Testimony in Support of Metro Ordinances
Given by Sarah Bidwell, Administrative Director
Alternatives to Growth Oregon
February 6, 2002
My name is Sarah Bidwell and I reside in Portland. I am here today as a staff member representing Alternatives to Growth Oregon.
On behalf of AGO, I support Ordinance 02-935 because I believe the public has a right to vote on Metro's fiscal policies relating to the costs of growth. I do not want my regional government to encourage growth and would appreciate an opportunity to vote on whether or not Metro should be growth neutral. I believe growth should pay its own way, rather than having taxpayers subsidize it. I care about our region and do not want my tax dollars going towards growth. In fact, Metro's own polling indicates that a majority - 73% - of residents want new growth to pay for all, or more, of its own way.
I support ordinance 02-936 because I believe we need a process by which we define "carrying capacity" for the region. I applaud the fact that Metro's Charter recognizes a carrying capacity but urge the Council and staff to begin the necessary discussions and research to determine what this carrying capacity is. There is a limit to how many people can comfortably live in our region and still enjoy clean air and water, acceptable commutes, and classrooms that are not overcrowded. In the latest Metro poll in May 2001, residents identified population growth as the key quality of life issue. People are clearly concerned about population growth, so let's talk about it.
On a personal note, in working on growth issues, I find myself constantly thinking about the future. I read articles and reports that indicate that things are only expected to get worse - more traffic, less open space, less forestland, less farmland. But as an optimist, I'd like to think that my future, and the future of our children would have less traffic, more open space, more forestland, and farmland. Michelangelo said, "The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." Let's set our sights high. Thank you.