City of Molalla: DEAD plannin’ and the world laughs!

PULL THE PLUG ON PATHETIC PLANNIN’ POTTER!

Another hilarious chapter in the Molalla plannin’ FIASCO came in the mail yesterday. I had occasion to contact our fantastic Attorney General Kroger’s Department of Justice regarding an outstanding public information request I had made to DLCD. Since DLCD had already come through with my request, my complaint was a moot point. However, a telling and ironic comment about how the world of PROFESSIONAL PLANNING views Molalla’s FAKE PLANNIN’ after 4+ years of ABJECT FAILURE came at the end of the Department of Justice letter (note: Ms. Tuttle is the public information officer at DLCD):

“… Ms. Tuttle further explains that, like you, DLCD is attempting to obtain information from the City of Molalla.”

Once the belly laughs end about how “DLCD is attempting to obtain information from the City of Molalla” after supposedly “working” with incompetent plannin’ Potter and his land speculation team since 2006, read below to learn about what a DEAD planning process is from the speech I made in October 2008 at the opening of the supposed “comp plan” hearings.

Do plannin’ Potter and the fake Molalla “leaders” actually think they can wear down the state goal process with year after year and ream after ream of DEAD GARBAGE? Dream on!

I still treasure the moment the Oct. 2008 hearin’ ended and a woman came running to me with money in her hand asking to buy a copy of my speech; she said “You are the ONLY one telling us the truth about what this is all about!”

It is now almost 2011 and FAILURE, as usual for Molalla, LOOMS LARGE because greed, ignorance, nepotism, and incompetence rule the crumbling clueless berg. None of those words would fit if a city honored Goal One, had a professional certified planner and worked WITH state and county to  produce viable plans.

In fact, thanks to many visits to LCDC’s citizen involvement committee carrying piles of  submissions of comments from diverse local citizens decrying Molalla’s DEAD process, there could be grounds, per a DLCD rep at the last LCDC meeting I attended, to contest any “plans” that get passed that citizens don’t like solely on the basis of Molalla’s abuse of Goal One. Fun!

Thanks, plannin’ Potter, for providing yet another avenue to upset the foolish mess you have made by conducting a DEAD process. My only fear is, that given the County letter I posted in “Molalla’s FRAUD PLANNIN”, there is little chance we can have the fun of contesting because of Goal One abuse. There is no comp plan – there is only a legally indefensible population projection, incorrect maps (how’s about showing the Kyllo wetlands, plannin’ Potter? Did you fix that map yet?) and garbled, outdated “reports” that Potter can’t ever legally defend as a “comp plan”.

With codes reformed to legally defensible density standards and with the bust in the economy and the bust in housing there won’t be any need for any urban reserves around Molalla. Molalla will be lucky if it can keep the properties in the city limits filled, given the looming $5 a gallon gas threat (expected as soon as 2012) and given the low quality city the no SDC policy has produced (that’s the lack of road repairs, no sidewalks, no bike routes, no new parks, no open/greenspaces, as well as the continued practice of shooting the waste water into the Molalla River – any “green” family would say “UGH!” and head elsewhere! And I sure hope “mayor” Clarke is praying for whatever passes as “pipes” under the old city – I bet that’s not pretty either!).

Home buyer: “Should I buy a house in crumbling, “pollution is traditional” (that great quote from former Mayor Foster!), financially strapped Molalla and have to commute an average of 30+ minutes EACH WAY A DAY  -or should my family locate in attractive, close in to METRO areas near jobs, with walkable neighborhoods and diverse services in well run cities with professional urban planning and SDCs that provide adequate parks, green spaces, good city roads, well-funded schools” –  i.e. places that respect citizen’s investment with GREAT QUALITY OF LIFE?

Gee, that’s a tough choice, isn’t it?

MOLALLA ISN’T GROWING!

I know it, 1000 Friends knows it, the County knows it, DLCD knows it, LCDC knows it and one would hope that the fools “running” Molalla would know it by now and pull the plug on plannin’ Potter’s pathetic efforts to trick the system:

MOLALLA ISN’T GROWING AND MOLALLA BLEW IT BY NOT PROVIDING FOR QUALITY OF LIFE BY FAILING TO CHARGE SDCs DURING THE BOOM TIMES.

That lack of funds to fuel needed city fixes and geographic location far from commerce centers kills the future here. All the DEAD plannin’ process in the world won’t change the facts! Molalla, with proper SDCs over the years, would have slowed growth and produced a quality SMALL, SUSTAINABLE CITY. It is too late now: now there are too many houses, too few jobs and no money for quality fixes. Enjoy your cars because the city will never be walkable or bikeable with the current lack of funding.

Here’s my October 2008 Speech from the “comp plan” hearin’ – the one plannin’ Potter didn’t want the people to hear followed by a letter to the editor this spring. The October speech was written when I still had a modicum of “civility” left: “civility” drains away pretty quickly when you have to deal with the “Clarke prayer squad” and the “speculatin’ good ole boy gang” who rule backwaterville Molalla.

Take special note about the “DEFEND” stage, the last stage in the DEAD process – it’s now TWO AND A HALF YEARS DOWN THE CORRUPT, DEAD PLANNIN’ PATH – and incompetent Potter is still trying to DEFEND INDEFENSIBLE GARBAGE – USING YOUR TAX DOLLARS!:

October 14, 2008

DEAD PLANNING

I am outraged and disappointed that we are all here tonight to hear about a plan that is going around in circles, like ground-hog day, with no resolution in sight.  Molalla refuses, year after year, to follow the land use goals of the State of Oregon. I have attempted to participate in this planning process since June of 2007 and have felt angry and abused from the start.

In June 2007 I read a real estate listing for EFU land south of Molalla.  The flyer bragged that this farmland, far from the current city limits, would soon be in the urban growth boundary.  I spoke with the realtor who glibly described the “new” urban growth boundary that she claimed would soon be in place.  I was outraged since I have lived and worked for 18 years on land that adjoins this boundary.

Soon after, I went to the first land use meeting presided over by the outside planning firm, Winterbrook.  It was one of the most disturbing and insulting meetings I have ever attended.  Limited planning handouts were available – “planner” Shane made sure they were given to every developer and lawyer in the room.  The two copies left were flipped at the 10 or so concerned citizens present and we were told to “share.”  It was obvious we were not welcome and that attitude has been the prevailing one at every planning meeting since.

I could spend a great deal of time detailing objections to the plans tonight, but I will submit those in writing to DLCD. These objections include the lack of good protection for important Oregon white oak habitat, lack of viable economic growth to balance residential housing, the inflated population figures, the low proposed density, the phony attempt to earmark 50 years of land, the fact that sloped lands are perfectly capable of hosting dense development, the need for strong historical protection for archaeological sites south of the city, and the cavalier attitude about potential water supply conflicts.

I have read the comments that DLCD has made in numerous letters and I feel confident that DLCD will guide us away from the insane land use Molalla is proposing. Tonight, I want to fully address the abuse of process that has occurred.

Land use planning in Oregon is built on a pyramid of 14 Goals. They are building blocks and until all are fulfilled there is no expectation of new lands being added to city boundaries.

Goal One is citizen involvement. Molalla’s comp plan states that citizens should be heavily educated and engaged from the start, and the greater the planning effort, the more care should be taken to ensure that all citizens fully understand the planning issues and the process. Molalla has not even scratched the surface of this primary Goal.

Molalla has followed another path described to me by a planner who advocates for citizens.  He labeled the backward process that Molalla and the vultures disguised as outside planners use with four letters: D-E-A-D.

In the DEAD process, instead of engaging a diverse group of local people, per Goal One, the city started with the letter D, to Decide where they wanted to add land. In this case, the decision was the “view” EFU lands south of Molalla, as described in detail by that land speculator realtor. That realtors’ insider description of the urban reserve border in June 2007 exactly matches the line on today’s map.

Next, the E in DEAD was imposed as Evaluate by hiring a fleet of expensive Portland outside planners to generate reams of convoluted reports in an attempt to push the public and DLCD into believing the need for what had already been decided.  In a fair process, everyone in the city and the study area would have been notified about the study areas from the start.

I was outraged when I had to massively enlarge Winterbrook’s highly reduced study area map to try to figure out where my property stood in the plans.  I am angry about deceptive soil class mapping done by highly paid professionals.  I am insulted for us all that this July 2007 meeting had “High End” directly stated as a planning goal.

Next, the A in the DEAD process came into play as Advocate. The city manager outlined in the Pioneer plans the city advocated for Kyllo Tree Farm, an EFU property far from the city borders.  This “High End” development, per the interview, was planned for 40-50 luxury homes, a tennis court, swimming pool, and hiking trails. Obviously, this luxuryville would be divorced from any connection to the reality of downtown Molalla, with it’s broken roads, empty storefronts, inadequate parks, and a city pool struggling to survive.

Molalla continues to advocate for outrageous land use by proposing an equestrian zone in the current plans. This ridiculous zone would allow a horse on a tiny urban lot 3 days out of 7, and would be abusive horse keeping.  The code mandates that no flies or manure smells can occur.  I won’t bother to point out the myriad of pitfalls of this big lot fiasco. Several of us objected to this proposal at a planning commission meeting in the winter and we were shouted down with the jeer “Don’t you want High End to come to Molalla?”

In April and tonight we were presented with the final D in the DEAD process, which stands for Defend.

In April, the adult center was packed with people to hear the city defend the land use plan they have bought for a high price and wish to impose on the clueless public. The room was filled with elaborate maps of what the city wishes the public to believe is a done deal.

Those of us who had the audacity to question the need for or the content of the plans were shot down at the April meeting by the hired gun experts. Winterbrook actually refused to answer my question about why we were starting with Goal 14 (urbanization) instead of Goal One!

Luckily, finally we have moved on to the truth-telling stage in this process, a stage that takes Molalla right back to the drawing board.

In Feb 2007, and July 2007 DLCD sent letters that outline in detail the facts that Molalla is under no legal need to do this plan or to expand, that the DLCD believes that little population growth will occur here in the future, that Molalla might wish to withdraw the quest for urban growth, and that the DLCD has a free, award-winning program for tiny cities like Molalla who voluntarily wish to upgrade their comp plans.

In March 2008, DLCD wrote a letter stating that, despite the $20,000 spent to generate an inflated population projection, Molalla’s only legal path is to use the much lower safe harbor figures.

I have been appalled that city leaders have little understanding of a process that has wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars generating a plan that is in direct contradiction to these letters sent by DLCD.  I sent a copy of the Feb 2007 letter to Winterbrook in hopes that, as highly paid professionals, they would advise the city to follow the sage advice of DLCD.  Evidently in these hard times people who call themselves professional planners are more interested in porking a small city for all it is worth than in producing defendable results.

I celebrate that some good has come out of this corruption.  A growing number of citizens in our community are waking up to realize that our quality of life is at stake.

The crossroads are here now – we can surrender our future to land speculators, corrupt city officials, a city manager and outside planners who have no interest in our future except for how big a paycheck they can collect on our backs – or we can demand that all of us participate from the start in realistic community based planning that reflects our true demographics and the needs of everyone.

I salute the city leaders who are starting to understand and question the planning process.  Deb Leighton, Steve Clark, Jim Needham, and Mary Jo Mackie have been willing to engage in lively dialogues. I urge everyone to call on all city leaders to read every letter from DLCD so they understand why this DEAD ground-hog day planning nightmare must end.

Modern planning in Oregon demands that compact growth be the primary outcome. Compact growth will protect us from the need for expensive infrastructure, will save resource lands, and will help protect the values of existing properties. The current proposal promotes sprawl based on insider trading and influence peddling for the benefit of a few local good old boys and would impose ugly, draconian codes that threaten our rural character.

Our properties are not worthless pawns to be manipulated by strangers who have no connection to our community – these lands represent our lives, our dreams, our livelihoods and our futures.  Our future is for us to decide. (end quote)

LETTER TO EDITOR PUBLISHED IN THE OREGONIAN APRIL 16, 2010

After “manager” Atkins told a nutty story in the Oregonian claiming that since the City Council had passed “plans” Molalla was on a roll I saw red and sent the following letter to the editor:

Molalla Story Biased

The biased “New comprehensive plan guides Molalla’s future” (April 3) failed to tell the truth about the status of Molalla’s urban reserve proposal. The brief mention at the end of the article about concerns simply glossed over years of outrage from local residents.

Molalla is attempting to tag 2,400 acres of prime farmland — for a dying, rundown timber town of barely 7,000 filled with foreclosures and shuttered businesses. Molalla can’t afford to fix a pothole, let alone expand infrastructure.

The reporter neglected to note that these costly sprawl dreams have yet to be approved by Clackamas County. In fact, in a letter dated March 24, (the state Department of Land Conservation and Development) returned the “reserve” proposal to inept Molalla, noting that the city had sent the package to the wrong agency!

Molalla has invested a fortune in public monies on endless legal baloney trying to justify an outlandish population forecast. The planning department is hundreds of thousands of dollars in deficit because the focus has been to satisfy local land speculators rather than on compact growth, which would enhance quality of life and protect the investments of current residents.

Molalla City Councilman Jim Needham has joined a vocal chorus of residents calling the city to task for failing to comply with (state land-use) Goal One. Dissenting citizens who questioned legally indefensible elements like absurd big-lot equestrian estates — where a “city” horse could reside for three days a week and would need to be moved “somewhere” else for the other four days — were rudely cut off and jeered at during public hearings.

Next time, refrain from spreading propaganda about Molalla’s “urban reserves” until the proposal is fully approved by all county and state agencies. In Molalla’s case, my grandmother had it right when she said, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” The city of Molalla is a notorious beggar with unrealistic and unethical sprawl “dreams” that are far from any legal reality! “

 


 

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