Community Planning Organizations Information

Clackamas County Community Planning Organizations (CPOs) are run by and made up of citizen volunteers - your neighbors and friends who care about livability and growth issues in their communities.

CPOs are advisory to the Planning Division, Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners on land use matters affecting their communities.

The county notifies CPOs of proposed land use actions and legislative changes within or near their boundaries. CPOs may review these applications and recommend approval or denial or provide input and ask questions.

What do CPOs have to do with land use?

The State of Oregon established statewide planning goals in the 1970s. Goal 1 is citizen involvement - Citizens should have the opportunity to be involved in the land use planning process. Clackamas County adopted a citizen participation policy in 1973, which established the Community Planning Organizations (CPOs). The CPO program is one of the ways Clackamas County satisfies the objectives of Goal 1. The original purpose of CPOs was to involve citizens in the land use planning process. While CPOs still meet to discuss land use planning, many have expanded their purpose to include other matters of importance to their communities.

Why is a CPO sent a copy of a land use application?

CPOs provide valuable insight on issues directly affecting the growth and livability of unincorporated areas throughout the county. Planning staff and planning commissioners consider CPO recommendations before making a decision on a land use application.

How long is the comment period for responding to applications?

Fifteen days is the minimum. Any comments taken after that 15 days are also considered if they are received before a decision is issued by staff. All CPOs are encouraged to contact the planner in charge of a particular land use application if more time is needed to respond to an application.

Can a land use applicant attend the CPO meeting?

Absolutely. In fact, we encourage all applicants to attend CPO meetings. Contact the chairperson of the CPO in your area to find out when your application will be discussed.

Why is it important for applicants to attend CPO meetings?

It is strongly encouraged that land use applicants to attend CPO meetings when their application is discussed. The CPO usually has questions that the application may not answer. Being present and explaining the application in greater detail helps the CPO make educated, informed decisions.

When will a CPO discuss a land use application?

CPOs discuss applications at publicized meetings or, due to time constraints, by appointed subcommittees. It is recommended that you call the contact person for the CPO to find out how applications are handled.

What if the applicant cannot attend the meeting? Will that affect the decision on the application?

The CPO will discuss an application at a meeting whether or not the applicant can attend. CPOs are advisory, so their recommendation is based on the information they receive.

What if a land use applicant doesn't agree with the CPO recommendation?

It is OK if the applicant does not agree with the CPO decision. He or she can always address the CPO's comments with the staff planner who is assigned to the project or present it publicly if the application requires a hearing.

Is a CPO notified if someone wants to remodel a house?

Not usually. CPOs are only notified if the remodel is part of a land use decision, such as developments in floodplains or near principal rivers. Generally, most remodeling projects only involve permits such as building, electrical, plumbing or septic permits, which are not considered land use decisions.

Do you reside within a CPO boundary?

CPOs in Clackamas County. (Some may not be active at this time.)

Who can join a CPO?

Everyone who lives, owns property or has a business in unincorporated Clackamas County can be a member of a CPO. Since land use planning within a city is the responsibility of the city, individuals who live inside city limits can be involved in their city's citizen involvement program.

How do I find my CPO?

Call the Community Affairs Specialist at 503-655- 8552. Additionally, land use notices sent by the planning division will identify the CPO for that area.

Open government

The Oregon Public Meetings Law (ORS 192) requires that meetings of advisory bodies be open to the public. A CPO is a public body which makes decisions and recommendations, and therefore is subject to the Public Meetings Law. The Public Meetings Law requires that written minutes be taken at all meetings, and forwarded to citizen involvement as part of the county CPO recognition requirements.

Committee for Citizen Involvement

The Committee for Citizen Involvement (CCI) is a volunteer citizen advisory board appointed by the Board of County Commissioners. The CCI does not involve itself with the merits of specifi c land use issues, but promotes and enhances citizen involvement in the land use process. Though separate from CPOs, CCI members are generally active within their own CPOs. CCI provides CPO support, training, mentoring and education.

Role of Community Affairs

The Community Affairs Specialist is the liaison to the Clackamas County CPOs, providing information, referral and support, which includes:

  • Assisting in the official recognition of CPOs by keeping current bylaws, minutes, names and contact information of officers on file for the public;
  • Providing up to $150 annual reimbursement for eligible CPO activities;
  • Acting as a resource and referral for information about the county;
  • Assisting with formation or reactivation of CPOs;
  • Facilitating citizen involvement training sessions and may be reached by calling 503-655-8552; or by visiting the Public Services Building, 2051 Kaen Road, Public and Government Affairs, Oregon City.