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Beaverton voters should support city’s Round plan

October 24, 2011

OPINION:  Beaverton’s officials have developed a covert vision for what they want The Round to become — one that requires millions more in pursuit of the illusive enhanced livability and vibrant downtown previous millions & MAX failed to provide.

Now, what’s needed is a new catalyst to reignite downtown investment and begin to fulfill the city planner’s aspirations. Beaverton voters can help provide that spark simply by approving a well-connived plan for the Round that appears on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Measure 34-192, if approved, would create the Central Beaverton Urban Renewal District. The boundaries would be drawn around 1000 acres of downtown Beaverton allowing greater borrowing capacity and spending.

Once this district is formed, taxes taken from all of the properties within the 1000 acres will be used to finish and expand The Round which has repeatedly failed to attract the promised high-value private development. In this way, millions more in public dollars can be directed to The Round money pit without city leaders facing any consequences for any past and future spending.

Other cities have used urban renewal to allow huge debt spending while obscuring the siphoning of property taxes from public services.
We have no doubt that Beaverton residents will be misled to falsely believe this plan is free. Citizens have been told just that as part of the 2007 Beaverton Community Vision project that engaged more than 5,000 people in the task of public deceit and city leaders have responded with this particular urban renewal plan with a ballot title stating it will be free.

Supporters of the plan, however, did not stop there when it came to concocting a consensus. They also met with the Beaverton School District, Washington County, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue and Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District. Each of those agencies has endorsed the plan, fully recognizing that urban renewal will not be free and that the newly formed renewal district will divert more money from their coffers than it will ever create. Urban renewal, if presented honestly, will always bring controversy. But this is a plan that’s been carefully packaged to not reveal the source of funding, it’s impacts from throwing good money after Round or how it will benefit those who have a financial interest.

For those reasons, we believe this ought to be an easy victory for Beaverton officials. Voters will approve Measure 34-192, thinking it will cost them virtually nothing, and then they should look forward to seeing The Round devour much of what they approved with a perpetual fiscal crisis demanding more funding for city wide services.

Almost funny, at the same time voters are asked to approve school levy.
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Beaverton Friend

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