Parks and Recreation Update

Last month, the City took a significant step forward in our parks and recreation litigation. The Circuit Court ruled that Clackamas County breached the contract with the City of Happy Valley.

As you may remember, in October 2017, the City of Happy Valley filed a complaint in Circuit Court against Clackamas County and the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District (NCPRD). In the lawsuit, the City asked for the County to return development fees the City collected and transferred to NCRPD for exclusive use on park facilities in Happy Valley based on an agreement both parties signed in 2005.

On October 12th, 2018, in response to a motion filed by the City, the Court ruled that the agreement unambiguously required NCPRD to build four park facilities using the fees Happy Valley transferred to the District. The City argued that of the $17.5 million of funds generated in Happy Valley and transferred to NCPRD, approximately $13.5 million was designated for exclusive use on four projects described in the agreement between the City and NCPRD. Since NCPRD had not provided any of the parks by the time the District terminated the agreement, the Court found it to have breached the agreement.

The City looks forward to working with the County and the Court to return these funds back to Happy Valley. It is important to note that all of these funds came from Happy Valley, none are from Milwaukie or the unincorporated areas of the district.

There are a number of remaining issues between the City and County. The City is hopeful the County will come to the table to settle all unresolved aspects of the parks and recreation dispute. Clackamas County has consistently offered to support a smooth transition in parks services. However, the County recently filed another lawsuit against the City that could prevent the City from becoming the parks provider. With this most recent ruling, the City is hopeful the County will drop its opposition and work with the City to resolve all remaining disputes. This would allow the City to best serve the residents of Happy Valley while providing financial certainty to the rest of the district.

The City is excited to again, be one step closer to becoming the parks and recreation provider for Happy Valley.

If anyone have questions, please contact Ben Bryant at 503-783-3840 or benb@happyvalleyor.gov.