Opinion: Initiative petition is the only way to stop I-205 tolling
By Elvis Clark
Mar 6, 2023 (Canby Herald)
State Sen. Mark Meek’s bill to stop tolling is a false hope for those Oregonians opposed to the tolling of I-205 and I-5. Meek’s bill if passed by the legislature will most likely be vetoed by Gov. Tina Kotek. In which case, Kotek’s veto can only be overturned by a super majority vote in both houses of the Oregon Legislature (two-thirds vote threshold). This seems extremely unlikely.
Before becoming governor, Kotek in the year 2017 as speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives shepherded House Bill 2017 through its enactment. House Bill 2017 authorizes the Oregon Department of Transportation to toll both I-205 and I-5. After House Bill 2017, then-Speaker Kotek argued for House Bill 3065 in the year 2021. House Bill 3065 contained a bigger role for tolling as part of an effort to reduce car driving and help fund alternative transportation modes (House Bill 3065 did not become law but it is indicative of Kotek’s high level of support for road tolls).
Furthermore, Kotek has little to lose in vetoing Meek’s bill because she is newly elected and most of the electorate will forget her veto of Meek’s bill by the time of the next gubernatorial election. So, Meek’s bill is highly unlikely to become law.
Initiative Petition #4 (IP-4), now gathering voter signatures, is the only viable pathway to stopping ODOT’s tolling plans. IP-4 would subject tolls to voter approval, meaning voters could vote and prevent the tolling of Oregon’s public highways (including I-205 and I-5).
IP-4 is approved by the Oregon Supreme Court and Oregon Secretary of State for statewide circulation. Approximately, 156,000 valid signatures of registered Oregon voters by early July 2024 are required for IP-4 to qualify for the November 2024 general election. Informal polling suggests broad support among Oregon’s electorate, especially within Clackamas County, for IP-4.
Organizers of IP-4 are gaining momentum in collecting voter signatures, and so, with broad support, IP-4 has a good chance of making the November 2024 ballot and subsequently becoming law.
Readers who are experienced at initiative petition signature gathering may download the IP-4 petition sheet at votebeforetolls.org. Take care to double-side print the first two pages of the IP-4 download, with petition sheet on the front side and the Secretary of State-required instructions on the backside.
Alternatively, if readers are willing to put aside politics for a moment, the IP-4 petition sheet is also available for voter signature at the Clackamas County Republican Party office at 612 Molalla Ave., Oregon City. Office hours are generally 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday; and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturdays, but call ahead to confirm the office is indeed open at 503-303-7312.
Last month the Clackamas County Republican Party adopted IP-4 as a goal, and the party has built an army of people to collect signatures.