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Clackamas County issues statement on lawsuit opposing Oregon City franchise fee

Assigning Editors: Clackamas County filed a lawsuit in Clackamas County Circuit Court on Wednesday in an effort to prevent a new Oregon City fee from negatively impacting ratepayers of the Tri-City Service District. The following statement can be attributed to Clackamas County Administrator Donald Krupp. The County will have no further immediate comment on the matter.

Last November the Oregon City Commission voted to impose a fee on public utilities operating within an Oregon City right of way. As a result, the Tri-City Service District, which manages the Tri-City Water Pollution Control Plant in Oregon City, is required to pay the city nearly $200,000 to conduct its operations on behalf of three member cities: Gladstone, West Linn, and Oregon City.

Clackamas County believes Oregon City’s fee is excessive and represents an unreasonable burden for customers in the Tri-City Service District. The county also believes Oregon City’s fee is legally questionable and is pursuing legal action against the city to eliminate or reduce the impact of the fee on district customers.

The Tri-City Service District budget committee has recommended the rate increase necessary to pay for the fee be passed on to Oregon City exclusively, as it does not relate to services provided to the district.

Oregon City had the option of charging a fee based on linear-feet within the city’s right of ways, resulting in about $15,000. The city is charging the district approximately $191,000 in franchise fees for 2014 and more in future years.

These types of fees are rare, as they increase the cost of basic services, such as water and sewer. These essential services support critical infrastructure in our region, protecting public health and the environment while promoting economic development. Some states have banned the imposition of similar fees for this reason.

For more information contact Ryan Johnson, Water Environment Services Community Relations Specialist at 503-742-4561 or rjohnson@clackamas.us.

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