My statement when voting on the Resolution at 10 p.m. on 7/29/10:
The Resolution states, "nothing in this resolution constitutes a final decision concerning any land use planning action with respect to West Hayden Island."
The Mayor and I proposed amendments supported by the whole Council that help define the path forward and make explicit what we want to accomplish. The Resolution now requires that there be more analysis of costs and benefits, that there be more analysis of land supply and state and federal requirements, and that all development were it to occur will be in the 300 acres. It requires more evaluation of air quality impacts for Hayden Island residents. It requires more evaluation of effects on endangered species.
I believe West Hayden Island is a valuable ecological asset, and I am not yet convinced that the costs of developing the site as a marine terminal outweigh its environmental, recreational, and open space values.
Doing what's right is our City mantra for sustainable development. This often costs us more. We need to consider that it might cost us more to preserve the property for the long-term sustainable payback to the City, much like how we invest large amounts of money in other City infrastructure such as Light Rail, solar power, City Fleet, Oregon Sustainabilit Center, Street cars, and such. These have great benefit so are being subsidized by the public.
We know from parks and schools development that citizens believe the intrinsic community values for these assets far outweigh the economic value, which is why this Resolution now calls for a cost-benefit analysis to the public.
I understand the argument for jobs. I certainly want to see more good jobs in the City, no question. I am interested in having more information about the redevelopment potential associated with other river-dependent lands in the City, to see if there is equal or better potential there. We need to make good use of existing infrastructure and provide more support to existing industrial businesses. We must examine how and where public money would be best spent to promote job growth.
Preliminary reports and information from the Port of Portland seems to indicate that finding parcels big enough to accommodate the types of future freight needs make this site ideal, but I am not yet convinced that enough analysis of other possible sites for consolidation and reuse has been done. Efficiency and sustainability should and must be examined. I agree with testimony from the Westside Economic Alliance regarding the Urban Growth Boundary industrial lands inventory, but disagree with their conclusion. Portland must examine redevelopment of brownfields before moving to develop this greenfield.
This Resolution does not lock us into Annexation, and because of that fact and the amendments that have been made to define our directives concerning acreage thresholds and needed studies, I am happy to support the Resolution. I look forward to a robust discussion with the community and Council regarding the costs and benefits to the public of annexing the property as a mixed use site as proposed. I believe the Resolution now provides us with a way forward that will lead us to the right decision in the end.