My Trip to Paris (well, not quite!)

(With apologies to “I love Paris”)

Every time I look down on this timeless town,
Whether blue or gray be her skies,
Whether loud be her cheers, or whether soft be her tears,
More and more do I realize that…

I love Salem in the spring time
I love Salem in the fall
I love Salem in the summer when it sizzles

Love Salem in the winter when it drizzles

I love Salem every moment
Every moment of the year
I love Salem

Why oh why do I love Salem
Because they write land use goals there!

Yesterday a friend and I got on the Concorde (well, not quite, we got in my Toyota) and we zoomed across the world (well, not quite, we took the scenic back roads from Molalla to Salem) to attend a meeting of worldwide planning leaders (well, not quite, but they were the top people from Land Conservation and Development and Counties from around the state) at the Louvre (well, not quite, it was a basement conference room in the Agriculture Building in Salem).

But, anytime I have the luck to attend any meeting that ISN’T in Molalla I thank my lucky stars – so it felt like a trip to Paris to be in a room surrounded by educated planners and thoughtful state-wide leaders who know the score about State finances and land use law.

And guess what? Those same folks also have high respect for Goal One: diverse citizen involvement in planning in Oregon. My friend and I, with our concerns about “Events on EFU lands”, were warmly welcomed during the opening citizen comment period.

I’m glad I went armed not only with an essay about the local abuse of land and residents by unpermitted motocross activities, but with glossy photos as well. It was quite refreshing to engage a high level group of policy makers; the glossy photos of the trashed high value farmland proved our points far better than any words!

Most of all, it was wonderful to be in a room with intelligent leaders who actually spend their careers working to protect Oregon and to ensure that all voices are well heard and all sides of issues are well-considered.

Unlike the “blow off” meetings in Molalla (and the backdoor deals and the censored facebook pages and the “mayor appoints” committees) where anyone with opposing views is treated like dirt, the “we’re in Paris” meetings I attend at County and State levels listen and debate issues. Molalla continues to fail – whether it is comp plan or school bond or economic development – because it never listens to any voice of reason. Molalla never is able to accept limits, and thus ensures it will remain a bottom of the barrel place.

Yesterday, after hearing and discussing the State wide ramifications of our nasty little local land use problem, LDCD’s head, Richard Whitman, gave a realistic account of the budget problems facing his agency and the State as a whole. It was wonderful to hear the TRUTH instead of the pie in the sky “we’re growing” garbage that comes out of Molalla “planning”, city hall and school district!

Bad news, though, for Molalla’s fake “planning” department and the city in general: the grant train has run off the tracks big time. The State is broke, so those “it’s just a grant” welfare dollars to Molalla “planning” are over. Isn’t it a shame Molalla’s fake “planner” squandered a fortune in public grants on bullshit? Now Molalla has a pile of burn barrel quality junk documents that just flew back at incompetent Potter with nowhere to turn for help – he’ll have to depend on his (choke!) skill. LOL!

In stark contrast to Molalla’s many, many years of planning fiascos (what are we on now that version 8 is back in town, in need of massive fixes? Are we calling the new “work” version 9 or 8.1? It doesn’t matter because failure is all Potter produces!), I got to hear about SUCCESS in tiny La Pine, a recently incorporated area in Deschutes County.

La Pine ( under 3,000 people but with a large land mass), using DMC/Foreterra Consultants, working closely with Deschutes County and even more closely with DLCD, was noted as being ready for “Post Acknowledgement” by Whitman, along with Damascus. Those were the ONLY TWO upcoming actions Whitman saw on the horizon so I guess that Whitman and his professional staff don’t see any happy outcome for Molalla anytime soon. DUH!

Here’s a link to La Pine’s exceptionally clear, concise, and likely very legally defensible comp plan:

http://www.ci.la-pine.or.us/documents/Comp%20Plan%20docs/FINAL_comp_plan.pdf

What is striking are the great details about citizen involvement, the comprehensive farm/forest discussions, the Goal 5 natural resource section, the energy conservation goals, and the housing goals (which provide for efficient use of land with a thrust for affordable housing). Read this and weep TEAM: If there is anything that kills Molalla’s future, besides the lack of money, geographical location and the failure to produce a city focused on quality of life, it is the total failure to produce a great comp plan like La Pine’s. And to boot, it only took La Pine about A YEAR to produce this fantastic document, so read it and weep for what COULD HAVE BEEN in Molalla – but isn’t – because Molalla clings to land speculation driven “planning” which ensures ongoing FAILURE.

How pathetic that Molalla didn’t see the FAILURE on the wall as it ignored years of DLCD’s direction – Molalla, too, could have produced a clear, clean, concise, legally defensible plan long ago: but we all understand that when the only goal is adding land and making speculators rich, instead of producing land use plans that fit Oregon’s vision, a city ends up dead in the water with no plans acceptable to County or State and no ability to grow anyway.

How funny! Keep up your BAD WORK, Molalla! The great big nasty Catch 22 is that until you produce defensible plans you can’t grow the borders and if you produce defensible plans they must  have solid efficiency land use measures that will stymie any outside the city limits growth. What fun to watch Potter and the greed crew twist in the wind!

Another focus of yesterday’s meeting was industrial lands. There is not much to worry about for Molalla as far as supply: given the hideous brownfields, LCDC will expect every scrap to be used before Molalla goes crying for more industrial land.

Anyone looking for the most hideous 110 acres of abandoned, polluted, weedy, trash-filled mill site? Come on down, TEAM is looking for you!

So, my trip to “Paris/Salem” was uplifting and inspirational. I know there are intelligent leaders out there beyond the city limits of crumbling, going backward fast, insular, shrinking Molalla. Meeting those great State leaders and discussing mutual concerns gives me strength of conviction to continue to work to make certain the trash heap of Molalla’s “planning” never crosses the ugly borders to impact the fine natural resources the rural lands are blessed with.

Keep up the worthless “work” Molalla!  I’ve seen your nemesis and it is meeting regularly in Conference Room D in the basement of the Agriculture building in “Paris/Salem”. Anytime I need a “reality check” boost I’ll just head back to “Paris/Salem” for a dose of culture and intelligent discourse.Those policy setters are HAPPY TO LISTEN to both sides of a story (if there IS a defensible “both sides”).

Beating your dead planning “we’re growing’ bushes, Molalla! I wish I could feel sorry for you, but DISGUST is the only word that comes to mind, especially after reading that La Pine Comp Plan. Unethical incompetent losers get what they deserve when it comes to land use planning in Oregon. YEAH! Go Department of LAND CONSERVATION and Development, you are my “Paris in Oregon” champions!

And a final note: it is not looking good for EFU “events” as far as this LCDC committee was concerned. It may end up a County question but Rod Park of METRO pointed out that it would be patently unfair to allow EFU landowners to enjoy their  great tax deferrals AND to allow them to do slap-dash “events” that would compete with highly taxed commercial zoned formal event centers, like wedding chapels, golf courses, resorts, and hotels. The LCDC committee didn’t seem interested in pushing any new legislation on that issue. So maybe farmers will just have to keep on a farmin’ and let the urban folks play in the commercial venues designed to serve up noisy, disruptive urban fun!

Postscript: Never forget, after reading La Pine’s fantastic, realistic, legally defensible document, where Molalla “joke” plannin’ currently stands. Here is the most recent exchange between incompetent plannin’ dude Potter and Clackamas County – the oversight agency for comp plan success – don’t cry too hard when you read it, Molalla “supporters”, and understand why anyone who has an iota of intelligence would NEVER give Potter $400,000 out of a school bond to work on “permitting”(Highlights and comments added by blogger):

From: Shane Potter [mailto:planner@molalla.net]
Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 9:50 AM
To: Dickerson, Maggie
Cc: ‘Chris Crean’
Subject: Molalla Comprehensive Plan Update

Hi Maggie,

I wanted to touch base with you regarding our application for adoption by the County of the cities updated Comprehensive Plan and Urban Reserve Area.  I continue to hear from citizens who have told me that they have been in contact with the folks at the county that the hearings are still a go.  The last time we discussed this you stated that the hearings were on hold for a possible different approach.  With the hearings beginning in October I was wondering if there has been a path laid out yet.  Our City Council has been asking and the lack of me being able to update them is starting to cause concern on their side. (highlight added).

I also have not heard whether we have a complete application yet.  Without having this information we are not able to provide any additional information or copies.  This is a concern to us because the hearing before the Planning Commission is scheduled for October 11, 2010 I believe and I want to ensure that you folks have all the paperwork and copies that you need for this hearing. (highlight added, and comment: Poor ole Shane is about to find out “what they need” and it’s not a’ lookin’ good!).

Please let me know the status of this file.  Also if you have had any comments on the record that I could get please let me know and I will be happy to come by and pick those up.

Sincerely,

Shane Potter, Planning Director

City of Molalla Planning Department

From: Dickerson, Maggie
Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 4:54 PM
To: ‘planner@molalla.net’
Cc: Pemble, Scott
Subject: FW: Molalla Comprehensive Plan Update

Shane – Thank you for your inquiry.  We are nearly done with reviewing the city’s application.  To complete our review we will need the following information:

1.      The application contains an October 2009 draft, or “Version 3,”  of the Comprehensive Plan.  Is this the adopted version? (Comment: Whoops! Within’ there a’ bein’ them 8 versions of them there piles a’ paper lies, it’s a lookin like Shane a’ got done cornfused!)

a.      If not, please send a copy of the adopted version.

b.      If so, table 14-1 on page 74 of the Comp Plan shows need for 2,287 acres in the URA.  This is not consistent with Table 6 on page 14 of Molalla Urban Reserve Findings (2010), which is showing a need for 2,433 acres in the URA.   Why are these numbers different? (Comment: Pretty funny, huh? The County professional planner actually is a’ expectin’ highly paid Potter to keep his numbers straight!)

2.      The application also contains a draft Residential Land Needs Report (July 2009).  Is there a final draft? If so, please send a copy. (Comment: Whese in Molalla can’t afford to buy a final draft – and whese a’ also sent in a DRAFT parks plan because whese is a’ running on empty when it a’ comes to gettin’ them $$$$ for them there EXPENSIVE LAND USE CONSULTANTS like my buddy from Winter$$$$$$brook to a do this trick work. That’s a’ makin’ me sad – John, I’m a’ needin’ some more $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ to waste).

3.      There are two referenced attachments that do not appear to be attached:

a.      Buildable Lands Inventory

b.      The “draft amendments” to the UGMA that are referenced on page 26 of Molalla Urban Reserve Findings (2010)

(Comment: Stops a’ askin’ for what whese a don’ have and a’ can’t afford to a’ gets anymore – that’s a’ bein’ mean! And if youse a’ like more re-ports, then youse a’ come on a’ down, I’s a’ got PILES A’ REPORTS youse a’ can rummage through – remember, this is a’ them there darn version 8! Hey- let’s a have some pizza whiles you looks!).

4.      Page 6 of Molalla Urban Reserve Findings (2010) states that the city is preparing a land use application to apply Future Urban zoning (to FU-10) for exception lands.  Is that intended to be part of this application?  It was our understanding that this is only a request for a Comp Plan amendment.   We would prefer to discuss issues about planning and zoning in the URA in a separate process and perhaps in conjunction with the UGMA rather than with this application. (Comment: This is a NO NO you’re not a’ growin’ them borders message I’s a’ been a’ worrin’ about commin’ – that’s a’ gonna’ make them land speculator good ole boys a’ madder than a buckin’ bull. But wait! (light bulb goes on above plannin’ dude’s head): Let’s a’ ask that gosh darn DLCD to let us do a HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEAR URBAN RESERVE PLAN – that’ll gets all a’ thems land speculators in them city borders! Or maybes I’s a’ ask for a TWO HUNDRED YEAR PLAN! That’s a’ gonna make me a’ famous in thems plannin’ circles! And think a’ all them $$$$ I’s a gonna save ifin’ whese don’t a’ have ta’ do this gosh darn hard plannin’ again for TWO HUNDRED YEARS! I’s a be a hero!).

5.      The acreages included in the URA need to be clearly identified; it is a little difficult to wade through the various documents to find the numbers. Using the numbers on pages 16 though 20 of Molalla Urban Reserve Findings (2010), which we assume is Attachment A to the application, it appears that there are 2,290 acres in the URA.  This is a quite a bit more than the 2,000 acres stated on page 4.  Which is right? (Comment: There it is again! Quits within’ a checkin’ thems big numbers! Youse a’ didn’t a’ tell me anyone would be a’ lookin that hard at all mys paperwork!).

It would also be helpful to have a table of  URA acres by zoning and by exception land, Class 3 &4 soil farmland, Class 2 farmland and Class 1 farmland. (Comment: Oh! Oh! It looks like the darn County is on to them plans to try to impact high value EFU land – I bet the land speculators hoped no one would be askin’ to see them correct soil maps).

6.      Do the land need analyses double-count land for schools?  It appears to us that schools are counted both in the residential land analysis and the employment land analysis.  Please clarify. (Comment: Not more MATH! RUN, RUN, RUN! It’a  lookin’ like some kinda’ test, isn’t it? And I’s a feared I’s is a hittin’ way below the ole bell curve!).

7.      The needs analysis for “public and semi-public” land needs seems high.  It accounts for 31% of the residential land need total.  Perhaps this just needs more justification – are there any standards for this type of analysis that you could provide us? (Comment: “Standards”whats you want – facts? Whese is Mo-lalla Plannin’ and whese don’t have to use no gash durn facts!)

8.      The employment projections are quite aggressive for the first 20 years (5.5% annually) with no discussion about what the city plans to do to achieve this.  Is it a realistic goal to go from less than a 1.0 ratio to a 1.6 ratio in 20 years? How is the city going to do it? (Comment: Potter to Atkins: “HELP! TEAM’s a’ been tellin’ me to just put it down like whese a growin’ like China and now they’s at County is a’ wantin’ even more facts! Let’s a’ tell them whese a’ gettin’ a lot more CA$HCOs, ’cause I’m a’ likin’ them gold letters, thems sharp, let’s a’ make a signage code and a’ gets big fines on them businesses that’s don’t use them gold letters – and ain’t the $ cool?).

Please provide us with this information at your earliest convenience so we can complete our review.  To give adequate time for a thorough review and the meet our requirements for notice, the public hearings will need to be postponed a few weeks.  (Comment: A few weeks? More like years with all youse a’ askin’ fur – I’s a’ plannin’ and I’s a’ in deficit up to me ears!).When we have confirmed the new dates set we will let you know.

When we complete our analysis we will set up meeting with you to review our conclusions.  We appreciate your patience and cooperation in dealing with this complicated process. (Comment: “Complicated process? Who’s kidding? It’s an IMPOSSIBLE PROCESS with all youse a’ askin’ Molalla’s lame, pretend plannin’ “staff” to be a doin’ because I’s a really a’ workin’ only for them  good ole boy land speculators within’ them big gold $$$$$$$ signs in them eyes).

I have attached a copy of the comments we have received on the record to date.*

Thank you,

Maggie Dickerson,
Principal Planner

*Comment from blogger: In case you are curious about the “comments to date” they are simply the same old whiny speculators begging to get land into the urban growth boundary – one hobbled onto the other endorsing the “let us in” message – how pathetic they couldn’t even write their own individual whiny letters! And they are actually quoting the city’s loser of a lawyer – claiming “he said” soil study baloney was valid. Like the County cares!

Modern, defensible land use is all about smart, efficient growth – and Molalla has so much under-used land it makes the regulators’ heads spin! Redevelopment ahoy! I’d be a keepin’ those berry fields producin’ if I were those “to the north” whiny land speculators.

Now go back and read the SUCCESSFUL LA PINE COMP PLAN below: Home run! It was done in about a year – because La Pine used realistic consultants, it wisely contracts planning to Deschutes Co, and, most of all, La Pine LISTENED TO DLCD.

Score a BIG ZERO for Potter/Molalla speculators with FIVE YEARS AND COUNTING AND NO END IN SIGHT! La Pine success in about a year!  What’s wrong with THAT PICTURE? Where is the ethics and where is the leadership?

Here it is again – a successful, brand new, up to date comp plan (check out the citizen involvement plans at the beginning – not exactly “mayor chooses”:

http://www.ci.la-pine.or.us/documents/Comp%20Plan%20docs/FINAL_comp_plan.pdf

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