In Happy Valley, police services are provided through a contract with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Department.
We have unique law enforcement needs, but we also have a tight budget. For that monetary reason and many others, we partner with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office for police services. The Sheriff has provided contract police services here since 1973, making Happy Valley the first law enforcement contract city in Clackamas County.
Through this partnership and annual contract, the City is able to maintain local control and identity for our police, and save money through the economies of scale. The City benefits financially by taking advantage of the service functions which a larger law enforcement agency can provide. This annual contract provides the dedicated police services that you see today.
When the City of Happy Valley was formed in 1965, it was a small City and received police patrols through the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office as part of a larger patrol district. At that time, the population was less than a thousand residents. Crime was fairly low, and the use of the Sheriff’s office on an informal basis served the needs of the City. The founding fathers wanted a low tax base, and settled on 67 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value. At that time, the City provided few services, with most being provided by the County.
The passing of Measures 5 (1990) and 50 (1997) were aimed to prevent rapid tax hikes, and resulted in capping the amount of property taxes that go to schools and other government services (general property tax). Due to these measures, Happy Valley general property tax is capped at 67 cents, which is not enough to cover general costs of City Services. This is why the City of Happy Valley is required to pass Serial Option Levies in order to maintain a dedicated police department.