Clackamas County Commissioners statement on decision to table proposal allowing Happy Valley to add to area north of Sunnyside to city’s urban renewal plan

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The City of Happy Valley has asked Clackamas County to amend the boundaries of the county’s Clackamas Industrial Area Urban Renewal District in order to include areas east of SE 172nd Avenue north of Highway 212 in the city’s proposed new urban renewal district.

Clackamas County supports the city’s efforts to provide improvements for its east side residents, but is concerned that one of the most important community needs – for affordable housing – is not fully addressed in the city’s proposed urban renewal plan.

We are concerned that, while there is currently and is projected to be a strong regional need for diverse housing, not including more proactive measures in Happy Valley’s proposed urban renewal plan is a missed opportunity.  

The city’s urban renewal plan as proposed has three major project categories – transportation, acquisition, and plan administration and financing fees – with little mention of housing.  With the power of urban renewal to support diverse housing alternatives through permit buy-downs, capital investment and other means, we believe that this is an excellent chance to make progress that we cannot ignore.

The Board’s decision does not preclude the completion of road construction and other urban renewal projects in the area. Commissioners are studying ways to deal with an affordable housing shortage and the area of SE 172nd from Highway 212 could present a prime opportunity to provide jobs, housing and economic growth. We are working with all our local jurisdictions to address the housing crisis and develop integrated strategies for economic growth. 

We encourage the city to take advantage of this opportunity to work with the county to improve housing options for all residents. Commissioners look forward to partnering with the city on this and other areas of common interest as we move forward to provide a complete community.