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Think Out Loud

Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail

Pete Springer/OPB

You can’t travel far in Milwaukie or Oak Grove without seeing signs about spending on light rail. Next week there’s a special Clackamas County election that will say a lot about the future of public rail transportation there. Measure 3-401 was brought to the ballot by light rail opponents. The measure requires that officials need to get voter approval before they can spend money to finance, design, construct or operate any rail lines in the county. Most light rail supporters oppose the measure.

Meanwhile construction continues on the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail (PMLR) Orange Line. It is 7.3 miles long, stretching from Portland State University to Oak Grove, just south of Milwaukie. Two miles of the route are outside Portland city limits. The entire project costs $1.5 billion. About half of this comes from the Federal Government. $22.6 million comes from Clackamas County. The City of Milwaukie is spending $5 million.

And Clackamas County commissioners are facing bills for the project. Last week they abruptly cancelled a bond sale designed to cover the cost. It is reported that they will likely seek out a private bank loan or other financing options to pay the bill due to TriMet October 10. 

Do you live in Clackamas County, or along the proposed rail line? What do you think of it? How will you vote on Measure 3-401?

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OPB | Broadcast: Sept. 11, 2012