Metro Council District 6 candidate Bob Stacey’s answers below are in response to questions sent to candidates running for office in the City of Portland or Metro 2012 elections. To see the original request click here. All responses from Bob Stacey are shown in there entirety:
1.Please explain your familiarity with the Willamette River Greenway Trail between the Eastbank Esplanade and the Columbia River?
On at least three occasions over the last two years I’ve met with members of the npGreenway board, including a walking tour of portions of the existing and proposed trail alignment at Swan Island, and a bike tour of the general alignment between Swan Island and Cathedral Park in the summer of 2010. These conversations and first-hand experiences have given me a strong appreciation of the recreational, commuting, and natural area access benefits the trail will provide, and I want to do what I can to get it built.
2. What experience do you possess in working with a railroad company to procure use of or purchase of some property to place a multi-purpose trail on?
I have followed efforts in this region to reach agreements with railroads to acquire portions of rail rights of way. What experience I have in this area indicates that railroads are not inclined to share the use of active rights of way, ordinarily will not part with portions of those rights of way, and often are reluctant to engage in a discussion of the subject. In some cases a railroad has sold or traded a rail corridor after determining it no longer has value to the railroad (e.g., Southern Pacific’s transfer of the Jefferson Street line between Portland and Lake Oswego to public ownership, in which I had a small role). It’s also possible to persuade railroads to accept joint use of a ROW where the public provides substantial improvements that benefit the railroad (e.g., TriMet’s WES service along a privately owned rail line). Any agreement for trail construction on right-of-way will have to be based on negotiations (the State of Oregon and its local governments have no power to condemn railroad property) and will have to benefit the railroad as well as the public.
3.‘Taking’ is a concern for both the government entity and the private property owner when requiring the owner to construct a portion of a trail when development is proposed. Would you be willing to work to develop standards that would enable the trail to be constructed in exchange for requiring fewer parking spaces?
Yes, absolutely. I’m skeptical of the value of regulations that establish minimum parking requirements for businesses in general, and would be happy to relax them in cases where public and private benefits result.
4. What funding proposals would you propose to construct the trail?
Metro has two funding pools that can help: federal flexible transportation funds and proceeds from Metro’s parks and natural areas bond measure. Both sources are already in very high demand that exceeds their capacity. Our region should be looking toward a future third parks, trails and natural areas bond measure that would include the npGreenway and other regional trails; there is a lot of work that must precede such a measure, including figuring out how to fund needed development and maintenance of already-acquired parks and open space. The region should also be exploring how we might raise our own resources for funding active transportation facilities beyond the limited number of federal flexible funds we receive. A group of private-sector community leaders calling itself the Community Investment Initiative is studying the region’s infrastructure needs and possible ways of funding some or all of those needs, with research and other support from Metro. Their deliberations have been private, and may or may not include trails and parks funding. They are expected to issue recommendations in mid-2012, which may serve as a starting point for widespread discussion of new infrastructure funding strategies.
5.If a bond measure were to be submitted to the public for trails would you support the Willamette River Greenway Trail being one of the trails to be constructed? If so, would you support construction of the entire trail at one time or a portion or portions of the trail?
Yes. As I said in the answer above, I think we should include projects to expand the regional trail network, including npGreenway, in a future parks and trails bond measure. The best package for voter consideration would probably be complete trails serving many parts of our metropolitan area.
6.How can npGreenway assist you in getting the trail constructed?
There will need to be broad-based public discussion of our region’s open space and active transportation needs, and widespread agreement on those needs, before a funding measure to meet those needs can proceed. NpGreenway should be active in community discussions, engaged in the Intertwine alliance, and should review and respond to the Community Investment Initiative’s proposals and recommendations when they are released later this year. If I’m elected, I’ll look forward to working with you to get this and other needed trails developed.
Contact information for Bob Stacey:
3140 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Suite 200
Portland, OR 97214