As a longtime Wilsonville resident, I’ve gotten to watch the traffic through town get gradually worse over the years. What began as your typical rush hour years ago now extends for several hours and often sitting bumper to bumper on I-5 on Saturdays and Sundays.
These kinds of traffic issues are especially concerning to me in my role as a member of the Wilsonville City Council. The city’s livability has made it a desirable place to live, which has caused all kinds of growing pains. Housing costs have risen as available units have become more scarce. Because Wilsonville has attracted a lot of business and industry, some of that traffic includes people commuting to our city from elsewhere for work.
That’s one of the many reasons I’m opposed to the plans currently being proposed for the tolling of the two interstate bridges between Oregon and Washington.
Of immediate concern is the direct impact that tolls will have on working people. Nobody should ever have to feel like they’re being punished for trying to do the right thing and provide for their families.
This will also have an adverse impact on the local governments in Clackamas County, including the City of Wilsonville.
Once tolling has been established, drivers will seek out other alternative routes. That will result in many cars being diverted through Wilsonville and other cities situated along highways. Our city streets were never intended for that level of use, and it will not be without consequences.
Local elected government officials in Oregon City recent expressed their opposition to this plan. They share many of my same concerns.
Local governments like the cities of Wilsonville and Oregon City need to be treated as partners in these public processes by elected and appointed officials at the county, state and federal levels. Our local operations can be drastically affected by decisions being made at higher levels of government, and we are among the biggest stakeholders in these discussions.
As your next Clackamas County Commissioner, I intend to honor those relationships with elected and appointed officials at the city level. Because of my service as a city councilor, I understand the importance of those relationships.
The perspectives of cities, their staffs and their councilors should never be treated as an afterthought by any elected or appointed official who is making decisions that can impact them. If anything, their perspectives can be valuable.
I’ve worked effectively with officials at those levels of government during my time on the Wilsonville council. That includes working with legislators at the state level to try and find solutions to the massive congestion on the Boone Bridge. That is a major transportation issue, not just for the City of Wilsonville, but for the entire Portland metropolitan area.
If our local officials feel steamrolled or that their input is being ignored, it means that processes have failed. It’s also incumbent upon those same local officials to speak out when they see a problem, as I’ve done and as the leaders of Oregon City recently did.
I feel strongly that local governments matter, and will strive to include them in county level discussions on the issues that they care about the most.