wants to rid the Planning Commission of a woman courageous enough to ask questions, but he voted to keep George Pottle, a guy who LIED on his voter’s profile and plead GUILTY to voter fraud, on the City Council. Go figure, “Mayor” Jimmy certainly has a skewed sense of “justice” to say the least:

http://pamplinmedia.com/mop/157-news/279217-155465-molalla-city-councilor-steps-down-as-council-president-following-court-conviction-

http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamascounty/index.ssf/2015/10/molalla_city_councilor_convict.html

MOLALLA CITY COUNCILORS:

Boreth ready and eager to rubber stamp “mayor’s witch hunt with zero discussion. I guess we know who he owes his council appointment to! YUCK!

Glen Boreth (appointed, not elected)

623 S Molalla Ave

Molalla OR 97038

(503) 829-8625

gboreth@cityofmolalla.com

Childress ready to rubber stamp the witch hunt without discussion. UGH!

Leota Rose Childress (appointed, not elected)

150 Indian Oak Court Unit 3

Molalla OR 97038

(503) 984-7241

lchildress@cityofmolalla.com

Dragowsky was at least wise enough not to rubber stamp mayor’s witch hunt.

Cindy Renee Dragowsky (elected unopposed)

803 Mathias Ct.

PO Box 522

Molalla OR 97038

(503) 984-4457

cdragowsky@cityofmolalla.com

Palumbo was the hero of the May 10 Molalla City Council meeting – she had the courage to see a witch hunt for what it was and said she needed more information. Wow, can you imagine that in Molalla, taking time to actually study an issue? Good job!

DeLise Palumbo (elected unopposed)

125 Glory Lane

Molalla OR 97038

(503) 740-1133

dpalumbo@cityofmolalla.com

Swigart also knew it was (to say the least) unwise to jump on the hateful witch hunt.

Keith Swigart (elected unopposed)

210 S Cole Ave.

Molalla OR 97038

(503) 314-8125

kswigart@cityofmolalla.com

(No photo of Klein – she was missing in action at the May 10 Molalla Mayor official witch hunt meeting)

Elizabeth Klein (appointed, not elected)

eklein@cityofmolalla.com,

(failed to file Ethics Commission SEI report as of May 18, 2017)

 MOLALLA PLANNING COMMISSIONERS:

 Rae Lynn Botsford

PO Box 482 226 Ridings Ave

Molalla OR 97038

(503) 577-0974

rbotsford@cityofmolalla.com

Dan James Burck

789 Zepher Way

Molalla OR 97038

(503) 515-7057

dburck@cityofmolalla.com

Jim Chapin

1301 Meadowlawn Place

Molalla OR 97038

(503) 516-9264

jchapin@cityofmolalla.com

Rachel Cain

General Delivery

Molalla OR 97038

(503) 877-2106

rcain@cityofmolalla.com

Jaime Hinkel​

jhinkel@cityofmolalla.com,

(failed to file Ethics Commission SEI report as of May 18, 2017)

CITY MANAGER

Huff is fast becoming the most loathed man in Molalla. But hey, he can roll out of town any day, he’s from what we know, not invested here. A fat paycheck must make up for being unpopular (and that’s putting it mildly!).

Dan Huff

PO Box 248 117 N Molalla Ave.

Molalla OR 97038

(503) 829-6855 x224

dhuff@cityofmolalla.com

Posted in Molalla, Molalla City Council, Quality of life | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Molalla in Denial: Letters the “Officials” Don’t Want You to Read!

 

 

The view from Molalla City Hall. No wonder Molalla “officials” want to censor the truth about the city. It must be depressing to preside over Decayville!

Letter #1 made it into the Molalla Pioneer:

(Open letter to Molalla City Council):

Dear City Council,

I participated in the Shirley Bank hearings before the Planning Commission in Oct. Nov. and Dec. I interacted with ODOT officials about how the PC was manipulated into absolving the developer of paying for curbs, gutters and sidewalks. I attempted to find out in advance of the Feb. 8 appeal hearing what the scope would entail so I would not waste time preparing if the hearing would be limited in scope. I left in disgust on Wed. night after your vote to limit testimony to “#7” (pedestrian access through the wall) only to find out later that you reversed and did not limit to “only #7”. I support the final outcome but I cannot condone the insulting failures in process that occurred throughout the Shirley Bank hearings.

I suggest you and your planning commission quickly find a way to become trained in how to hold competent planning hearings so you don’t leave Molalla open for legal challenges. Your PC needs to be trained to understand codes and to be independent of being manipulated into making poor decisions. Public Works Director Fisher introduced the idea of a waiver of remonstrance to absolve the developer of providing road improvements after the Oct. hearing was closed to public comment so there was no chance to rebut. I suggest you listen to the tapes of the Oct., Nov. and Dec. Planning Commission meetings to hear the “suggestions” made by City Manager Huff and Fisher to the PC. The Planning Commission is citizen volunteers; it was insulting for them to be fed ideas which were totally counter to your codes and to ODOT’s input.

You should investigate the failure of your staff to provide a single handout – no agenda, no handouts regarding Shirley Bank, no minutes and no sign-in sheet – at the hearing. Is Molalla so strapped for money that it can’t provide attendees the basic information needed to follow the proceedings?

Please read Goal One, citizen involvement in planning, which is easily found on the DLCD website. Participants in planning issues are entitled to access to enough technical information so that they can be informed participants in planning. The failure to provide any handouts, agendas, minutes or sign in sheets or to state the scope of the hearing in advance was totally counter to the intentions stated in Goal One.

Another view from City Hall. Old downtown has all the markers for blight – empty storefronts, quasi-pawn shop, boarded up buildings, tattoo parlor, endless hard liquor bars and now a pot shop.

And now for the letter that didn’t make it into the paper, after the above “open letter” apparently ruffled some feathers in City Hall. Gee, could it be that Molalla “officials” don’t want the truth out in public? Anyplace with the sewage plant violations Molalla faces should celebrate information about potential solutions and opportunities to interact with DEQ reps. The City Council was invited to the meeting referenced in this letter – too bad none of them had the courage to attend.

There seems to be a mistaken idea among Molalla City “officials” that admitting problems and finding solutions is negative.  How’s that positive thinking propaganda and censorship  working out, City Council?  Not so well, since that pesky First Amendment still is functioning and the City prepares for a high level legal showdown over these wastewater problems. Here’s letter #2:

It’s alarming to see the City of Molalla’s attempts to discount the severity of its ongoing sewage management violations. Instead of complying with DEQ’s request for test well monitoring, Molalla spent money in February for a lawyer’s letter to try to dodge monitoring and to try to avoid a penalty for 20 days of illegal discharge into the Molalla River in October. A responsible city would put public and environmental health first by proceeding with test wells to ensure that groundwater and private wells are not being contaminated by leaking sewage lagoons. Molalla violated its Total Suspended Solids (TSS) limits in December, January and February, resulting in another impending DEQ Enforcement Action; suspended solids impact the health of aquatic life.

I’ll agree with one sentence in the lawyer’s letter: “Like many small communities in Oregon, Molalla faces challenges with aging infrastructure” (read the letter at Bear Creek Recovery on Facebook). It’s fascinating to research how communities around the state, in trouble with “aging infrastructure”, have stepped up to comply with the Clean Water Act.

An inspiring tour of Wilsonville’s recently upgraded wastewater plant showed sewage processed in about 12 hours into water clean and cool enough for year around discharge into the Willamette River; no sewage lagoons are needed! Exceptional Class A biosolids are produced via 550 degree ovens and the dry biosolids are immediately trucked away, safe enough for home fertilizer.

Wilsonville hired CH2MHill to design, build and run their excellent wastewater plant. CH2MHill absorbed the existing employees; they follow a code of honor to promptly report problems. Wilsonville’s City Manager is thrilled with the CH2MHill contract because it is cost certain for the City, with CH2MHill is responsible for compliance, employees and violations.

The Dyer Partnership’s website has great examples of Oregon wastewater upgrade projects. Dyer’s engineer Steve Major acknowledged that fixing “aging infrastructure” comes with a cost. In his experience, cities of all sizes with DEQ compliance problems have raised their sewer rates to $70-$105/month.

On April 13 at 6:30 at the Molalla Library, Jon Gasik, DEQ Senior Environmental Engineer, will answer questions about wastewater permitting, compliance with the Clean Water Act, and financing wastewater improvements. Gasik will be an excellent resource for compliance success stories; he can also explain how urban growth could be halted if DEQ has concerns that a wastewater plant can’t handle more volume.

The City of Molalla should stop paying for whiny legal letters filled with weak excuses and commit to a robust upgrade of its wastewater program. If Molalla wants to grow, it must to grow its ability to comply with the Clean Water Act.

Molalla City Manager Huff (left) and his sidekick Public Works Director Fisher apparently discussing the sadly overdue downtown road project. Let’s hope paving a road in a blighted old downtown via borrowing against Urban Renewal Funds pays off. It’s hard to imagine how pavement and sidewalks will raise property taxes when half the storefronts are empty and most of the rest are marginal “businesses”. Let’s hope these guys do a better job solving Molalla’s ongoing wastewater violations than they did with paving a few blocks of blighted downtown (but I’m not holding my breath!).

A “business” next door to Molalla City Hall.

How Molalla “fills” empty storefronts!

Downtown pot store – one of the few going businesses. It was funny to see the City Council first try to ban pot and then cave because they wanted the $$$$.

After Molalla “patrons” visit the pot store and all the hard liquor bars they can find help within a block.

Got addiction problems? Maybe the Molalla lawyer can send you right next door for treatment. It’s pretty hilarious to see this treatment center within a block of several not so swell bars and the pot store. But hey, let’s celebrate, at least the archaic building has a renter!

Posted in Molalla, Molalla City Council, molalla real estate, Quality of life, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Oregon Transportation Commission: Stop Funding Molalla!

A sign that greets you driving into what’s called downtown Molalla. Certainly too many “ales” are being consumed by the “officials” who are supposed to use public money wisely!

You know a city is a mess when citizens have to spend their time compiling all the ways the place fails.  You know a city must be a disaster when citizens take the time to personally address important Oregon commissions like the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC).  It’s long overdue to stop “honoring” wasteful cities like Molalla with public money. Here’s information presented on the record  at the March OTC meeting in Salem:

Commissioners,

It is an honor to address you in a room named for Gail Achterman. I was privileged to spend a day giving her a tour of the Molalla River Corridor. Her memory inspires me to work to make Oregon the best place it can be.

I forwarded you detailed observations about ongoing problems with ODOT’s interactions with Molalla on grants and wasted staff time. [entire detailed report with links is posted below].

Our public money is limited and our infrastructure is aging. The examples I provided show years of money wasted on plans that were never implemented, only to have ODOT grant more TGM money for more plans for Molalla. Molalla is in a constant battle to stay solvent after making poor planning choices a few years ago that were against the sound advice of state agencies.

I have observed ODOT staff wasting a great deal of time trying to get Molalla to comply with ODOT mandates, with codes and their own transportation plan. In some cases, after months of staff input, ODOT staff reverses and fails to follow through on demanding that Molalla follow state and local codes. When ODOT caves on standards, we are often left with worse highway conditions.

The “recommend” letters ODOT sends when plans impact state highways are a problem. Recently, with a development that will adjoin a state highway, Molalla chose to interpret “recommend” as a suggestion that could be ignored, causing months of ODOT staff time to be wasted. If ODOT is going to issue letters, ODOT needs to make it clear that it is an enforceable mandate. Otherwise, ODOT should stop wasting staff time and money on uncooperative cities like Molalla with “recommends” ODOT does not intend to uphold.

ODOT grant evaluations are not honest about whether or not a city has been cooperative with ODOT.  ODOT fails to look closely at whether or not a city has adopted and implemented the elements of past grants. In the case of Molalla, I have provided a long list of expensive grants that produced grandiose plans that have barely been implemented. It took ten years for Molalla to adopt the $122,000 TGM Downtown Master Plan. Even worse, before the Plan was adopted, ODOT granted $43,000 for a study of a proposed development based on the unadopted Plan, resulting in a summary rejection by LUBA

Please review how ODOT staff spends time and money on “recommend” letters and is failing to honestly rate cities in grant reviews. We can’t afford to continue to use public money to pile up plans in struggling cities that don’t work in good faith to use the plans, that do not have the skill or financial ability to implement plans, that ignore codes, and that fail to willingly accept ODOT’s input. In the case of Molalla, I have provided you with concrete examples of do-overs, plans ignored, and ongoing disregard for accepting ODOT’s sound advice to keep our roads as safe and functional as possible.

Molalla “officials” City Manager Dan Huff and his Public Works Manager Gerald Fisher (orange vest) having a “conference” in an alley? Maybe it was so high level they couldn’t interact in City Hall?

The following document was also provided to the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) and to Governor Brown:

March 14, 2017

 Dear Oregon Transportation Commission,

I have spent over ten years participating in planning issues in the Molalla area and was part of the Clackamas County REACT committee that lobbied for a local ACT. I have grave concerns about the way ODOT staff spends public money interacting with the City of Molalla and how grants have been issued to Molalla, only to produce plans that are ignored or that the Molalla is financially incapable of implementing.

I believe the following examples deserve your attention and that reforms are needed to ensure that we spend Oregon’s limited public money wisely. Please carefully consider the following interactions between ODOT and Molalla and note the failure to provide public benefit for the staff time and money spent. Please note the corrections I believe are needed in my summary.

 TGM DOWNTOWN MASTER PLAN  

The $122,000 Transportation and Growth Management (TGM) 2007 grant  produced a  2007 Molalla Downtown Master Plan/ 211 Streetscape Plan. http://www.cityofmolalla.com/planning/page/downtown-master-plan

The Plan shows $64 million needed for 20 years of transportation projects, yet next to nothing on the “priority” transportation project list has been implemented since the plan was written. ODOT’s Sonya Kazen (now retired) said that if this Downtown Plan was not fully adopted in 5 years Molalla’s ability to receive grants would be in jeopardy and the “Plan” would become obsolete. In 2008, DLCD urged the city to adopt and use the plan.  Molalla failed to adopt the Downtown Master Plan until 2014.

 In 2010, ODOT granted $43,000 for a traffic study for “Hart Street” mixed use apt/commercial project. The development was based on zoning/criteria provided in the Downtown Master Plan which was bundled with an unapproved comp plan/ urban reserve. Molalla’s Planning Commission approved Hart Street but the City Council denied it. The developer appealed to LUBA: Vest v. City of Molalla, 66 Or LUBA 155 (2012). LUBA found in favor of the City’s rejection because Hart Street was based on the non-adopted Downtown Master Plan’s zoning /criteria.

Why didn’t ODOT staff note that the Downtown Master Plan was not an adopted plan before ODOT wasted $43,000 on grant to study traffic impacts?

With the Downtown Master Plan filled with “priority projects” that have never been completed and an unrealistic “Forest Road” bypass that has been proven to be impossible to build though wetlands, ODOT has approved a 2016 TGM grant to “update” Molalla’s Transportation Plan. ODOT’s Michael Rock said the new TGM grant is likely to cost around $200,000.

Why is ODOT staff giving large TGM grants to a city that has failed to use past plans correctly; why has ODOT failed to note that virtually none of the 20 year, 63 million dollar road projects in the Downtown Master Plan it helped facilitate have been funded or completed?

 OREGON 211/ TOLIVER ROAD SAFETY IMPROVMENTS

 In 2002, Molalla and ODOT signed a HEP safety improvement project contract to develop sidewalks and put a stoplight at the Highway 213/ Toliver Road intersection. The contract required a 20% matching fund from Molalla and stated that Molalla would be responsible of any costs incurred by ODOT if Molalla failed to complete the project. ODOT did engineering studies; cost of the project was stated at about 1.5 million. Molalla backed out of the project in 2007, claiming it could not afford the matching funds. ODOT acknowledged that it did not charge Molalla for the work done. Now ODOT is engineering plans for a roundabout at 211/ Toliver (STIP 20478, engineering cost $700,000). Molalla’s Mayor Thompson is using social media to say he opposes a roundabout as the solution.

Why did ODOT fail to hold Molalla responsible for costs incurred on the 2002 project?

 STONEPLACE APTARTMENTS ON HIGHWAY 211

 Stoneplace Apartments has developed on Highway 211 in three phases. Phase one had highway improvements that included an access driveway with a left/right turn lane. When phase two began development, Molalla allowed foundations to go up with an access driveway to Highway 211 just west of the existing driveway without notifying ODOT.  Citizens had to inform ODOT about phase two while it was in progress and questioned the location of the new driveway. ODOT wrote that the new westerly access driveway should be restricted to emergency access, saying “Cannot be approved…approach is only about 250 feet from existing approach… fails to meet ODOT spacing standard of 500 feet as required in OAR 754-051-4020(2) (a) and (8), Table 6.” (Larry Olson, District Manager June 24, 2013)

ODOT then failed to follow its own mandate, allowing the new driveway with a “pork chop” low barrier with right in/right out only. That has caused all kinds of traffic problems on Highway 211, with drivers violating right turn only. Now Molalla wants a crosswalk in front of the apartments, with phase three (95 more apartments) coming online to add additional cross traffic. Crossing Highway 211 at Stoneplace would bring a pedestrian to the dangerous north side of Highway 211, which features deep open ditches, virtually no median and no sidewalks.

The above referenced Downtown Master Plan lists ODOT’s access spacing requirements (174); before these hundreds of apartments were built there were already far too many access points on Highway 211, as noted in the Plan.

Why didn’t ODOT stand by its initial requirement that the west driveway, created without ODOT approval or planning input, be a gated emergency only access?

This is also an example of Molalla’s failure to take over jurisdiction of Highway 211. ODOT has made multiple offers, including one in 2016, to do a degree of improvement and give Molalla a million dollars to take over jurisdiction. Molalla always refuses on the grounds it can’t afford to maintain the Highway (which is Main Street), yet it constantly bashes ODOT about conditions on the Highway:  http://cni.pmgnews.com/mop/157-news/303142-181168-odot-offers-molalla-a-deal-on-maintenance-of-hwy-211-

FOUR CORNERS INDUSTRIAL PARK

A 2006  $17,400 feasibility study for a “Four Corners Industrial Park” showed that it would take over 3 million dollars to fully develop the “park” – money Molalla did not have. In 2007 ODOT granted $281,000 toward the development of Molalla’s Four Corners Industrial Park.  In total, the public outlay from Clackamas County, ODOT and Business Oregon was $600,000. As of today the “industrial park” consists of a meager 850 foot dead end road with half street improvements and only two low paying businesses that located in 2007.  Molalla was supposed to complete the “park” and was sued by a landowner who traded land for infrastructure that Molalla failed to provide.

Further, per a forensic audit of missing SDC funds, it was found that Molalla illegally used SDCs for the Industrial Park: “About $1.5 million of the development charges between 2005 and 2008 went toward an industrial business park called Four Corners, a project not included in the city’s plan. In addition, the funds were used to pay for a citizen lawsuit.” (Oregonian March 29, 2012)

http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamascounty/index.ssf/2012/03/post_65.html

Currently, the totally stalled “park” is advertised as “approximately 38 developable acres; comprises 19 parcels with 14 property owners” yet there is no road access to most of the “developable acres”.

 Why did ODOT fail to check what was allowable in Molalla’s plans when it donated money to “Four Corners”? Why did ODOT fail to check to see if Molalla had the financial capacity to finish the “park”?

SHIRLEY BANK DEVELOPMENT / REFUSAL TO FOLLOW CODES

 The most recent example of Molalla failing to honor its own and State codes, violating hearing procedures, not accepting ODOT’s “recommend” letters and wasting endless ODOT staff time was the 2016 “Shirley Bank” seven house development proposed on Highway 211 on east Molalla city limits.

ODOT’s August 2016 “recommend” letter called for the developer to pay for curbs, gutters and sidewalks on the west side of Highway 211. Molalla’s staff report supported the “recommend”, yet after testimony was closed in the October hearing, Molalla’s Public Works Director told the novice Planning Commission that the developer didn’t want to pay for the highway improvements and suggested a waiver of remonstrance. The PC voted for the waiver and for a solid wall around the development. The hearing was closed, no continuance and no capacity for further input was granted.

After the closed hearing, ODOT rep Gail Curtis assured me in numerous emails that ODOT would not back down on requiring Molalla to follow codes (Ms. Curtis noted “developer’s obligation”, “We are not backing down”, “instructing the city to follow their own requirements”, “point out to the city what their own Transportation System Plan includes”)

 In a 11/2/16  letter (ODOT Case No: 6972) Seth Brumley Development Review Planner, ODOT Region 1, wrote a detailed letter the PC, including code requirements and cross section drawings, noting:“Because there is no certainty with a LID [local improvement district] the city would risk being out of compliance with the TSP (and state provisions) if sidewalks are not required as part of the subdivision development…Oregon administrative rule 660-012-0045 requires local governments to adopt regulations within urban areas that provide safe and convenient pedestrian connections to neighborhood activity centers within ½ mile of new subdivisions…”

The PC briefly (and illegally) re-opened the hearing in Dec., the developer to asked for the waiver (and the City Manager noted that the developer was at the hearing but that ODOT was not!). The City provided no handouts of the ODOT/ Brumley letter; the PC did not discuss the letter, and signed the plans allowing the waiver and solid wall.

ODOT’s Jon Makler then visited City Manager Huff; per a post visit phone call from Makler, Makler said Huff claimed an appeal to the City Council would not reverse the waiver (LID) so ODOT backed down and only appealed the lack of connectivity through the wall. At the appeal hearing in Feb., the City Council initially voted to limit the hearing to ODOT’s connectivity appeal. Then, violating hearing procedure, the Council ended up addressing the waiver and decided to follow code, requiring the developer to pay and for connectivity through the wall. It took seven months and an appeal hearing that violated process for Molalla to accept it needed to follow its own codes and plans.

How much ODOT staff time was spent and how much money did that wasted staff time cost the public?

 ODOT clearly spent a great deal of staff time from the initial “recommend” letter issued in August 2016 to the appeal hearing in mid-February on issues an ethical city would never have caused, i.e. the waiver of remonstrance (LID) for much needed highway improvements in a city that lacks connectivity and lacks sidewalks/curbs and gutters on much of Highway 211.

 Why did ODOT fail to appeal the waiver of remonstrance (LID); why did ODOT take the City Manager’s word that the waiver could not be reversed on appeal? Why did ODOT appeal for connectivity while ignoring the fact that without sidewalks a pedestrian would land in a ditch on unimproved highway?

 LACK OF ADEQUATE SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT CHARGES

With all the grants and plans, ODOT’s staff has ignored Molalla’s decades of failure to charge or collect SDCs capable of supporting transportation development. In 2008 (after the grandiose Downtown Master Plan was created) The Home Builder’s Association of Metropolitan Portland (2008) noted that Molalla had the lowest SDCs in the Portland Metro Area: “Based on a $200,000 home, SDC’s in the Portland Metro Area range from 2% of the cost of a new $200,000 home (City of Molalla) to 16% (City of Gresham, Springwater expansion area).  The average SDC in the Portland Metro Area is equal to $14,332 or 7% of the total cost of a new home.” The Homebuilders said Molalla’s 2008 SDC chart was:

$0  Transportation, $3,903  Sewer $0 Storm $0 Water $0  Parks  total $3,903

The forensic audit of 2012 proved that 2.5 million of SDCs were not properly accounted for or had been misspent (Oregonian March 29, 2012, link furnished above): “…investigation revealed a bigger issue: the city had used system development charges…to finance projects not included in the city’s capital improvement plan, a violation of the law. The city misspent street development charges, alone, to the tune of $1.77 million…Oregon law requires cities repay misused system development charges [2.5 million was found missing in the Molalla audit] within a year of when the violations were discovered.”

 Molalla has refused to reveal if or how it fully restored the 2.5 million dollars.

In Dec. 2016, a new SDC structure was proposed but the total SDC and the transportation SDC will keep Molalla on the low end of what cities charge: Transportation: Proposed methodology recommends a $4,000 SDC; Total SDCs for residential  $13,413

Molalla has been struggling for years to stay solvent. When Molalla hired Ellen Barnes as City Manager in 2012, she triggered the above mentioned forensic audit and began to cut jobs and services to try to correct Molalla’s slide into insolvency. Molalla stopped running its Adult Center, closed the City pool and cut many staff positions. Molalla has to carefully manage its budgets to stay in the black. “The mistakes piled up, the options narrowed, and the towns faced insolvency…I didn’t think a city could get like this,” Barnes said. “Where were the state oversight agencies?” (Oregonian April 15, 2012) http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamascounty/index.ssf/2012/04/with_lax_oversight_mismanaged.html

Why is ODOT continuing to endow Molalla with grants and plans when Molalla has failed to collect and account for SDCs to build enough funds for needed transportation improvements? Why have ODOT grant raters failed to note Molalla’s financial problems and its ongoing struggles to keep its budget balanced?

 SUMMARY

There is a demonstrable lack of coordination between ODOT departments to understand whether or not cities are using plans and codes properly, are cooperating willingly with ODOT’s “recommendations”, have the financial capacity and SDC’s needed to implement plans and have stable staff, planning commissions and enough civic involvement to be capable of understanding and implementing plans according to State and local codes.

ODOT is failing, when rating grant applications, to honestly evaluate a city’s history of implementing past plans and ability to implement new plans. ODOT’s staff fails to honestly consider a city’s financial ability to implement plans and whether there is stable city staff with enough depth to manage plans. ODOT has wasted public funds over and over again on “aspirational” transportation plans for Molalla which have little to no chance of being implemented.

ODOT needs to look at value received to the public from previous grants and to consider whether or not a city has cooperated with ODOT in good faith in development projects before future public funds are granted.

ODOT needs to decide what “recommend” really means: If “recommend” means “must/is necessary to meet State and local codes” then ODOT must be prepared to appeal all and any violations to the “recommend” letters. If “recommend” means “we wish you would do it but we won’t hold you to it” then ODOT should stop wasting staff time and public money writing “recommend” letters and just let bad development/ dangerous access and fee waivers to continue in Molalla, which has a record of doing everything possible to ignore ODOT’s “recommend” letters.

Molalla’s ongoing interest in fostering cheap development as it fails to upgrade infrastructure and fails provide quality of life features does not make it a willing ODOT “partner”.

 

 

Posted in Molalla, Molalla City Council, Quality of life, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Molalla City Council: Wake up Call! Are You Paying for BAD ADVICE?

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Dear Molalla City Council,

Reading the whiny letter from your “environmental” lawyer and the reply from DEQ was a laugh a minute.  It’s certainly not “Seas of Fun” these days, as the broken down sign at a long abandoned business “welcomes” drivers into Molalla’s downtown Decayville.

molalla-deq-ring-bender-meetingmolalla-deq-ring-bender-meeting-2molalla-deq-ring-bender-meeting-3molalla-deq-ring-bender-replyh

There are two kinds of lawyers/ consultants. One kind eggs on clients to get the most money and to drag out issues. That kind of lawyer/ consultant will do/say anything a client wishes, even when the demands are unrealistic, to keep billing the big bucks. The other kind of lawyer/ consultant will quickly tell the client the truth about legal issues and urge speedy mitigation so the legal bills don’t bleed the client dry on futile legal quests. I’ll leave it to you to think very hard about the kind of “talent” and “advice” Molalla hires.

Molalla spent years paying through the nose for land use “advice” from lawyers and consultants on the futile Urban Reserve quest that was roundly attacked for years by agencies before it was shot down at County hearings. Mayor Thompson was party to that wild spending adventure where lawyers and consultants were laughing all the way to the bank to produce the ultimate failure. The city went into the red because it would not listen to the sage advice from agencies that told the city it would fail.

Molalla spent about a year and a half paying though the nose for legal “advice” on the Clean Water Act lawsuit, which it could and should have settled quickly. I’ll only speculate what kind of behind the scenes legal “advice” was given. I do know that the big winner was Molalla’s law firm. And now it’s back, writing whiny letters about changing permits and dodging mandates. I’ll leave it to you to decide what kind of “advice” your city pays though the nose for.

Finally, it’s clear from attending the so-called Planning Commission meetings that the highly paid land use consulting firm Winterbrook is back floating urban growth dreams. Wow! The very consulting firm that cost the city a fortune to lose a land use quest about five years ago is back – are you really paying for that “advice” out of public funds?

Here’s a fantastic study done by the Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association Challenges to Development in Oregon: It’s Not Just About the UGB”.

http://www.oregonapa.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/2017-Challenges-to-Development-OAPA-FINAL-Feb2017.pdf

I highly suggest it as required reading for any person tasked with spending public money on land use issues in Oregon. Molalla is frankly the perfect poster case for how limits on budgets and broken down infrastructure are huge red flags when it comes to UGB expansion.

It’s all up to you – are you going to learn from past planning fiascos/ permit violations and cooperate fully with state and county agencies  and, for a change, be responsible and realistic stewards of public money?
Are you going to hire lawyers/consultants who will tell you what you think you want to hear and fund pipe dreams or are you going to hire people who carefully explain the truth about how land use rules and wastewater permits work in Oregon? Are you rubber stampers or do you have the capacity to do your homework, ask questions and carefully husband Molalla’s funds to provide a decent city for those who have invested here and who fund the City via their taxes?

Molalla is clearly in big trouble with DEQ – do you REALLY think whining is going to fix your wastewater capacity problems? Do you really think Winterbrook and the fledgling Planning Commission is going to prove you can grow onto land that isn’t even in your exception lands? If you think those two points are true, then I truly pity those who have invested in your city because you clearly have failed to learn from the past ugly history of lawsuits and wasted money on land use quests. For those who are new to Molalla’s huge DEQ problems, another letter from DEQ addressing the long standing need for a Mutual Agreement and Order is provided.

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It would be easy to crash the computer adding the reams of DEQ violation letters/ Civil Penalty notices that have piled up over the year. Perhaps the new City Councilors should ask the City Manager for a file to review to understand why Molalla is at a rock and hard place and the only way out is to accept that the sewage infrastructure is a disaster and work with DEQ to fix it. And yes, it will be costly, but think of all the money the City wasted on its insane and futile land use quest in years past.

I’d also expect the recent Aug-Feb planning fiasco called Shirley Bank would be a heads up about your inability to navigate your own codes and cooperate with state agencies – if you take EIGHT MONTHS to legally approve a simple seven house development, just imagine what kind of ability your city has to successfully mount a UGB quest. Bon chance on that!

Needless to say, interested citizens will closely follow all these issues. We support our state agencies. They are highly transparent and accessible. Molalla could learn a lot from Oregon’s public agencies if it had the courage to cooperate instead of constantly questing for pipe dreams based on excuses.  As your EXPENSIVE lawyer notes: It’s time for some “timely and efficient” solutions!  Too bad he didn’t skip the excuses, what does he charge per word to write that whiny nonsense?

Bon chance, your taxpayers deserve “timely and efficient” solutions for a refreshing change.

Molalla, where even lowly resale stores can’t make it!

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Posted in Molalla, Molalla City Council, molalla real estate, Quality of life | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tootie Smith and John Ludlow = Clackamas County Commissioner Cronyism Corruption: Follow the Money

Tootie Smith and John Ludlow: CORRUPT PARTNERS IN CRONYISM!

Tootie Smith and John Ludlow: CORRUPT PARTNERS IN CRONYISM!

Update: If you want a quick and current snapshot of the cronyism and corruption Tootie Smith and John Ludlow have produced in Clackamas County, here’s an excellent rundown of the time and money they have wasted trying to help their greedy land speculator political friends: http://www.friendsoffrenchprairie.org/current-issues_remand.html

Update 1/15/2016: Here’s the latest from Metro about how Tea Party Tootie, Ludlow and Savas are wasting half a million dollars of public funds trying to buck Metro which now has passed its end of the urban reserve remand. This article notes that unless the three Tea Party Clackamas County Commissioners come to their senses, development will all go to Washington County. How dumb can you get? http://www.oregonmetro.gov/news/fix-growth-plan-okd-metro-council-awaits-approval-clackamas-county

Update 1/12/2016: As you read the info about the cronyism and unethical behavior of Tootie and Ludlow, keep in mind the email comment received today by this blog – it’s really a threat and represents the kind of Tea Party anti-freedom policies endorsed by Tootie and Ludlow.

“Author : anonymous (IP: 65.19.167.132 , 65.19.167.132)
E-mail : anon@anonymous.site

Comment:
Congratulations for getting the attention you wanted. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget.”

The ugly past history of Tootie Smith, John Ludlow and their Tea Party Transformation Project cronyism is here: https://oregonfirst.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/john-ludlow-for-county-commission-chair-beware-bully-deluxe-tootie-smith-lol/)

Nothing shines brighter in the cronyism of Tootie Smith, John Ludlow and Paul Savas  than the history of their unethical, greedy campaign to push the Maletis brothers’ agenda to get their Langdon Farms golf course and French Prairie (PRIME FARMLAND) out of Metro’s rural reserve designation. An excellent op-ed ran in the Oregonian:

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/11/campaign_contributions_land-us.html#incart_river_index

Here’s the story of the October Metro hearing where everything went against Clackamas County’s crazy and EXPENSIVE attempt to expand what is supposed to be a very limited remand on land designation for the 50 years reserves:

http://portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/276641-152390-metro-clackamas-county-headed-for-clash

http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamascounty/index.ssf/2015/11/possible_development_south_of.html#incart_2box_clackamascounty

Here’s the behavior of Chris Maletis at the Oct. Metro hearing where a host of negative testimony stacked up against his corrupt campaign to develop prime farmland:

“It was a “beyond belief” moment. Chris Maletis stood up in the rear of the room and began addressing the council from there, saying that he wanted to meet with them individually to correct all the lies and misrepresentations of his intentions heard in testimony. The Council President and everyone else was stunned by the audacity and rudeness. Nonetheless, Maletis continued to speak as he walked slowly to the front. Asked to sit, give his name and offer testimony, he argued about it before finally taking a seat. As I recall, he repeated his request to meet with Metro Councilors individually, and the meeting ended. Maletis then walked to the front, extended his hand, and spoke briefly to each Councilor before they could get up and leave. It was a clear demonstration of everything that was testified about their self-seeking, self-aggrandizing posture. If Greg can get a copy of the video tape, be sure to watch it. The arrogance is beyond belief!”

Oct 8 Metro Hearing. Maletis goes “tilt”.

More links to the corruption and unethical cronyism of Tootie Smith, John Ludlow and Paul Savas (learn the facts about who these puppets represent before you vote in 2016 – Smith and Ludlow have to go and Savas would be a disaster as Chair):

http://www.friendsoffrenchprairie.org/issues-lfcp.html

It’s essential that voters read in depth the corruption that is the ONLY mission of Tootie Smith and John Ludlow. They do not represent us – they represent ONLY the cronies who fund their nasty campaigns. Tootie can be heard on policy tapes screaming about the need to hurry up with planning because it’s pretty clear she knows she’s on her last legs in government!

 

Listen to the tape of the most recent Commissioner policy session on the reserve remand. Hear the hysteria of Tootie as she advocates for her cronies. Hear the pathetic comments from Savas and Ludlow. Scratch your head about why Schrader, given the FACTS that huge costs accompany this sure to fail quest, would vote to push forward. And thank Jim Bernard for being the only one with his head screwed on correctly:

Read the staff report about the huge costs on this sure to fail cronyism mission:

http://www.clackamas.us/bcc/documents/presentation/20151021policy.pdf

We can't afford naked fighting pitbills like Ludlow wasting our pubic money, fighting for cronies on missions that are sure to fail!

We can’t afford naked fighting pitbills like Ludlow wasting our pubic money, fighting for cronies on missions that are sure to fail!

Be an INFORMED VOTER! Tell all Clackamas County friends and neighbors we can’t afford anymore cronyism – DUMP TOOTIE SMITH AND JOHN LUDLOW – and don’t consider voting for Paul Savas for Chair. Chastise Martha Schrader – if she wants to be re-elected she needs to stop endorsing expensive land use adventures that are sure to fail. Jim Bernard is our only good choice for Chair in 2016.

Speech to Metro regarding this issue:

November 19, 2015

As residents of south rural Clackamas County, my husband and I fully support Metro’s mission to focus only on the Stafford remand. We are appalled that Clackamas County Commissioners are pandering to political cronies and are putting the entire Metro Reserves process at risk. That’s wrong! There is no municipal support for any infrastructure to French Prairie and Clackamas County is struggling financially to maintain infrastructure already in place.

My husband has worked for the last 25 years in outside sales, supporting agricultural and other businesses in the Willamette Valley. His company is based in the core of Portland, the motors, belts, bearings and host of other machine products come from Metro urban sources. We have seen those urban businesses take greater financial hits during economic downturns than agricultural businesses in Oregon.

Agriculture is Oregon’s number two industry. It is of huge concern to us that Clackamas County Commissioners want to ignore agriculture as a major and very stable economic force. Plenty of employment flows from rich agricultural lands like French Prairie, not just via direct farm work, but also from shipping, processing, sales and industrial supplies to support production.

We have little to no idea what forms urban industries will take in 50 years. But we do know that in 50 years we will still require agricultural lands to feed ourselves and the world. We know that with the rapidly changing climate and worldwide consumer demands, agricultural land in Oregon is being snapped up at ever higher prices because agricultural producers are fleeing drought stricken states. It might be trite to say that once you pave over farmland it’s gone for good but it is true. We must protect our agricultural legacy, especially prime farmland like French Prairie, for Oregonians of the future.

We, as an ethical society, must reject Clackamas County’s corrupt use of public taxpayer generated funds for those seeking private profit. If the Maletis brothers seek private profit let them use their personal funds for a legal challenge. Please stay on course and only consider the Stafford remand. Clackamas County can’t afford a prolonged legal fight. Stopping this blatant cronyism now is the proper course of action.

Posted in Clackamas County, Clackamas County Board of Commissioners | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Molalla City Councilor George Pottle: RESIGN NOW!

Here's scoff law George Pottle's official photo as City Councilor of Decayville Molalla What a joke to see a flag behind him!

Here’s scoff law George Pottle’s official photo as City Councilor of Decayville Molalla What a joke to see a flag behind him!

We can be grateful to the transparency of the Oregon Secretary of State’s Election Division for it’s prompt ability to furnish the below public record; it is the initial complaint that led to the conviction of pompous, scoff law, right wing George Pottle. That’s what a Democratic controlled State government does well, honor public transparency (unlike the paranoid, secretive  mess that has been Molalla under Pottle’s rule!).

The Oregonian broke the story about Molalla City Councilor George Pottle’s conviction for lying on the voter’s pamphlet on Friday, Oct 16, but failed miserably at providing the actual below complaint. http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamascounty/index.ssf/2015/10/molalla_city_councilor_convict.html#incart_most_shared-clackamascounty

Here’s in depth coverage by the Molalla Pioneer with an interview with the real hero of this story, the citizen who turned in big mouth bully Pottle. http://www.pamplinmedia.com/mop/157-news/277573-153707-molalla-city-councilor-convicted-of-lying-in-voters-pamphlet

When will scoff law fake “patriot” Pottle resign? Progressives are sick to death of pompous right wingers like Pottle who act like gawd’s gift to America – then we find out he’s a liar!

RESIGN NOW POTTLE! Do the right thing for once in your sleazy life! Stop posturing around behind the Pledge of Allegiance, resign and let honest, ethical people try to fix the mess that is Decayville Molalla!

Here’s the filed complaint. This citizen deserves praise for exposing election fraud!

Here's the actual complaint that opened the legal investigation into election fraud.

Here’s the actual complaint that opened the legal investigation into election fraud.

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