It’s no wonder that Molalla is groveling and begging for help – it is on the State of Oregon’s Distressed Cities list. Molalla’s terrible stats are: only 11.1% of adults with BA degree or higher (very low!), 13.2% Unemployment Rate (very high and most are underemployed commuters), $22,032 per capita income (low!) 11.7% poverty rate (that really is bad, and is even worse when the kids in poverty are listed in the schools – needless to say the schools are terrible, too!).
The results are in! Cave Woman Tootie Smith and Pollyanna Molalla Mayor Rogge (along with a pathetic turnout of seven more Molalla Hillbillies) “brainstormed” about why Molalla is a decayed mess.
The cast of not thousands whined about a variety of issues. Here’s the first page of notes from Tea Party Toots assistant’s notebook:
The first quote from Pollyanna Mayor Rogge is a no brainer: “Recovery is very slow”. DUH! It’s only “very slow” in places that didn’t provide great quality of life and decent infrastructure. When you, Rogge, failed for years to see that voting to spend into deficit on an urban growth adventure that was sure to lose was, to say the least, unwise, you sold your city down the river of no return. Look at the piles of foreclosures (more about that later), the broken infrastructure, the lack of quality of life. Most of all, understand that if Molalla does reach 10,000 you will be hit with new expensive compliance rules, like dealing with your storm water. When a Pollyanna Mayor can’t find ways to fix things in the here and now, it would be smart to stop worrying about hitting 10,000.
Next up we see the VP of the Molalla Chamber of Commerce – it’s hard to think there is enough commerce to warrant a chamber but maybe they do have some lap tops by now.
Mr. VP apparently was rejected for a county committee, so it seems Toot’s influence peddling as a county commissioner isn’t worth a hill of beans if she can’t help her homie get a leg up. The same old spin about wishing to move Molalla ahead is clear in VP’s comments, too bad none of it ever comes true.
Pollyanna Mayor Rogge adds exceedingly dumb comments about infill. El Heffe Manager Huff and Rogge just can’t seem to understand that “infill” doesn’t simply mean trashing up every lot with “something” and then getting permission to expand the urban growth boundary. I checked on that two years ago when El Heffe Huff claimed he could have gone out tomorrow and expanded the borders. When he was confronted with the FACT that a great deal of so-called developed land in the city limits is “low development to land value”(i.e. run down, blighted and/or broken down shacks and manufactured single wides on big lots), El Heffe said “We have to keep those places so the poor have somewhere to live”. No comment on that social non-justice comment except PUKE!
After the El Heffe comment I called DLCD and asked about Molalla’s chances to grow the borders. The direct comment was “Molalla will have to re-develop to a MUCH HIGHER URBAN DENSITY before the state would allow UGB expansion”. In other words, DLCD knows that the only way Molalla’s “low development to land value” sites will be re-developed (thus wiping out decay and blight) is to restrict growth so the lots with broken down shacks or decayed commercial buildings will become valuable enough to warrant tear down and re-development to MUCH HIGHER URBAN DENSITY. When cities are desirable places to live, that re-development happens. Not so in low quality of life Molalla but the MUCH HIGHER URBAN DENSITY applies to all cities in the state.
Again, maybe Pollyanna Mayor Rogge should remember all the money she blew taking the last land use adventure to the bitter end – and losing! We understand that she comes recently from a state in the deep south that sprawls away at will, but Oregon thankfully isn’t at all like the deep south. I remember once Rogge saying “Oregon sure has a lot of rules”. Yes, that’s true: because at least the majority of Oregonians abhor scummy development and urban sprawl.
Here’s a quote and some links Pollyanna Rogge and El Heffe Huff aren’t smart enough to heed (and the people of Molalla are clearly not able to grasp that sprawl will cost them big time as Molalla continues to fail to keep up with costly infrastructure needs):
“Oregon’s physical infrastructure is an investment in the future of its residents and communities. Unfortunately, many Oregon communities are making the wrong bets. They’re falling behind on maintenance, taking on debt, and raising taxes to pay for it all…Quality growth directs development into existing communities and creates walkable neighborhoods with mixed land uses and transportation options. At the same time, it saves communities millions. In these difficult fiscal times, quality growth is the best fiscal bet for Oregon’s future. “ http://www.friends.org/infrastructure
https://www.friends.org/sites/friends.org/files/docs/pdfs/1000Friends-Infrastructure-Report-2013-web.pdf (The Molalla “leaders” and all the trapped taxpayer/investors need to read this carefully!).
Here is what a REALISTIC city has to say about the cost of expansion (hint: it isn’t affordable and Hillsboro, the city in question is a LOT bigger and smarter than Molalla!): http://www.oregonlive.com/hillsboro/index.ssf/2015/03/consultant_south_hillsboro_dev.html
And here is Portland’s take on the cost of development related to the need to provide parks: http://www.wweek.com/portland/article-24307-pay_to_playground.html
I got a kick out of the next topic. The “It’s not the miles it is the time” came from, I expect, a local realtor. She clearly sees the long commute on suicide run local two lane highways as a turn off for buyers. With the longest commute times in the county on choked dangerous roads that won’t be improved, only the desperate who can’t qualify anywhere else end up in Molalla. It’s the “drive till you qualify” syndrome and we’ll discuss that more later.
Page two of the notes reveals the never ending whining about traffic improvements insolvent Molalla can’t afford because it can’t even come up with matching funds if money from grants was available (for a faith based, welfare hating, right wing city, the “leaders” sure go out of their way to beg for “welfare” handouts for the city!). The Toliver Road intersection fix is in a dusty file in city hall. Molalla crapped out on a grant that would have provided a stop light and sidewalks running south to the hideous Safeway mall because Molalla could not afford the matching funds (there are wetlands that add complexity and cost to the project – Molalla still fails to understand that wetlands will often more than triple development costs). Molalla also failed to pay for the ODOT engineering fees for the tabled grant – the contract said if work was done and the city dropped out and didn’t do the project it was responsible for paying for any work done. So, as usual, the taxpayers of Oregon got stung because Molalla didn’t live up to its end of a contract.
The next point is about the only smart comment in the meeting: “Stop building because roads are full” Wow! How many times and how many ways do El Heffe Huff, Pollyanna Mayor Rogge and her Tea Party City Council have to hear that before it sinks in? It’s not just roads, it’s all the other infrastructure and parks and sidewalks that the city never catches up with and will never catch up with as long as it keeps stuffing in low quality houses and apartments (is that another toilet I hear flushing?).
Now we get to an even more serious,funny comment about “people can’t find work and bus service is bad”. Wow! Are these “leaders” just waking up to that? Less than 10% of Molalla’s adult population have college degrees – so even if there were jobs to get locally, they aren’t going to be top picks. Bus service bad? What part of the city’s history don’t those people get? The bus service is bad because the right wing fools of Molalla decided years ago not to be part of Tri-Met. It’s Molalla’s fault they are stuck with a crappy local transit district but as usual they were too mulish and cheap to see the benefits of being connected to Metro services.
Whine away, you dug your own hole Molalla! Maybe the HS students can get all the out of work parents to car pool them up and down the suicide run Highway 213!
And, of course, no meeting of “we hate regulations” Tea Party “leaders” would be compete without the final boo hoo comment about all the supposed trips necessary to get county building permits. People who have their act together can get permits on one trip, but when you are one of the local Tea Party government haters with a simplistic view of how modern building process must go for safety, it is a wonder if you can even get a permit (I pity any permit staff that have to deal with the ignorant locals who think they should be able to build dangerous junk that won’t meet code). Apparently, if you are faith based and right wing in Molalla, you expect gawd will keep the buildings from falling down on your head, regulators be damned!
And now, in its final glory, is the best ignorant nugget of the meeting. “Bills and Taxes – going to have to walk away from house because they can’t afford it”. That’s crystal clear in the history of Molalla’s brief real estate boom that crashed into one of the foreclosure leaders in the state. It’s that nasty “drive till you qualify” issue where people who really can’t afford homes come to Molalla because the ill developed tracts of new houses (now in many cases dated houses) are cheaper than anywhere else. Those with flimsy credit, those with long drives to low paying jobs flock to Molalla (it’s the biggest poverty pocket in the county).
Real estate values tanked massively in Molalla after the real estate bust and to this day Molalla is still a local leader in monthly foreclosure rates. Other, better quality of life cities have rebounded but not Molalla.
Realtytrac tells the sad February 2015 foreclosure story. Molalla posted one foreclosure notice for every 494 houses (that’s REALLY TERRIBLE). Not only are foreclosures piling up, real estate values are slipping in Molalla per the Feb. 2015 report (remember – cheap gas briefly may have made people think a long commute would not break their budget, but the higher gas goes, the cheaper the houses get in places like Molalla that are far from family wage jobs). http://www.realtytrac.com/statsandtrends/foreclosuretrends/or/clackamas-county/molalla
In contrast, better quality, well run, solvent local cities in the county posted these foreclosures notice in Feb: Canby, one for every 1,393; Sandy, one for every 1,400; and Oregon City, one for every 2,232. The more foreclosures, the lower the property values, since foreclosures drag down values of all the homes around.
Molalla is in a perpetual downhill slide. Pollyanna Mayor Rogge and her faith based, Tea Party, head in the sand City Council are pushing the slide by failing to understand why market forces are working against exburb, failed timber resource based Molalla. It’s the 21st century and the Molalla Hillbillies still don’t get it. I guess their motto is “false hope springs eternal”.
Oh, Cavewoman Tootie Smith, why aren’t you heaping welfare “help” on poor Decayville Molalla? It must be that you can’t influence peddle for your homie cronies! The 2016 election can’t come soon enough – that’s when we get to dump Cavewoman Tootie and when the people of Molalla will have a chance to pick a new mayor and some city councilors. Will they be smart enough to find people who understand that connecting to progressive Oregon and 21st century values is the only hope? I doubt it.
Here’s an excellent “Community Values Audit” checklist – apply it to Molalla and see how it fares. It has the kinds of questions that would make any Molalla realtor clam up. It must be quite an adventure in white washing to sell real estate in the City of Molalla! http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/03/your-money/43-questions-to-ask-before-picking-a-new-town.html?ref=business&_r=0