Stafford Triangle: 'You can never get it back once it's gone'
In “Taking the low road to Stafford” (Dec. 18), Andy Parker trivializes the Stafford Basin, claiming Metro’s process for selecting urban and rural reserves has fallen victim to political “bickering” between “east and west sides,” spawned in part by “well-heeled anti-growth forces in and around Stafford” with “friends, and political donations, in all the right places.”
As one who has long opposed urban density development in Stafford, I cannot let this distortion go unchallenged. Donations pour into political coffers from well-heeled developers and large landholders who have pushed for years to bring Stafford inside the urban growth boundary, not from anyone I call friend. And the “bickering” — a misnomer — goes much deeper than Parker has chosen to probe.
After building a case for urbanization drawn straight from the growth industry’s playbook, Parker asks readers to believe there is some mystery underlying Stafford’s narrow escapes from the tight-packed subdivisions and ubiquitous strip malls which characterize the surrounding region.
“It all reminds me,” he writes, “of a homemade sign I saw in a Damascus front yard back in 2004: ‘Can somebody explain Stafford?’ Five years later, we’re all still waiting for the answer.“
Here’s the answer.
Stafford is all that prevents West Linn, Lake Oswego and Tualatin from becoming another Beaverton. Tualatin already is squeezed on the north by Tigard, on the south by Wilsonville, and on the west by Sherwood, cities which openly embrace urban density development. Tigard and Beaverton are Siamese twins joined at the hip. Imagine a megalopolis with only token “natural” areas. Is that any way to live?
The cost of providing infrastructure is mind-boggling. Oregon legislators, bowing to the growth industry, saddled the public with the costs of supplying water, sewers, police and fire protection, schools, and other necessities. Those costs are prohibitive in much of the Stafford Basin. Why should taxpayers be expected to foot the bill for urbanization, for the profit of a few individuals, when it degrades their quality of life?
Existing roads can’t handle today’s traffic. Toss tens of thousands of people and their vehicles into the mix, and you have a formula for failure. Eight-lane arterials do nothing to relieve gridlock. They certainly do nothing to enhance livability.
For these and other down-to-earth, nuts-and-bolts reasons, the three cities bordering the Stafford Triangle favor rural reserve status. For me, the driving force is love.
I live in North Stafford, in Vineland. Daily at first light I walk the wooded, winding, two-lane, roller-coaster vine roads — Sweetbriar, Clematis, Wisteria, Grapevine, Woodbine — spotting deer and wild turkeys, watching the seasons change in slow motion, clearing my mind of clutter.
Natural beauty and tranquility may not count for much among those who would pave over paradise — but they rank high on my list of what makes life worth living.
The presence of so much of both warrants preserving the Stafford Basin for future generations to experience and enjoy.
You can’t get it back once it’s gone.
In My Opinion, published by The Oregonian, December 28, 2009
[The Growth Monster controls the process and the players, so it comes as no surprise that Clackamas County commissioners and Metro councilors, after countless dreary hours of listening to citizens plead with them to leave Stafford rural, designated it as the ideal spot for future urban density development. Politicians figure no one will remember when the next election rolls around, and they have all that campaign cash from developers and their toadies to convince the electorate of their sterling worth. We'll see.]
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