Oppenlander is Headed to the May Ballot
First – thank you for your support and persistence. We’re not at the finish line by any stretch but we do feel like we’ve got our second wind.
With literally seconds to go before the WebEx meeting software was to reboot at 11 pm last night City Council authorized a $3.5M bond measure that included:
$ 120k Oppenlander Purchase
1,865k Oppenlander Improvements
1,315k Improvements for other parks
200k Bond measure fees (fixed fee)
$ 3,500k TOTAL
The vote was 4 to 1 with Councilor Jones voting no. Jones and Bialostosky proposed $3.31M plus improvements with Jones considering even that a compromise to his desired $6.5M plus improvements.
There were over 300 emails sent since Friday – so many that the Councilors could not find critical meeting documents in their inboxes … good job on this!
There were about a dozen community comments ranging from 11yr old Riley, a local Walla Walla tribe member who gave an impassioned plea and grounded everyone, former Council members, and residents. . Many were blunt … the School Board were bullying, manipulating, and not working transparently … and that City Council had not shown any backbone or boldness. These comments set the stage for the subsequent discussion.
The discussion tended to focus on the specifics of the contract, the processes it required, and the City’s compliance. They read the Purchase and Sales Agreement (PSA) Sections 1 and 1a (Purchase Price) word-by-word with questions and attorney opinions all along the way. They also meticulously visited the performance & penalties clauses, and the Chapter 11 park restriction clause. They discussed the School District’s expressed statements about being confident in everything that had happened so far, and their delays which seemed structured to cause the City to not have time to comply with the PSA.
Ultimately, the City felt $120k was exactly per the contract using the single agreed-upon appraiser and provided the firmest ground for any subsequent litigation and/or negotiation. It was the only truly defendable price. They opted to not waive any provisions of the contract and rejected the School District’s 2/9 offer of a $6.5 purchase price with the removal of the park restriction. Further, the $6.5M appraisal was not performed in December 2021 as the contract required so it could not be considered as a second appraisal.
The $3.5M total Bond amount was attributed to the Community’s appetite for this level. It’s not clear that the $1,315k has any specific use planned, yet.
The cost for the average West Linn homeowner will be 5 cents per $1k assessment or approximately $20/yr.
It was a long night … and our most unusual Valentines’ Day evening ever!