Tigard, OR – In a conversation on Saturday May 5th about Tigard’s initiative to require a vote on light rail expenditures, with Clackamas County activist Lauri Hein, Tigard City Councilwoman Gretchen Buehner said, “You will never get the signatures needed to put it on the ballot.” Buehner added, “If you do manage to get it on the ballot, I will make sure there is a companion measure to stop you.” Hein replied, “The Commissioners tried that in Clackamas County and we still beat them.”
Hein recognized the Cascade Policy Institute has concluded that lightrail is a colossal waste of money for a system that few people use. Noting that Buehner had been trying to get more bus service out to Tigard for 15 years, Hein observes, “If Tri-met doesn’t believe that adding buses would benefit Tigard why on earth would it make sense to sacrifice 99W for new lightrail lines?”
Art Crino, Chief Petitioner for the Tigard initiative, says, “The purpose of this effort is not to stop realistic transportation planning, but to let the people decide if light rail projects are appropriate when the costs and benefits are presented to a vote.” Crino added, “Councilwoman Buehner’s threat to mislead voters with a competing ballot measure is a ‘we know better’ attitude that demonstrates a complete lack of accountability to, and respect for, the people of the City of Tigard.
Background. Community activists in Southwest Washington County are engaged in a four-pronged effort to require a vote of the people before funds can be expended for any activities related to light rail. They are unhappy with the way TriMet and Metro are focusing on rail systems throughout the region when most voters would rather prioritize road improvements and maintenance. They intend to put any future use of city resources for light rail up to a public vote. The activists are tired of politicians treating citizens as obstacles who lack the judgment to make sound decisions about their own communities. Initiative petitions have been filed in four cities: Tigard, Tualatin, King City and Sherwood. In addition to Art Crino in Tigard, other chief petitioners are Aaron Crowley (Tualatin), Billie Reynolds (King City), and Doug Davina (Sherwood).
Light Rail vs. Bus