On Monday, October 9th, 2017, the City of Happy Valley officially filed a complaint in Circuit Court against Clackamas County and the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District (NCPRD). In the lawsuit, the City is asking for the County to return the funds the City and County mutually agreed would be used exclusively for parks in Happy Valley. In addition, we are requesting the court provide a fair division of other district assets as required by state statute.
The decision to file a lawsuit against Clackamas County was not taken lightly by the City Council.
Earlier this year, on June 6th, the City Council unanimously voted to withdraw from NCPRD. The decision came after years of trying to work collaboratively with NCPRD to use the funds received from Happy Valley on local park projects as agreed to when the City joined the district. Twelve years after joining the district, the City has transferred over $17 million to NCPRD; yet, none of the park projects identified by NCPRD and the City have been completed.
In the four months since the decision was made to withdraw, the City has tried to negotiate with NCPRD to return the funds received from Happy Valley back to the City. The City would like to use the funds to provide the parks projects that were originally agreed to by NCPRD and the City. While we went into those negotiations optimistic and in good faith, they did not result in an outcome that was fair to the residents of Happy Valley.
As a last resort, the City Council determined the only way forward was to file an official complaint in Circuit Court. We had hoped our withdrawal from NCPRD could remain amicable and we are disappointed the terms of the agreement couldn’t have been settled out of court.
Despite this unexpected hurdle, the City is excited to become the parks and recreation provider in Happy Valley. We collected feedback from residents throughout the summer and that input is now being used to develop a Parks Master Plan and evaluate new recreation programs.
We live in an active community and we can’t wait to build more parks and playgrounds, extend trails, and offer recreation programs that make a difference to our community.
If you would like more information on the decision to withdraw from NCPRD or are interested in our draft Parks Master Plan, visit www.happyvalleyor.gov/parks.
For questions from the public, please contact Ben Bryant, Assistant City Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-783-3840.
Please direct media inquiries to Steve Campbell, Public Information Officer, Director of Community Services and Public Safety at email@example.com or 503-783-3818.