There is a 4.17-acre piece of property and a 3.71-acre piece of property both zoned rural residential in Clackamas County that have been used as heavy industrial land for over 23 years by Hal’s Construction.

Their neighbors and Clackamas County taxpayers have spent tens of thousands of dollars to address the use of these properties from 1991 through 2013. There have been five Clackamas County Land Use Applications, six Clackamas County Hearings Officer Appeals and one appeal to the Land Use Board of Appeals that taxpayers have helped pay for, all ending in the same decision... to limit the nonconforming use to a part-time hitch installation and vehicle-repair service out of a garage on one piece of property. On the other piece of property, they’re limited to a two-person hitch-repair service out of a shop, and storage of commercial vehicles and equipment.

For 23 years this business has ignored the neighbors’ complaints and the government’s decisions (that you paid for), by running a heavy industrial business that includes multiple unpermitted buildings (permanent and temporary), repair and maintenance of commercial trucks and heavy equipment, fuel storage, retail sales of vehicles, RVs and trailers, illegal electrical work, accumulation of solid waste, more than two full and one part-time employees; none of which is allowed by their nonconforming use.

After two decades of over 10 applications and appeals, a complaint was filed in 2010 with the County’s Code Compliance listing numerous violations. The company hired an attorney that spent two years sparring with the county, which resulted in some clean up and repair, but nowhere near compliance with the numerous uses outside their nonconforming use.

Now, after 23 years of complaints, in lieu of issuing a cease and desist order, and imposing fines for any industrial activity over and above their approved nonconforming uses, Clackamas County will continue to spend your money to consider an application to change the zone from “rural residential” to “rural industrial” in the heart of natural resources and residences. If and when Hal’s submits another application (they submitted one six months ago and then withdrew it because it was incomplete), it will first be heard by the Planning Commission, then by county commissioners, where written and/or oral testimonies will be allowed.

How is it that the county can find the resources to enforce the codes on a quiet, long-term resident who rescues and rehomes ferrets, but can’t seem to find the resources to support hundreds of citizens along Highway 213 who have endured the fumes and stench of diesel and asphalt; the noise of engines and the repair of commercial equipment; the runoff of oils, fuels and asphalts; and the unsafe congestion of large, slow trucks on a busy and dangerous hill on Highway 213? On Aug. 30, another letter was sent to the Board of County Commissioners asking that violations be addressed immediately. A memo from the Planning Commission on May 14, and a previous letter from the Hamlet on May 23 both asked the BCC to address the violations immediately (nothing happened). A call from an assistant to the commissioners responded on Sept. 5 saying, “the BCC cannot get involved in Code Compliance violations.”

Please visit, call, email or write your Board of County Commissioners and ask them to listen to citizens’ complaints, quit spending your money processing applications and appeals, and take responsibility by enforcing the county’s codes. Jobs and economic development are important, but let your commissioners know that so are accountability, livability, and the enforcement of our laws and ordinances.

Tammy Stevens is writing as the chairwoman, representative and spokesperson for the Hamlet of Beavercreek.

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