Drinking Tea in Clackmas and Hot Stoves in WaCo.

Carla Axtman

My local girl political geek is in a full throated height of glory situation this afternoon. Not one but TWO articles on county-level political stuff from the non-Multnomah pieces of the Metro region have crossed my desk today.

Yes. I know. Geek.

In a newer twist to the alleged "urban and rural divide" among Oregonians, Dennis Theriault highlights the Tea Party's attempt to build a political wall around Clackamas County and then cop a squat in the middle. I'd be very interested to hear from Clackamas County progressives about this. Are the Teabaggers gaining a toe hold in Clackamas politics? Is the county going to become the new Colorado Springs, where basic services no longer exist? Or is this just a well-funded paper tiger that got lucky in a 2010 election year, but will lose ground in a blue Oregon during 2012?

From the long dead beaten horse files, Dana Tims at the Hillsboro Argus trots out the Washington County equivalent of asking for a sales tax: the Westside Bypass. For those not in the know, the Westside Bypass is an on-paper-only concept, multi-lane freeway cutting north across U.S. 26 over the Columbia River and into Washington, complete with a spanky new bridge. To build it would violate numerous Oregon land use laws and chew up massive amounts of prime farmland. And based on the comments from elected politicians from the county, a hot stove that they have no intention of touching.

Good stuff.

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    Gaining a foothold? Yes, sure. All you need to do is look to the Sellwood Bridge fiasco and urban renewal vote, and the ease with which they're getting the anti-lightrail initiative on the ballot. And any time you can get Tootie Smith into a runoff, it's a good hair day(!) for the teabaggers.

    But when the rubber meets the road I think they're still going to fall short. As we experienced in Portland, a nonpartisan primary yields a small, fairly conservative electorate. Now that the Commission races flesh out to reasonably-good-Dem vs far right GOP, with the national electoral dynamic at play (and don't be surprised if the marijuana initiatives drive turnout in a very--ahem--green county like Clackasmas), I think we'll be spared a world turned upside down in November. And while the "give us a say" initiative will likely pass, that's only round 1; the actual "let's reneg on our promise and kill light rail" round will be a much tougher fight.

    Sidelight: although Therault seems to enjoy noting all the corporate/teabag GOP activity based in Lake O, other than chatting with Mary Olson he doesn't get much into the teabag creep that has occurred on that Council as well. Greg Macpherson is my idea of a quintessentially dull-as-dishwater mainstream Dem...but his election to Mayor of LO is going to be crucial for stemming a Clackamas-like tide of tea in that City. A big problem there is the free time a lot of retired businesspeople and stay-at-home moms have; they can ratchet up the cranky pretty effectively, and there are lots of them. The sleepy majority in LO are your classic limousine liberals, but (and I'm trying to find docu to back up my recollection) they DID refuse to pass marriage discrimination in 2004, so there's some hope. :)

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        It doesn't matter what the "creeps" in LO really want, so long as Sandy's convinced that they're the only alternative to death panel-spewing crime trains smashing pavement from Boring to Mt. Hood.

        Mayor Williams was at least alluding to it as a cynical wedge issue. I don't think the article missed that point.

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      I was at PTA sponsored, UPSET inspired meeting with Sen Diane Rosenbaum and Rep Jules Koppel-Bailey the other night in SE Portland, about school funding, but ipso facto also tax policy and control of the lege. Do you think well-organized get out the message gotv support from safe districts could help the orgs you are talking about Pat? Do we need to focus on building those ties?

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    Hey, don't knock Colorado Springs, Carla. They've got a prayer shield to protect them.

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    Whoa, rural/urban divide? Just a bit of it in the comments on that article from the Mercury, and that from both the rural/Clackamas county residents and the urban/Portland residents. Maybe there isn't a rural/urban divide anywhere else, but it sure is apparent in those comments.

    As someone who lives in Clackamas county, and who was involved with the Mulino hamlet for a couple of years (and I really need to start going to those meetings again) and as someone who is friends with people involved with the Molalla hamlet, I would say that "Portland Creep" is something that at least the rural people have been concerned with for quite a while. "Portland Creep" is just a new term for it. I moved out here in the mid 90s and I was hearing people grumble about it way back then.

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    Clackamas displace Yamhill as the nuttiest county in NW Oregon. I doubt it.

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