Molalla: Off the rails and upside down in the DITCH

When I worked as a welder for Union Pacific in the 70’s, the ongoing joke was that engineers on trains bought big derailment insurance policies that protected them if a train they steered went off the tracks and into the ditch. The second part of the joke was that there was an emergency crew that got the big bucks by running out to clean up the derailed messes. And the punch line was that workers believed that the engineers sometimes ran off the tracks on purpose so they could get the benefits from those expensive insurance policies. Given the pathetic state of railroad tracks in the US, they probably didn’t have try very hard for those “controlled” derailments.

Anyway, one wonders if the so-called leaders in Molalla had the foresight to buy some “derailment”insurance before they ran Molalla off any track of progress and into the ditch of failure. All around the County and State cities are embracing diverse citizen involvement, accountability on budgets, and the need for sustainability. NOT MOLALLA. I doubt if anyone connected to city policy making could define “consensus” if they tried. I believe that there must be secret weekend airlifts for training in North Korea, given the dictatorial “mayor chooses” baloney and the theft of quality of life as the city manager allows public funds to be wasted advocating to enrich a few landowners outside the city limits via the never going to happen urban reserves.

That’s how they do it in North Korea – starve the little guys so a few can get rich and rattle legal chains at the rest of the world. Kind of like how Molalla as spent YEARS rattling bottom feeding lawyers at the State and County – and still LOSES. I am kind of amused, though, at how Molalla got backed into basically accepting model codes – it will be really funny to see it try to use them successfully.

Will we wake up one day to hear that Clarke, Atkins and Potter have fled when the bankrupt city has no more public funds to waste? Did they get their “derailment” policies in place long ago so they’d be ready to bail to Maui once they finally bleed the city dry of money for quality of life? Are they ready to run the minute the public fully wakes up to the unethical fraud that home buying citizens have been subjected to via “investment” in the City of Molalla?

I’d have some good disguises and a riot proof car ready to roll because smart, progressive, honest cities are on track to meet the needs of the 21st century and the gaps between their successes and Molalla’s failures are growing wider by the day. Molalla’s “leaders” are kind of like Prince Charles holed up in his Rolls Royce as students belted the car in England – you know, the “let them eat cake” syndrome.

Here’s a grab bag from the great websites of progressive cities to show how different procedures and goals are outside the city limits of Molalla (aka North Korea east), Oregon. Try not to cry too hard as you start to understand that Molalla has WASTED A DECADE PLANNING “A FEW GET RICH AND THE EXPENSE OF MANY” GARBAGE.

Keep in mind as you read that every step of the way Molalla’s FAKE planner Potter refused to engage in mediation, never attempted to reach consensus and told DLCD it would take too long to regroup to include sustainability and global warming in Molalla’s “plans”. So LOL as Molalla gets crowned as the LEAST SUSTAINABLE CITY ON THE PLANET.

OREGON CITY

A quick google of Oregon City’s website brought up its Citizen Involvement Committee site. The Oregon City goal is in grim contrast to Molalla’s ingrown “mayor chooses” crap. The County also has a Citizen Involvement Committee that does the screening and recommendations for public committees. Grow up Molalla –  when you use “I’m only working because of NEPOTISM” Potter to screen committees so the mayor who protects the NEPOTISM can “choose” you are killing your chance to move ahead because you are running into ever smaller circles of hidebound bad ideas! Read the list of Oregon City goals VERY CAREFULLY, Molalla. Anyone who tried to “participate” in planning who didn’t march to the pre-conceived speculator party line got dinged off the stage.

I’m off soon to yet again outline Molalla’s abuses on the State stage – reading this list provides even more incentive to continue to bitterly complain about the waist, the lack of consensus, and the unethical process in Molalla.

Here’s the quote from Oregon City’s site:

Oregon City Citizen Involvement Committee:

Citizen Involvement Council

PURPOSE

Mission Statement: We will provide an active and systematic process for community and public agency involvement in the land use process and consider and act upon a broad range of issues affecting the livability and quality of our neighborhoods.

Vision: Working together with communities and lay community stakeholders to create forums for communication that result in fair and open processes to ensure quality of life for future generations.

Values: We value open, honest communication; diversity; mutual trust and respect; and accountability.

Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Advocate community involvement
  • Build trust
  • Provide leadership
  • Develop community leaders
  • Train and educate
  • Mediate and facilitate
  • Provide crisis prevention
  • Represent community / individual concerns and improvement ideas
  • Transfer information
  • Provide resources
  • Provide opportunities for social activities
  • Protect quality of life
  • Provide processes for consensus
  • Demand ethical behavior
  • Build integrity into all we do
  • Continually align with our Mission, Vision and Values

ESTACADA

Now, our regional tour takes us to tiny Estacada, a city half the size of Molalla that boasts a fantastic new library and a historical school that was REMODELED to be the pride of the community. Tiny little Estacada has something Molalla sorely lacks: an infrastructure Committee! Imagine, citizens working directly with a city to ensure that roads, sewers and water systems are maintained with PUBLIC FUNDS in a fair and responsible manner. Wow! That would be refreshing, wouldn’t it – to have lowly tax payers – citizen investors! – provide oversight about how a city spends its limited infrastructure funds?

City of Estacada

Infrastructure Committee

Description:

The Infrastructure Committee reviews and recommends policies and practices of Estacada’s public infrastructure system to the Estacada City Council.  They are responsible for recommending SDC improvements annually for budgeting purposes.

The committee is comprised of six members that serve three year terms. Three members must live in the city limits of Estacada, one member can be from the Urban Growth Boundary area, one member is a representative of Reliance Connects, and the final member is a representative of PGE. The Committee is staffed by the City Manager and Public Works Director.

CITY OF CANBY

Here’s clip from Canby’s website that relates to infrastructure – it might be too depressing for Molalla to have this committee because the lack of forethought, the head in the sands “planning” and the failure to charge and collect adequate SDCs means that Molalla will never catch up on needed sidewalks and bike lanes. When a city lacks a CERTIFIED, PROFESSIONAL PLANNER – like Molalla – it misses the value added factors like  walkable/bikeable neighborhoods (which now are  factors in real estate values):

City of Canby:

Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee:

Duties and powers:

Keeping informed about current trends in bicycle and pedestrian services and administration;

Studying growth and needs in the city and its vicinity for bicycle and pedestrian facilities;

Developing long-range plans for bicycle and pedestrian services and facilities consistent with city priorities;

Investigating sources of funding for bicycle and pedestrian services and facilities;

Recommending policies for the acceptance and use of gifts for bicycle and pedestrian purposes;

Participating in the annual budgetary process of the city as that process pertains to the bicycle and pedestrian facilities and services;

Recommending policies and procedures conducive to efficient and effective operation of the bicycle and pedestrian transportation system;

Reviewing and recommending terms of contracts and working relationships with other public agencies regarding bicycle and pedestrian facilities and services;

Encouraging widespread public support and use of bicycle and pedestrian facilities and services; and

Performing other duties as authorized by the city council.

CITY OF SANDY

Now our tour takes us to a city that should, due to similar population, be a lot like Molalla, the City of Sandy. However, anyone “visiting” via the web would run to Sandy to invest because Sandy has MONEY and Sandy is TRANSPARENT!

Unlike Molalla, Sandy BOLDLY reports about its MONEY with clear pie charts and clear accounting! Sandy charges SDCs and has MONEY for Parks!

Sandy – oh! no! – mentions “sustainable and lists “water efficient landscaping” – and that would NEVER INCLUDE water sucking hanging baskets, the worst landscaping choice on the planet!

And Sandy’s FANTASTIC CITY WEBSITE has videos as well as minutes for BOTH city council and planning meetings posted right on the web! Talk about transparent government.

CITY OF SANDY:

SUSTAINABILITY

Water Efficient Landscapes

Want to create a low-maintenance, water efficient yard? Here are some tips to get you started-
7 Basic Steps for Creating Water Efficient Landscapes (PDF)

Water Efficient Plants for the Willamette Valley Plant Guide:

For additional brochures and information, check out the resources page of the Regional Water Providers Consortium http://www.conserveh2o.org/content/resources

PARKS SDC: Hide your eyes – Molalla has $26,000 in its pathetic parks fund – Sandy has over ONE MILLION THREE HUNDRED AND THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS – $1,330,000! Sandy is on track to follow the mandate of Molalla’s “never gonna happen” parks plan, since 1,300,000 is about what Molalla needs EVERY YEAR for TWENTY YEAR to implement its parks plan. And look: Sandy either requires $241,000 in SDCs or dedication of park land from developers for each acre impacted. Makes you wonder how much Molalla could have collected during the boom years if it hadn’t given the city away to developers, doesn’t it?

PARKS SDC’s in Sandy:
Fee Category Fee Amount Unit/Note Resolution Date
Payment in Lieu of Park Land Dedication $241,007.00 per acre 2004-39 12/6/2004
ALL FUNDS SUMMARY
2003-05 Actual 2005-07 Actual Fund 2007-09 Budget 2009-11 Budget
$6,627,486 $7,493,958 110 GENERAL FUND $11,114,322 $12,312,415
$1,467,109 $3,680,046 240 STREET FUND $2,442,152 $2,728,892
$1,726,658 $2,180,539 270 TRANSIT FUND $5,054,316 $3,493,148
$1,383,294 $1,462,210 350 PARKS CAPITAL PROJECTS FUND $1,330,716 $1,379,354
$0 $1,142,346 370 OP CTR CAPITAL PROJECTS FUND $4,866,362 $0
$148,991 $0 410 G. O. DEBT SERVICE FUND $0 $0
$157,438 $146,507 420 LID DEBT SERVICE FUND $268,670 $0
$103,495 $285,755 430 INDUSTRIAL WAY DEBT SERVICE FD $0 $0
$0 $0 440 SEWER BOND RESERVE FUND $886,000 $1,448,936
$2,564,702 $2,512,110 520 WATER FUND $5,316,730 $5,733,596
$3,773,893 $2,445,642 530 SEWER FUND $4,696,377 $3,372,310
$35,304 $193,070 550 STORMWATER $488,092 $1,753,893
$273,262 $444,937 560 TELECOMMUNICATIONS $517,291 $1,102,699
$0 $0 670 OP CTR INTERNAL SERVICE FUND $0 $121,100
$851,780 $1,655,269 720 URBAN RENEWAL $4,339,675 $2,442,784
$19,113,413 $23,642,391 TOTAL, ALL FUNDS $41,320,703 $35,889,128
Year-to-year comparisons are difficult in the table above, because the budgeted amounts include contingency accounts (typically funded with carryover balances), while the actual expenditures do not

CITY OF CORVALLIS

Finally, in our “read it and weep” compare and contrast journey, we end up at the City of Corvallis website. Corvallis has been a leader in smart growth planning for years – and proudly boasts about its early embrace of the sustainable practices. I’ll let their fantastic quotes tell their story – talk about running backwater Molalla off the planning rails!

City of Corvallis Organizational Sustainability
In recent years, sustainability has become an important issue, especially for Corvallis local government. In a sustainable society, environmental protection, economic objectives, and social justice join together to meet the needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet the needs of tomorrow. 

History of the Organization’s Efforts

Corvallis City staff have been working on minimizing the impact our operations have on the environment for many years. In the 1990s, the emphasis was on cost-saving aspects of projects–how can we reduce energy consumption to save money. Sustainability wasn’t a well-known concept at that time and we didn’t fully appreciate the side benefit on the global environment from our cost-saving measures. We began tracking our operational improvements in terms of sustainability impacts around 2002, and those we accomplished were heavily weighted toward reducing solid waste and saving energy.

In 2003, the City Council adopted an overarching goal of sustainability. The overarching nature of the goal did not carry with it a specific directive for staff; it was done more to heighten the awareness of sustainability and to get staff to begin thinking about how to incorporate those concepts in our daily activities.

In 2004, the Council adopted a policy that provided more guidance and created six general topic areas for staff to focus their attention on when reviewing City operations and maintenance activities: Sustainable Purchasing Practices, Green Building Practices, Solid Waste Management, Land Use Planning, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Toxics and Persistent Biotoxins.

The policy required an annual report to the City Council on the progress made in each of the topic areas. The 2004 and 2005 reports highlight the years’ accomplishments, and also contain objectives for the future, reflecting the City’s move toward more proactive planning for sustainability improvements.

As sustainability became more widely known and discussed, staff began marketing our efforts and achievements to share with the public our progress in this journey.

In 2005, the City Council adopted a specific goal to enhance organizational sustainability efforts. Staff hired a consultant, Zero Waste Alliance, to help us develop a strategy to implement this goal. They began their work in October 2005 and, over a three-month period, the consultant met with many City employees and conducted site visits to assess the current level of effort on sustainability and to make recommendations for future actions to move operations to a more sustainable level. What the consultant found is that Corvallis already had made a lot of progress toward reuse of materials, reduction of energy consumption, and elimination of hazardous chemical use. The work accomplished provided a good basis to build from in moving the organization to the next level in the journey toward sustainability. The consultant’s findings are published in the Phase 1 Report, Assessment of Sustainability Performance. In their final, Phase 2 Report, Sustainability Recommendations, the consultants recommend the next steps to a more systematic, comprehensive approach to the issue, with stated goals, timelines and metrics. The consultant’s reports were presented to the City Council’s Urban Services Committee in December 2005 [view minutes] and the full Council in January 2006 [view minutes].

In fiscal year 2006-07, the Council approved funding to hire a sustainability coordinator, develop a sustainability management plan, and make improvements to the energy systems at the aquatic center. The internal Sustainability Steering Committee has worked on several major projects:

Additional work efforts for the near term include creating metrics to measure progress toward the organization’s goals, developing audit procedures, completing the organization’s greenhouse gas inventory, and incorporating sustainability in job descriptions and employee evaluations.

Committee for Citizen Involvement

Helps facilitate citizen involvement in all aspects of land use planning and decision making. (9 members, 1 Council liaison*, 1 non-voting Planning Commission liaison)

Capital Improvement Program Commission (CIP)

By soliciting participation from other boards and commissions, neighborhood organizations, and citizens at large, this Commission identifies needed infrastructure projects required to implement the vision of the Comprehensive Plan, enhances the community’s quality of life, and protects its investment in municipal facilities. The Commission recommends a 5-year CIP program to the Planning Commission, Budget Commission, and City Council. (9 members, and 1 Council representative*)

Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission (BPAC)

Advises on bicycle and pedestrian facilities, operation, routing, and safety within the community. The Commission was instrumental in developing the bike transportation system in Corvallis — the best in the state for a community our size. (7 members and 1 Council representative*).

Watershed Management Advisory Commission

Advises on the management of the Rock Creek watershed located on the east side of Marys Peak and above the intake for the Rock Creek Water Treatment Plant. Issues about the watershed include the need to protect the pristine nature of the water to minimize treatment costs associated with the drinking water supply drawn from this source.

City of Newport

As a postscript I’ll throw in Newport’s  progressive committee:

Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee

Mission Statement:

“The purpose of the Committee is to advise the Council regarding issues relating to bicycle and pedestrian transportation, safety, recreation and education. The Committee would act as a resource to provide additional information related to the unique problems associated with non-motorized transportation.”

SUMMARY

There’s not much to say after that breath-taking tour, is there? Maybe “better late than never” would be the best thought to leave the citizens of Molalla? It’s not all about WHAT YOU CAN SELL – it’s ALL ABOUT SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES, ETHICAL GOVERNMENT, ACCOUNTABILITY, TRANSPARENCY, AND DIVERSE CITIZEN INPUT. When those pieces are in place you actually start to provide a city that RESPECTS THE NEED TO PROVIDE QUALITY OF LIFE IN THE HERE AND NOW.

Get the picture? Molalla’ shitty, legally indefensible 50 year “plans” to make a couple of pushy landowners rich has RIPPED YOU OFF. Other cities are leaving Molalla in the dust as they accept and implement smart growth and sustainable practices. It’s long overdue to run the perpetrators of this public fund fraud out-of-town! Or don’t you care about YOUR tanking real estate investment?

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