Registered voters will have the opportunity to elect the governing body of the Oak Lodge Water Services Authority at an Aug. 23 special election.
As expected on May 5, the Board of County Commissioners held a final hearing to approve OLWS's transition from a district to an authority, which will solidify OLWS's perpetual boundaries for providing sewer and drinking-water services for the unincorporated area between Milwaukie and Gladstone. Officials say that keeping OLWS boundaries in place forever will ensure that customers continue to receive water services at rates that are based solely on their cost, rather than being siphoned off into other functions of a city as the urban area eventually incorporates into its own municipality or is annexed into nearby cities.
"We're pleased to be able to provide the benefit of increased security and stability for our customers through this process," said OLWS Board President Susan Keil.
OLWS's Board has been seeking to reorganize OLWS as a joint water and sanitary-service authority since 2020, when Metro funded a study that concluded that it is "financially feasible" to for the Oak Lodge area to annex into the city of Milwaukie or incorporate a new city.
OLWS Outreach & Communications Specialist Alexa Morris said now that the county has approved the process for creating the authority, Metro and the Oregon Department of Revenue only have "ministerial roles" in completing their review.
"The county will be notifying the Department of Revenue of the new authority formation sometime before June 4," Morris said. "Metro will likely conduct its administrative review in July. The county will be publishing notice of the special election in mid-May."
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