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Support for locally elected North Clackamas parks board?

The Oak Grove Community Council at its Wednesday, May 22, meeting may vote to support changing the North Clackamas Parks & Recreational District to a locally elected board, replacing the Clackamas County Board of County Commissioners.

Proponents argue that only one of the five county commissioners lives in the NCPRD currently, and the commissioners have plenty of other issues to deal with. As a result, the business of the parks district often gets “short shrift” in county meetings, according to OGCC Secretary Jim Martin.

“The same goal can be accomplished through action of the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners,” Martin said. “This route would be more direct and therefore is preferred. However, if progress isn't made, we want to have the revised bill available in the 2014 session so that residents can go the initiative route, if necessary.”

Milwaukie Democrat and State Rep. Carolyn Tomei's House Bill 3455 could allow citizens to change the governance of county service district, but the bill wasn’t heard in the legislature since last month, so it appears to have died with about a month left in the session.

Parks Advisory Board Chairman Rob Smoot thought that the proposals would be worth discussing at the next PAB meeting on Tuesday, May 21, at 6 p.m. at the County Development Services Building, Room 119, 150 Beavercreek Road, Oregon City. There would probably be “lots of details to work out” before PAB could support any such change, however.

“That would certainly be worth discussing because the North Clackamas Parks and rural parks currently share some maintenance,” Smoot said. “They merged some services to save some money, so the question is whether this change would cost the county.”

-Raymond Rendleman