House flips Metolius vote

The House changes its mind and protects the Metolius River.

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After failing the Metolius River bill last week, the House has changed its decision to approve making the area an Area of Critical Statewide Concern. Legislators say the reversal came after urging from constituents and the governor.

In a stunning reversal from last week, the Oregon House passed a bill Monday extending unprecedented state protection to the Metolius River basin.

The 31-28 vote sends House Bill 3298 to Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who has fought to get it passed. It will make the Metolius an Area of Critical Statewide Concern, a never-before-used designation that strictly limits development.

In a brief and a fairly unemotional 10-minute debate, Rep. Larry Galizio, D-Tigard, said he had changed his mind and supported the bill. Galizio said he switched following a “convincing” phone call from the governor and “an outpouring” of letters and contacts from the public.

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