To: Clackamas CPO
From: Pat Russell, Secretary
RE: Winter happenings/issues 2015-16
TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION at the Clackamas CPO meeting, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016
Date: Jan. 21, 2016
The Clackamas CPO covers a quite large and diverse area from Oatfield Ridge to the Carver Junction. Zoning within this diverse geographical area ranges from Open Space, Residential, Commercial to Industrial and contains the lion’s share of the Phase Two Sunrise Corridor either side of I-205 and is heavily influenced by the Clackamas Regional Center planning and development (the CPO’s northerly boundary being Harmony Road). The area west of I-205 contains almost exclusively R-10 single family zoning on ¼ acre lots, historically.
Here’s a brief overview of activities, issues facing our citizen planners, property owners and businesses (and the natural environment).
CLACKAMAS COUNTY AGENCIES
For most public agencies around the state, its budget time for the coming FY 2016-17 fiscal year. Planning starts this winter for presentations in the spring for adoption by June 30, 2016.
The majority of the Board of Commissioners are up for election this May, especially the Chair.
WES, Clackamas County Service District #1
--CCSD#1, Ron Geist, Director of WES/CCSD#1 (our sewer and surface water management special county district) will be talking with our CPO at its meeting in January about the capital needs at the Tri-cities Wastewater Treatment Plant. The issue is that after expanding the plant to serve a lion’s share of CCSD#1 needs (including annexations of the district into Boring/Damascus?), the solid waste stream is reach capacity. How will this be addressed by both special sewer districts involving every urban city in the north county? Who are the directors, making decisions for both districts? Why, yes, the Board of County Commissioners predicting significant urban growth demands over the next 20 years (Metro’s Region 2040 predicts 360,000 new residents in Clackamas County by this time). No one is saying in the county and cities WHERE this assumed growth will take place. Well, we know the 600 dwellings being proposed on/near Scouter’s Mountain in the City of Happy Valley will add a few residents, but frankly, if the new residents are mostly families—say 4 persons per household (which is quite high)—that only amounts to 2,400 new residents, say over the next 10 years. (see North Clackamas School District planning below)
--Flooding December 6/7, 2015 was beyond many situations in the past few residents in our CPO experienced. Word is that it seemed more like a 25 year storm (barely), while other wonder if that downpour within the few early morning hours exceeded a 100 year storm. I have a collection of photos I have put into a memo that I can share showing flooding in the Clackamas/Oak Grove area. An example of the magnitude of the event was experienced at the corner of Rusk Road and Lake Road on Mt. Scott Creek. The creek flows overtopped the Three Creeks flood control revetment for the first time, it being constructed by the County’s Development Agency to protect industrial properties along the r/r. It was built in the early 90’s. The Rusk Bridge over the creek was underwater as well as adjacent properties, some residences ordered to vacate for safety reasons. This devastation has been the result of unchecked increases in urban impervious surface without compensating upstream detention/retention (“upland” watersheds, such as Phillips Creek, Mt. Scott Creek toward Happy Valley, Sunnyside Road area, industrial lands in Clackamas, including freeways and arterials). WES’s surface water management program did not get underway until the early 2000’s AFTER major developments along the 82nd Avenue corridor, industrial development, regional center development and construction of I-205 and new arterials (such as Sunnybrook-Sunnyside couplet).
--WES staff has noted to various groups, such as the North Clackamas Urban Watersheds Council that their riparian restoration projects involving placement of Large Woody Debris (LWD) in the creeks survived the heavy erosive rain events so far. Some of the LWD was anchored by cable/boulders (such as along Mt. Scott Creek in North Clackamas Park), while other projects the trees (LWD) were buried without cabling (Happy Valley Park, Upper Mt. Scott Creek). In some areas, like the mouth of Kellogg Creek in downtown Milwaukie, creek banks were severely eroded affecting bridge structures. The new Milwaukie Waterfront Park access (from the south via the access from the sewer plant property) has been closed due the eroded bridge supports next to Hwy99E (McLoughlin Blvd.). “Temporary” repairs were estimated to be as high as a half million dollars. When asked whether repairs could be deferred until reconstruction of the state highway bridge over the mouth/estuary ($16 million project/ODOT estimates), the word is that ODOT has not funding plans in the distant future. The old logging landing/revetment into the river remains intact. The new boat ramp accumulated an extreme amount of large woody debris and an timber debris eddy has formed upstream near Elk Rock.
--Carli Creek Restoration and detention efforts continue, despite Clackamas River carving off some of the land in the December storms WES hoped to use for restoration. WES is coming up with a detention plan addressing existing/future runoff coming from SE 120th Avenue area from Jennifer area and Capps Road area. Much of this industrial area never was required to develop with detention systems. Some now are talking about RETAINING their runoff on-site in big cisterns and swales, letting it percolate back into the ground table. Unfortunately, a number of soil tests in the area show a high water table. The industrial area between the Cow Creek drainage to the west (Evelyn Street area) and the areas being addressed is still under separate consideration (such as around the Robert Lane area/Portland Road and Driveway).
--Capps Road County-owned property at SE 120th Avenue recently got some uplift in its marketing effort by the construction of a partial cul-de-sac. It did not, however, address the required sidewalks along Wilde Road which fall along a 30 foot deep gravel extraction pit sidewall at the property line of the county-owned pit (which is the highest rated, county-owned, industrial site, shovel-ready designated and actively being marketed for sale). Its been two years since the county’s Development Agency visited the CPO group to discuss potential development ideas for the old gravel pit.
--S & Logging (dba Clackamas Compost Products) who has been occupying the westerly portion of the county-own land along Capps Road and subjected to being required to file a permit with Oregon DEQ due to community complaints/concerns had chosen not to pursue DEQ approvals filed Summer 2014. Over the last 1-1/2 years, DEQ promised community hearings once the application was deemed complete and ready for evaluation. At the same time the county had advised the community that they would allow the tenant a month to month lease arrangement (considering the land to the east was prime industrial land the county has been trying to market as a first class property). Apparently, the tenant “chose” to move out as its future with the owner was uncertain. But moving out/vacating the property, bulldozers broke open the runoff control detention area near the (Clackamas River) bank and allowed runoff and erosion of materials (deposits of recycleables) to enter the river. Complaints have been filed with DEQ and under investigation. Not the sort of site vacation anyone supports, sad and upsetting.
--North Bank of the Clackamas River planning—coupled with the WES planning and other government agencies who own land along the river (including Clackamas River Water, Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, etc., Clackamas County and its roads)—in an attempt to integrate planning along the river to benefit property values, open space, habitat, recreation, providing clear public expectations of land use in the future, the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District had proposed for FY 2015-16 capital budget some money to help coordinate studies of future land use policies along the river. This request was turned down by the Board of Directors (County Commissioners). Haphazard planning by agencies with their own agendas continues—hopefully administrators are talking to each other and the public.
--Watershed Councils, WES continues to work with and partially fund a number of watershed councils, including Johnson Creek WC and the North Clackamas Urban Watersheds Council (which covers the Kellogg-Mt. Scott-Phillips-Dean Creeks basin, areas of Oak Grove/Jennings Lodge and areas of Gladstone that drain directly to the Willamette River, such as Rinearson Creek; some of the council’s geography includes Happy Valley Bowl and lands east of I-205 such as portions of Camp Withycombe, Lawnfield, Mt. Talbert, r/r north of SR 224-212 Highway). The NCUWC works directly with property owners along our riparian corridors to restore vegetation to a more natural/native condition to improve water quality and fish/wildlife habitat. The ever-expanding Parmenter Court Pond continues to serve a limited beaver population and the recent storms have NOT adversely impacted the ponded areas—two levels above the Parmenter Court crossing of Upper Kellogg Creek. Ponding continues on either side of the Thiessen Crossing. High water was evident at the Clackamas Road Crossing (west of Webster Road), but no beaver activity. North Clackamas Park was entirely flooded outside the tournament playfields and the Senior Center building and parking lot. Restoration work, however, has survived, much of it native floodplain vegetation plantings.
County Department of Transportation and Development (DTD)
--the marijuana zoning regulations have taken land use “center stage” over the last few months, deterring community planning requests (such as protection of established neighborhoods, like the R-10 area of Clackamas). Over the next few months, the Planning Dept. is preparing its “work program” for FY 2016-17, which will include more of the Zoning Ordinance Audit efforts. To that end, the Jennings Lodge CPO submitted a 10-page summary of changes they would like considered during the Audit effort. Some of this advocacy resulted from a national home builder trying to UPZONE the lands of the former Evangelical Property near the northwest corner of Jennings Road and River Road. Last November the county Hearings Officer DENIED the developer’s rezone proposal as not in keeping with the low density character of the neighborhood. The developer has appealed to LUBA. Our development-friendly county is in a rather unique position of having to defend the Hearing Officer’s findings and decision. In the meantime, the developer has filed a subdivision application under the present R-10 density allowance—a plan that will require removal of most of the old mature trees (over 100 years old) on the 11 acre campus, again opposed by the neighborhood. The hearings officer will have the same crowd with which to address.
--The Clackamas Community College received a county Christmas present having their Phase Two, three story education building plans, approved for construction on the Harmony Campus (Harmony Road, west of SE 82nd Avenue with the Clackamas CPO). A Three Creeks, Unified Harmony Campus Vision was generated by the various governmental partners that own land in the study area which includes the 89 acre natural area between SE 82nd Avenue and Linwood Avenue/RailRoad Avenue intersection. A community forum was held on Saturday, January 16th at the college Harmony campus, receiving both planning accolades and advocacy for more integrated planning, involving the community. An Open House is planned on the Harmony Campus, Wednesday, March 16, 4-7pm. This writer has concerns with the lack of capital improvement planning on the campus regarding a number of subjects. His memo to files can be shared upon request.
--A new 75 foot high cell tower is planned on private property immediately west of Lowe’s on the property where cargo carriers are stacked 5 high (along with a rather large billboard). The tower should provide improved area coverage and located away from public view in an industrial property.
Hearing Date: January 21, 2016, 10:30am or after, County Development Services Building, Red Soils County Campus, Oregon City. Case file: Z)436-15-AAC, Verizon Wireless. Site address: 13580 SE Pheasant Lane, Milwaukie, OR (unincorporated, Clackamas CPO area).
--Precision Axle, 15440 NE Piazza Ave (just east of 102nd Ave/Evelyn, north of SR 224/212) was granted approval of their repair shop addition.
--Penske Trucking received approval to expand their building (1,940sf) on 6.6 industrial acres at the southwest corner of SE 130th Avenue, and Ford, a couple hundred feet south of SR 224/212.
--County Traffic Planning continues around the Regional Center to look at alternative transportation options to counter congestion areas (such as the SE Sunnyside Road/SE 82nd Avenue/Harmony Road intersection). Two different advisory groups are established, one by the Development Agency (attended by our President, Cyndi Lewis-Wolfram), and a follow-up study group from the county’s adoption of its 2014 Transportation System Plan (TSP) that implements the County’s Comprehensive Plan Transportation Element. This TSP follow-up effort is being funded by a Metro grant. Cyndi and this author are attempting to represent our CPO; however, notices by the staff to us have crossed paths.
--The Sunrise Corridor, Phase One is getting pretty close to completion this year which will open up a two lane arterial from I-205 to SE 122nd Avenue at SR 224-212, an easterly continuation in form of the Milwaukie Expressway system, but only two lanes (not the four lanes of the expressway).
--Tolbert r/r overcross from Camp Withycombe to SE 82nd Avenue is progressing under watchful eyes of area industrial businesses to provide a secondary access replacement for the lost Lawnfield Road near the r/r tracks. Phase Two of the Sunrise Corridor also removes the direct Lawnfield access to I-205. Industrial establishments east of I-205 will have to either use the Hwy 224-212/Roots Road interchange or drive northward along SE 82nd Avenue to Sunnybrook Road and then back east to the freeway. However, those able to get on the new two lane road from SE 122nd and the SR 224-212 intersection will be able to access I-205 Northbound, Directly at the old Lawnfield ramp. People on the expressway will still be able to turn south to get on the southbound access to I-205. Its doubtful that trucks would go up the hill from Lawnfield to 97th Avenue and then over to Sunnybrook intersection to get on the freeway either northbound or southbound. However, one never knows! Needless to say, the congested intersection at SE 82nd Drive and SR 224/212 Highway will only get worse for local traffic having to mix with freeway traffic. There was a solution, but ODOT refused to seriously consider it. That was extending either Clackamas Road or Roots Road OVER I-205, and the freeway ramping could have flown over 82nd Drive (partially depressed) and landed at the R/R with “mini” ramping to return westerly to 82nd Avenue, giving freeway users a traffic signal-free passage between I-205 and Evelyn. OH well!
--A $25 Vehicle Registration Fee PER YEAR is being considered by the Board of County Commissioners which affects all vehicles registered through state DMV. The Board is considering imposing the fee without a vote of its citizens, as allowed by new legislation a few years ago (to fund the Sellwood Bridge reconstruction, in which the county did not participate). Its estimated by DTD that it would generate $36 MILLION YEARLY to be shared with the cities. This means your vehicle RE-registration visit to DMV over two years would cost an additional $50 PER VEHICLE. The Commissioners are discussing a SEVEN YEAR program. After that? Likely some sort of “sunset” of the Board Order/Resolution after the seventh year.
--Trees still falling by the chainsaw in neighborhoods, some removals legitimate, some without proper approvals. The most frequently noted reason for their removal is diseases or death, or making way for a new structure or impervious surface. County code currently permits removal of two trees per year, provided they are not within a Title 3 (Clean Water) or Habitat Conservation Area designated area which requires review. In our CPO, this writer has not heard of any significant removals since the clearcut of the SE corner 2.5 acre parcel of the intersection of Roots Road and Webster Road about 7 years ago. That property has been rumored to be of interest to developers for either neighborhood commercial or upzoning from the present R-10 which may allow up to about 3 to 4 dwelling units per acre. About 30% of the parcel is within the floodplain and Kellogg Creek defines its southerly boundary.
Clackamas County Lighting District #5, McLoughlin Blvd Lighting District Formed
Most neighborhood lights within the lighting district have been replaced by PGE with LED lights and some new fixtures as part of a county sale of the districts assets to PGE two years ago. The district STILL controls the tax assessment (about $65 for the typical single family home per year on their tax bill), and determines how the revenue raised is used for capital improvements, along with a m/o pass thru to PGE. The LED lights reduced energy usage, but are being amortized over a period of time for the change out of the old fixtures. The sale produced a windfall to the lighting district, along with contribution from the Oregon Energy Trust. Combined, the windfall was around $800,000. The Board of Commissioners (acting as the District Board) has reserved the expenditure and carried it over into the FY 2015-16 fiscal year and are expected to reserve it for a lighting district project along the ENTIRE length of McLoughlin Blvd (unincorporated portions from roughly the MAX line overcross of McLoughlin in Milwuakie (River Road) to about just south of Echo Avenue (north Gladstone City limits, near Burgerville). Over the last few years the McLoughlin Area Plan Implementation Team (MAPIT) has advocated the formation of the lighting district which required 60% of the affected property owners/businesses along McLoughlin Blvd. to sign the petition. Clackamas CPO is one of the voting blocks on the MAPIT group. The McLoughlin Area Business Association (MABA) played a key role to contacting the businesses and property owners along the arterial and securing the required 60% signatures. The Board of Commissioners conducted the formation hearing just before Thanksgiving and heard no opposition and formally initiated the district, directing staff to complete the engineering and funding with PGE and ODOT. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2016 through 2017. Many folks in the Clackamas CPO shop and conduct business along this corridor and will benefit from its upgrade, along with safer travel.
--The tax rate for residential homes is not likely to change much this year for the property tax statement that comes out this Fall 2016.
--Gladstone City Council is moving forward with library reconstruction to be part of a city hall, police department reconstruction project at its present location. A portion of the Clackamas CPO lies within the Gladstone Library Service District (taxing district).
--Milwaukie—many in the city still think the state is going to come down hard on unincorporated urban areas around the state to be annexed into adjacent cities. For Clackamas, that might mean Milwaukie, Gladstone and Happy Valley. Many residents in Clackamas and unincorated Milwaukie and Happy Valley have not reacted positively to this idea. Forced annexation in view of the fact that the present unincorporated areas of North Clackamas are paying for a full range of urban services through special districts?
--Happy Valley City Council is determining whether a 600 unit residential subdivision will be permitted in the Scouters Mountain area; a new Fred Meyer (with other commercial/office tenants and apartments) is under construction at the NE quadrant of Sunnyside Road and SE 172nd Avenue. This store will likely draw away customers from other markets in the Clackamas CPO area; to what extent is not known yet (and whether it might affect the continuance or closure of a competitor store). The city and NCPRD are debating use of System Development Charges and Operation funds collected by the district and to the extent from which the city believes its residents should benefit. This has brought the County Board of Commissioners into the deliberations. This issue seems to mirror discussion of service levels and capital improvements among residents in the school district when dealing with school facilities (that includes joint use with the park district).
--Annexation activity of cities has seemed limited over this past year within our CPO area.
NORTH CLACKAMAS SCHOOL DISTRICT
Bond Measure proposal--last year the district commenced study of a possible capital construction bond measure for the November 2016 General Election, Superintendent, Matt Utterback establishing a Bond Advisory Committee (this writer was a member, representing the interests of the CPO from a basis of past school master planning activity and prior bond). The committee met last spring through the summer and fall, concluding in December. The Superintendent has taken in the committee’s discussions and the consultants’ work and is planning a School Board Study Session. Here is a brief synopsis from the district administration shared via email:
“…The School Board heard a recap of your [the Advisory Committee] December 15 discussion last week. Board members are grateful for your service. We know you gave them a lot to think about.
Based on the latest trends in the financial picture of the community, we now can consider a $386 million bond with an expectation that we will also receive about $4 million from the state's dedicated funds to support different aspects of school facility improvement.
This revised amount is the highest amount possible on a 25-year bond without adding new taxes to the rolls. At this renewed level, we would be able to complete all the unfunded maintenance.
The other possibilities presented to you on December 15 are still under consideration:
- $415 million (about 11 cents more) would add more funds to schools planned for extensive renovation and completes the funding for the transportation center.
- $451 million (about 25 cents more) would build the middle school, but not the funds included in the $415 million model….”
NORTH CLACKAMAS PARKS AND RECREATION DISTIRCT
--Since the public vote failed that would have created an independent Board of Directors of citizens residing within the district (the Board of Commissioners acting as the Board of Directors would have been dissolved), the park district continues to plan for capital needs and refinement of operations to stay within its tax base. It continues to work with other agencies to utilize joint use opportunities (such as with the school district on joint use of fields, gyms, etc.), including riparian restoration work in the district parks and natural areas.
The District planners have advised the District Advisory Board (DAB) and Board of Directors (Board of County Commissioners) that capital funding is very limited while bonds for previous improvements are still being paid down. The City of Happy Valley has presented the district with certain comments/issues they feel should be addressed. At the heart, the city feels that more capital funds should be directed to areas within the city. This argument is partly based upon the System Development Charges (SDC) collected for the park district are higher than other areas of the district, divided into three SDC collection areas.
Fairness to all within the district is a key consideration. As Happy Valley is growing (and new) and areas westerly of I-205 are established, the need to capture revenue to support growth is the sticking point (while dealing with the problem of providing facilities for underserved [park deficit] areas of the district outside of Happy Valley).
--The district has not yet completed a Master Plan which was started about two years ago. The Master Plan would set the course for planning, funding over the next decade or so based upon growth projections. This planning need will remain a priority this year as a new fiscal year nears (starts July 1st).
CLACKAMAS RIVER WATER DISTRICT
--The two year budget cycle is in its first fiscal year. There will not be any budget planning and hearings this spring (next cycle is Spring 2017).
--The district has joined the Sunrise Water District (Happy Valley area), having formed an Authority to address mutual capital needs and cost sharing of administrative functions (cost savings). No merger of the two districts has been pursued yet.
-The district, having mostly completed a waterline construction across the Clackamas River at the Carver Crossing, is now considering capital improvements to improve service in the south area, using water treated in its own plant on the north side of the river. A transmission line to connect the Carver Crossing is needed yet and then the extent of a southerly extension into the rural area of the county is still to be determined. However, the goal is to link the Carver Crossing line to district reservoirs in the south, currently using South Fork Water. The transmission extension from its main in Clackamas to the Carver Crossing would be within Sunrise Water District territory.
--to complete such major water improvements, the district is now pursuing a bond to raise funds. This would be a bond without the vote of the district customers. It relies on an escalating water rate plan adopted two years ago to pay more for long term capital improvements. The full plan (to the extent needed) is being completed to present to funders, as part of due diligence issues.
--on a side note, Oak Lodge Water District and Oak Lodge Sanitary District are still in talks to merge.
FIRE DISTRICT NO. 1
The fire district is now pursuing an offer from the County’s Development Agency (Board of County Commissioners) to receive a return of Clackamas Town Center redevelopment tax increment funds toward construction of a new district Administrative Center (offices) on the Harmony Campus, just west of PHASE TWO of the Clackamas Community College Harmony Campus Science Building project under construction this spring/summer (2016). The Campus is on the south side of Harmony Road, west of SE 82nd Avenue to just west of the Fuller Road intersection and above the Three Creeks Natural Area wetlands. This project will necessitate discussion of traffic circulation, use and design of the existing parking facilities, street improvements (and possibly decommissioning of the southerly frontage road along the bluff) and restoration of upland oak forest canopy connected to Three Creek bluff (Oak Forest). There was discussion at the Community College forum on January 16th Open House on the campus about a possible mid-block pedestrian crossing (somewhere easterly of Fuller Road). Such a crossing would necessitate a traffic signal. The most used ingress/egress to the campus is currently unsignalized (easterly of Fuller Road). Its very possible that this point of circulation might be considered for a signal. Stay tuned.
--Metro councilors are rejecting the county’s overtures to reclassify proposed Rural Reserve designations (approved earlier by Metro) to include potential for more industrial lands outside the current Urban Growth Boundary. The Stafford area remains a sticking point (as Metro is not going to change its designations for part of the are to be Urban Reserves over the objections of Tualatin, Lake Oswego and West Linn. The political hot potato is lands south of Wilsonville south of the Willamette River, east of I-5.
--Metro still predicts growth in the region that has projected Clackamas County urban area to grow by about 360,000 over the next 20 years (2035), in keeping with the Region 2040 goals. So far, no one has predicted where that growth will take place. The big issue with residents in established neighborhoods is urban infill and increasing densities (upzoning as development comes to town, like the Evangelical property in Jennings Lodge). Metro, though, has pointed out many times that their urban infill would not require upzoning in established “Inner Neighborhoods,” but along corridors and centers (such as along 82nd Avenue or McLoughlin Blvd. or within the Clackamas Regional Center or downtowns of existing communities (such as being discussed in downtown Milwaukie).
--FAST ACT, passed by Congress, signed by President Obama means a couple hundred MILLION dollars to the state’s transportation funding needs over the next two years. Most of the money likely spoken for in the hidden halls of ODOT and the state legislature pork barrel. Some money might go toward synchronizing the Milwaukie Expressway and environmental studies to widen I-205 in the Oregon City/West Linn area three lanes in each direction (including the bridge over the Willamette River). Some flexible funds will be allocated at the regional level. There may also be money for more final planning/engineering/environmental mitigation for the next phase of the Sunrise Corridor (widening the two lanes to four lanes and extending the corridor to Damascus/Boring).
--Nature in Neighborhood Grants are still being awarded by Metro, for open space acquisition, riparian restoration, habitat restoration. There are also grants from funds generated by the real estate excise tax (collected when properties are sold in the region). These funds are going toward the planning of transportation of corridors and economic development initiatives. There is a distinct possibility of a Metro grant to assist the planning of the Station Area (MAX stop) around at Park Avenue in Oak Grove, which is being advocated by the MAPIT group (Clackamas CPO is a part of MAPIT).
There is a short legislative session starting in a few weeks. Nothing of significance is being advocated, though politics will abound. Transportation needs vs. carbon sequestration, etc. PERS liabilities are nagging and a higher reserve will be set aside by all affected public agencies. Some power initiatives to reduce use of coal are emerging. Schools are in pretty good shape, financially, though not THAT well-off.
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