Donít Californicate Oregon!
Anyone who lived in Oregon back in the days of Governor Tom McCall remembers the bumper sticker. Most people interpreted the message to mean ďdonít come here.Ē However, there was a more important message: ďdonít turn our state into what you left behind.Ē
People move north to Oregon to get away from the crowding, the wall-to-wall housing developments, and the runaway cost of living. They move to Oregon because they like the open spaces, the greenery, and the lifestyle that they lost in California.
Years ago, California was Godís country. The climate, the beauty, and the life style was the envy of the nation. Now, due to too rapid growth and the greed of contractors who have turned some of the best agricultural land in the world into shopping malls, business complexes, and housing developments, it has changed. Crime and gang problems are out of control. People are commuting four hours a day just to live in a home that they can afford.
Now, we face the same problems in Oregon. Agricultural land is giving way to construction. Cities are attempting to annex more and more land to within their borders to build new housing to increase their tax base.
Those people who fight against uncontrolled growth are criticized as being small minded, uneducated, and against progress. It has become a political battlefield with unrealistic promises, name calling, and threats.
North Plains is going through an annexation battle that has been going on for two years. Fortunately, the citizens of this community had the foresight to pass legislation that requires a vote of the people to annex land. We have now voted it down twice, but it is back again.
Again we are promised supermarkets, pharmacies, schools, more police and fire protection, parks, and anything else that would get them votesÖ and it is all free!
It all sounds good. However, letís look at the reality of the situation.
First of all, North Plains is already growing at a steady rate within its existing borders. There are a couple of hundred homes being built or planned to be built over the next year. Land was already annexed into the community this year.
The North Plains Elementary School is already close to capacity. As for the promise of a new schoolÖ it is true that the Hillsboro School District bought land east of town on West Union Road. However, they have bought land in other areas around the school district as well. There are no immediate plans to build a school in North Plains. There are other areas with higher priority. If they do decide to build, they will have to pass a tax measure to pay for it.
Increased population will no doubt require more police and fire protection. But what happened to the promise that it would be at no cost to current North Plains citizens? There are tax levees on this ballot for both fire and police. That means higher taxes for current citizens.
What about the promised supermarket and pharmacy? Letís be realistic. There are 2 Fred Meyers, 2 Albertsonís, 2 WinCos, 2 Thriftways, a Safeway, a Costco, a New Seasons, a Haggen, and they are planning to build a WalMart, a Trader Joe's and a Whole Foods all within eight miles of North Plains. Most of them sell pharmaceuticals. There are also Walgreens, Rite Aid, BiMart, and Target pharmacies within the same radius. Who in their right mind would build a supermarket or pharmacy here?
There are many other issues that need to be dealt with such as traffic, water, sewer, and who pays to maintain the new park, but I think that I have made my point. I am not against growth. I am against destroying what we have in this little town by growing too big too fast.