A Message from the Mayor
Mayor’s Message – State of the City
I know we’ve all been focused on addressing COVID-19 the last several weeks. Prior to this global pandemic, I joined the mayors from Milwaukie, Gladstone, and Oregon City to discuss the state of our cities. This is an annual forum hosted by the North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce and I appreciate their partnership with Happy Valley and our neighboring cities. Since I know many of you didn’t get a chance to attend the event, I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts on what we’ve accomplished in the last year and what’s ahead in 2020.
First and foremost, as I’ve mentioned in a couple recent columns, we resolved our dispute with the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District. Even before my time as Mayor, this was my #1 priority. Starting in July, Happy Valley will take ownership of several parks in the City and be responsible for maintenance. In addition, the City will begin organizing recreation programs to meet the needs of our community. Finally, the City will receive $14.3 million to go towards park improvements and new facilities. Reaching a settlement agreement was a significant achievement this past year, but the work has only begun. I expect exciting things to come for parks and recreation in 2020 and beyond.
We also made significant steps towards improving our infrastructure this last year. Phase 1 of the Superblock Sidewalk Project is complete with additional phases still to come. Thanks to a partnership with Rotary, we completed the All Abilities Park Playground in Happy Valley Park. The Council also adopted the City’s first Urban Renewal District to begin collecting funds to widen 172nd Avenue, extend 162nd Avenue to the new high school, and many more transportation projects. These road improvements will take years to complete, but we got the ball rolling.
I was also very appreciative to the community for passing the Policy Levy with 78% approval. Thank you to my fellow City Councilors and the Traffic and Public Safety Committee for all the work they put into educating the public on this important issue. As a result of the levy passing, not only will we be able to continue providing police services, the City has already begun to add two additional officers.
Our Community Development Team has been hard at work engaging the community on a vision for the North Carver / Pleasant Valley Comprehensive Plan Area. As the City grows, it’s important to many of us that we don’t lose our small-town character. A Citizen Advisory Committee has been leading this effort and recently completed their work. This next year, the draft plan they developed will come to the Planning Commission and City Council for final approval.
Beyond our accomplishments this past year, I’ve been very impressed with our city events. The concert series in the park and the one next to the Library continue to grow in popularity. Our 4th of July, National Night Out, Harvest Festival, Tree Lighting Ceremony, and other events brought families together. The Library also continues to attract a record number of patrons. New this year, we added an Oktoberfest element to the Harvest Festival that was very popular. In addition, the Drive-in Movie Night was a success and brought back great memories.
To say it’s been a busy year is an understatement! The State of our City is strong. We have a lot on our agenda and I’m more optimistic now than ever before about the future of our community. I couldn’t do this alone. It takes a great City Council, dedicated staff team, and many wonderful volunteers. Thank you everyone for making this a wonderful city!