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City of Happy Valley's withdrawal from NCPRD

Overview

On Feb. 27, 2020, legislation (HB 4106) was enacted, withdrawing the City of Happy Valley from the North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District (NCPRD), effective July 1, 2020. As a result, Happy Valley will become its own parks and recreation provider, and NCPRD can move forward with certainty in its boundary and the ability to focus on providing services to its more than 100,000 remaining residents. 

Happy Valley and the County/NCPRD collaborated to develop the legislation as part of a settlement agreement to resolve a two-year legal dispute. This allows both parties to move forward from a legal stalemate and focus on building new parks and providing great recreation programs and services to their residents.

For background information about the dispute and settlement agreement, see the Timeline and FAQ sections.

Registration impacts for Happy Valley residents begin July 1, 2020

Happy Valley residents are no longer part of NCPRD effective July 1, 2020. All Happy Valley residents are welcome to continue using NCPRD programs and facilities, but are no longer eligible to receive discounted NCPRD resident rates and priority registration. 

The following will apply to Happy Valley residents (as they do for all non-residents of NCPRD) for any NCPRD admissions, programs or classes that begin July 1, 2020 or later:

  • A one-week wait period after registration begins, to accommodate NCPRD resident priority period  
  • Non-resident program and facility rates

If you are a Happy Valley resident who would like information regarding the city’s parks and recreation services, please contact the city at 503-783-3800 or info@happyvalleyor.gov.
 

What is NCPRD?

The North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District (NCPRD) is a service district of Clackamas County. It provides exceptional parks and recreation programs, facilities and services to more than 100,000 residents in a 36-square-mile area, including the City of Milwaukie and a large area of northern unincorporated Clackamas County including Oak Grove, Jennings Lodge, and Sunnyside.

NCPRD offers residents and visitors the use of more than 36 parks and natural areas, 15 miles of trails, the Hood View Sports Complex, the North Clackamas Aquatic Park, the Milwaukie Center and three former elementary school properties (Concord, Wichita, and Clackamas).

Citizens voted to create the NCPRD in 1990. Happy Valley residents voted to join the District in 2006, and in 2020 Happy Valley withdrew from NCPRD in order to provide its own city parks and recreation services.   

NCPRD has its own permanent taxing authority, with 54 cents of every $1,000 of assessed value dedicated to providing parks and recreation services in the community.

Frequently Asked Questions

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In June 2017, the Happy Valley City Council took action to attempt to withdraw from NCPRD in order to provide their own parks and recreation services to Happy Valley residents. However, it was later determined that the City did not follow appropriate state law in withdrawing from the District.

On Dec. 13, 2018 the Circuit Court ruled that the City of Happy Valley improperly withdrew from the District. 

On Aug. 16, 2019, a jury awarded the City of Happy Valley roughly $18 million in its claims that NCPRD had breached its original 2005 contract with the city for failing to complete certain projects.  The court added pre-judgement interest of over $3 million, putting the District at risk of paying $21.3 million to date. In addition, the interest would continue to accrue at 9 percent per year. 

To end several years of uncertainty and potential risks for both parties in ongoing litigation, the City and County approved a settlement agreement and collaborated to develop legislation allowing the City to withdraw from NCPRD. 
On Feb. 27, 2020, legislation (HB 4106) was enacted, withdrawing the City from NCPRD effective July 1, 2020. 

These efforts allow both parties to turn the page and focus on building new parks and providing great recreation programs and services to their respective residents.

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Settlement Terms

  • NCPRD pays the City $14.3 million (instead of the previously mentioned $21 million, including interest), from development fees. No District operating or general fund dollars are being used for this settlement payment. The settlement funds will come from the following:
    • $9.3 million is cash that by ordinance can only be spent within NCPRD Zone 3 boundaries.  This is the portion of the district that includes Happy Valley and the unincorporated area near the city.
    • $5 million will be paid from Hood View Park sale proceeds, attributable to development funding, including a $2 million contribution from the city for development of Hood View Park.
  • NCPRD will transfer ownership, liability and maintenance to the city of the following parks within Happy Valley:
    • Southern Lites
    • Village Green 
    • Ashley Meadows
    • NCPRD-owned Mt. Talbert parcels within Happy Valley* 
    • Mt. Scott Creek Trail
    • Hidden Falls Nature Park

The County and the City jointly supported legislation in the 2020 Legislative Session, which provided Happy Valley an alternative legal path to withdraw from the District. 

Now that the City has withdrawn, the resulting District boundaries will remain intact even if the City annexes parts of NCPRD territory in the future. This will prevent the District from losing potential multiple millions of dollars of tax revenue over time as the City grows and annexes more property.

*The majority of Mt.Talbert Nature Park is owned by Metro and will remain so. Most of this Metro property is within the City of Happy Valley, and thus will no longer be in NCPRD boundaries. NCPRD and Metro have a joint management partnership for this site. NCPRD will work closely with Metro to ensure that the public’s access to Mt. Talbert Nature Park will be unaffected. 

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The District no longer receives property tax revenue generated from properties in current City of Happy Valley boundaries and no longer provides NCPRD resident services and benefits to residents of Happy Valley. If not for this agreement, as the City continues to grow and annexes more properties, the District’s tax base would erode over time. However, the settlement agreement locks in the current district boundaries outside of Happy Valley, preventing this from occurring. 

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Due to years of legal challenges and uncertainties, many of NCPRD’s planning, budgeting and service activities were in limbo or delayed.  

  • The agreement provides the District with certainty regarding its boundaries and finances, and allows it to move forward to implementing programs, services and projects that have been on hold such as: 
    • Milwaukie Bay Park 
    • The future of the Concord, Wichita and Clackamas elementary school sites, and planning for additional parks and facilities in underserved areas of the District
  • This settlement allows our District Advisory Board to move forward in its regular work helping NCPRD meet the needs of the residents.
  • NCPRD is no longer responsible for managing and maintaining the 6 properties being transferred to Happy Valley, which will provide ongoing cost-savings to the District.
  • Finally, this settlement agreement ended costly litigation and saved taxpayer dollars. 
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The City and the County worked closely with key legislators to develop and support mutually-agreeable legislation. Both parties look forward to providing new parks and great recreation programs and services to their respective residents. 

  • NCPRD can focus its resources on important projects such as Milwaukie Bay Park and the future development of the Concord, Wichita and Clackamas elementary schools.
  • The settlement agreement allows Happy Valley to move forward in planning and provide its own parks and recreation services.   
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The District and the City sought a legal solution to the city’s desire to withdraw from the District for over two years. Happy Valley has grown rapidly since joining NCPRD, and City leadership wants to provide its own parks and recreation services.  

Continued litigation would have been a financial drain on the District and the services provided to the District residents. The Board of County Commissioners, in its role as the NCPRD Board of Directors, is committed to looking out for the best interest of all District residents, and therefore supported this settlement resolution to avoid potential further financial hardship on the District and its residents. 

Additionally, this resolution allows both parties the ability to move forward to provide their residents with parks and recreation services rather than be tied up in courts for years.   

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NCPRD residents may attend and participate in the monthly District Advisory Board meetings. Opportunities for public feedback are provided at every meeting on matters pertaining to NCPRD.  

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Timeline

Feb. 27, 2020 Legislation (HB 4106) was enacted, withdrawing the City from NCPRD effective July 1, 2020. 
Feb. 2020 HB 4106 was taken to the Oregon Legislature, where it was unanimously passed by the House and the Senate. 
Dec. 3, 2019 Clackamas County Board of Commissioners, acting as the Board of Directors for NCPRD, and the Happy Valley City Council approved a settlement agreement calling for legislation that would remove the City from NCPRD and resolve the legal dispute.
Aug. 16, 2019 On Aug. 16, 2019, a jury awarded the City of Happy Valley roughly $18 million in its claims that NCPRD had breached its contract with the city for failing to complete certain projects. NCPRD reviewed its legal options to determine its next steps, including a possible appeal of the judge’s original ruling.
Jan. 22, 2019 A judge ruled that financial damages, if any, arising from an earlier ruling that NCPRD breached the contract with the city to build parks, will be decided at trial.
Dec. 2018/
Jan. 2019

NCPRD held four public meetings in December 2018 and January 2019 for people who live in the District (Happy Valley, Milwaukie and unincorporated areas of North Clackamas County) and wanted to learn how this could affect them. View the latest presentation.

Read NCPRD’s letter to residents about the meetings.

Dec. 13, 2018 The Court determined that the City of Happy Valley had not followed Oregon law when it attempted to withdraw from NCPRD. The City was not allowed to act unilaterally to withdraw, but instead must follow the process in ORS 198 in which a petition is presented to the Board of County Commissioners to start the process.
Dec. 12, 2018 A hearing was held in Circuit Court in Happy Valley’s lawsuit on the form of Order on Summary Judgment. The court took the question under advisement to decide if, after the Court’s earlier ruling that NCPRD was in breach of the agreement, Happy Valley is entitled to damages at this time or if damages must be determined at trial in August 2019.
Dec. 5, 2018 A hearing on NCPRD’s Motion for Summary Judgment is held in the declaratory judgment action in Circuit Court on the question of whether Happy Valley’s attempt to withdraw from NCPRD was proper, or illegal and void.
Nov. 28, 2018 The Circuit Court denied a request by Happy Valley to dismiss a declaratory judgment filed by the NCPRD, Clackamas County, and the Clackamas County Assessor to decide the question of whether the City’s attempt to withdraw from NCPRD was legal.
Oct. 29, 2018 The Circuit Court denied a request by Happy Valley to dismiss a declaratory judgment filed by the NCPRD, Clackamas County, and the Clackamas County Assessor to decide the question of whether the City’s attempt to withdraw from NCPRD was legal.
Oct. 12, 2018 The Circuit Court denies Happy Valley's motion to consolidate the declaratory judgment action with the lawsuit seeking a share of the District's assets filed earlier by Happy Valley. This decision allowed for an earlier hearing on a Motion for Summary Judgment.
Sept. 19, 2018 The Oregon Tax Court rules that the Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR) exceeded its authority in rescinding approval of a boundary change sought by the City of Happy Valley during its attempt to withdraw from NCPRD. The decision invalidates the June DOR decision that rescinded the boundary approval and reinstates the DOR’s March approval of the boundary change.
June 19, 2018 Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR) rescinds approval of Happy Valley's boundary change. DOR determined that the City did not follow appropriate state law in withdrawing from NCPRD.
May 15, 2018 City of Happy Valley voters approve establishing a five-year local option levy for parks and recreation services with the same assessed tax rate as NCPRD.
Nov. 2017 NCPRD filed a countersuit against Happy Valley.
Oct. 2017 Happy Valley filed a lawsuit against NCPRD seeking a share of the District’s assets and substantial cash.
June 2017 The Happy Valley City Council voted to withdraw from NCPRD effective Dec. 31, 2017.

Contact

Questions or comments, feel free to contact NCPRD at 503-742-4348, info@ncprd.com, or visit their website.

Phone:503-742-4344

150 Beavercreek Road Room #419 Oregon City, OR 97045

Office Hours:

⚠ Due to COVID-19, our offices are closed to the public. At this time the closure is expected to continue through April 20. Our employees are available and working to meet your needs remotely.