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City Officials Uphold Annexation

Council hopes Stryker Road issue put to rest

INDEPENDENCE -- Independence city officials are upholding their annexation of Stryker Road after having the matter remanded to them by the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals for lack of information that supported the original decision.

The city council adopted legal and technical findings that conveyed the need for connecting roads within the city's transporation system at its meeting last week.

Councilors also addressed accusations by Robert Patterson, an Independence resident who filed the LUBA claim, that absorbing the road sets the stage for annexing his land.

Patterson lives on the northern section of Stryker Road. If the road is annexed, his property becomes an unincorporated "island" that can be annexed under state statute without his consent.

Patterson said he believes if that happens, his land might be rezoned from its industrial designation. This could threaten his auto wrecker's license and a part-time car restoration business.

"We aren't debating the annexation of his property," Councilor Bob Archer said.

"We've heard the statement that we're trying to put him out of business...I know what my intent is here, and it's not putting him out of business."

The state agency remanded the case Oct. 7, after deciding the city had not properly adopted legal finding and reasoning to support the move under Oregon land planning standards and the city's own comprehensive plan.

A staff report said the city maintains the road inside and outside the Urban Growth Boundary and that the annexation grants full ownership to a route heavily used as a connection to Highway 51.

Administration of franchise fees would be clearer because easement for city and public utilities would now flow through the city and not the county, the report also said.

Stryker Road has "become an important street, I've been here 18 years and I've seen the way it's used now," Archer said. "I think what we're doing is perfectly reasonable, annexing what's essentially a city road."

Patterson reiterated his belief the city was trying to forcibly bring his property into the city limits. In 2003, the city began a process to annex his property and other islands in Independence.

"This started because of an attempt to annex my property," Patterson said.

"When it was exposed that my land wasn't an island, you moved forward with Stryker...with my property still the objective."

Patterson said the city discussed rezoning the land from its industrial designation to medium-density residential last year. He salvages scrap metal on his property, as part of a part-time car restoration venture.

Because the city already services the road, the annexation serves no real purpose, he said. LUBA still needs to review Independence's findings. Patterson said he might appeal to a higher court, pending the outcome.

"I don't care about them owning the road, but I do care about what it could do to me," he said.

"Although they're separate issues, they're both related," he also said.

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