Mayor: 'We can finally say we have a college in Milwaukie'
For decades, Clackamas Community College has referred to its campus on Harmony Road as "Milwaukie" even though it was in an unincorporated area.
After a unanimous vote at a July 16 public hearing, Milwaukie's city officials officially pulled the Harmony Community Campus into city limits. The annexation was at the request of CCC officials and was championed by CCC board member Greg Chaimov, a former Milwaukie city councilor.
Harmony's inclusion in Milwaukie could be termed a "cherry-stem annexation," referring to the shape of the property entering the city. In order to annex the property, Milwaukie had to take over a large stretch of Harmony Road, running nearly a mile from Southeast Linwood to 80th avenues.
"Now we can finally say we have a college in Milwaukie," Mayor Mark Gamba said.
With two science labs, a computer lab, study space and a crime lab, Clackamas Community College's $21.7 million Harmony West building project was completed in 2018. It was funded through a 2014 voter-approved bond, as well as an $8 million match from the state of Oregon.
"It's a wonderful asset," said Milwaukie City Council President Angel Falconer. "Now that it's in the city of Milwaukie, I think we'll certainly find reasons to justify being there more often."
No taxes will be collected by the city as a result of this annexation. Clackamas County had assessed the value of the three properties in 2018 at about $26.2 million, but the county tax assessor's office has confirmed that, as a school, the properties are tax-exempt.
Clackamas County, which has contested recent cherry-stem annexations in Happy Valley, did not support the Harmony annexation. Milwaukie Planning Director Denny Egner said the city will have to maintain the section of Harmony Road, and other city departments will have a minimal financial impact.
"Police services may experience the greatest impact due to the need to patrol and respond to a site at the periphery of the city boundary," Egner said.
The building, adjacent to CCC's smaller Harmony East building, opened for the winter term in January 2018. Students who are in the college's allied health programs now can take all their courses on the Harmony Community Campus rather than commuting to and from the Oregon City campus.
The new facility allows CCC to grow its health science, work-force development and general education offerings. The college's Criminal Justice program also is now housed at Harmony West.
Harmony West replaced the 61-year-old former OIT/Dale Ickes Junior High building. It is three floors and totals about 43,000 square feet, featuring classrooms, labs, community event space and a bookstore at 7738 S.E. Harmony Road.
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