Last fall, the C-TRAN staff signed a horrible contract with TriMet that no Southwest Washington citizen, nor the C-TRAN board, saw prior to its signing.
That contract ceded eminent domain authority to unelected bureaucrats in Portland’s TriMet. No Southwest Washington citizen wants an unelected, unaccountable person or group in Portland, to have the ability to take their personal, private property.
Furthermore, that contract included a $5 million penalty clause. This meant that if C-TRAN failed to live up to the terms of the deal, Southwest Washington taxpayers would be on the hook for $5 million. How come the taxpayers weren’t told about this? That $5 million represents almost 60 percent of annual fare box revenues for C-TRAN. The staff just possibly gave away 60 percent of fare box revenues without letting the people or the Board of Directors know about it? That is totally irresponsible in my book.
Finally, the staff included language that said the contract was “absolute and irrevocable.” Who on earth would sign an “absolute and irrevocable” contract? When a person buys a car, there are “lemon laws” and “buyers remorse” laws giving people several days, and sometimes weeks to back out of the deal. When we buy a house and go to closing, we are given several days after the closing to change our minds, to re-read all the contractual paperwork and reconsider. But, apparently the C-TRAN staff thought an “absolute and irrevocable” contract was appropriate.
The citizens were not well-served by the C-TRAN staff. The details of this contract were hidden from public view until it was a “done deal.” Putting the taxpayers on the hook for a $5 million penalty; giving unelected bureaucrats in Oregon eminent domain authority over Southwest Washington private property; and trying to make the contract “absolute and irrevocable” is an outrage and totally irresponsible.
The C-TRAN board must revoke this horrible contract. It must be canceled at no cost to the taxpayers. Furthermore, they need to take action against the staff that thought this was acceptable. This must never be allowed to happen again, without the people knowing what’s in the deal first.
The C-TRAN board began discussions on this at their June meeting. They will be able to vote on this at their July meeting. Cancel the contract with TriMet.