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Thelma Haggenmiller of Oak Grove: 'The only way to solve this impasse is to take the decision-making back from the courts and the lawyers and return it where it has been before - in the hands of all the NCPRD/Happy Valley citizens.'

After attending several community outreach meetings regarding Happy Valley's decision to withdraw from the North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District, I'm convinced the process has become mired in distrust and lawsuits for one simple reason. The citizens never voted on this decision.

Thelma HaggenmillerNCPRD was formed in 1990 by a vote of the citizens of unincorporated North Clackamas County and the city of Milwaukie. Happy Valley annexed to NCPRD in 2006 by a vote of the citizens of Happy Valley.

In June 2017, the Happy Valley City Council, not the citizens of Happy Valley, voted to withdraw from NCPRD. The citizens approved a ballot measure to transfer the 54 cents per $1,000 property-tax assessment they were paying to NCPRD to the city of Happy Valley for creation and maintenance of its own parks district.

What is wrong with this picture? The citizens are being left out of the discussion. Why is no one considering a vote of the citizens on this critical withdrawal issue?

That vote could be scheduled for the next special-district election.

The only way to solve this impasse is to take the decision-making back from the courts and the lawyers and return it where it has been before — in the hands of all the NCPRD/Happy Valley citizens.

I urge concerned citizens of Happy Valley and NCPRD to learn more and/or weigh in on this issue at two upcoming meetings that run from 6:30-8 p.m:

1. Tuesday, Jan. 22, at Rock Creek Middle School, 14897 S.E. Parklane Drive, Happy Valley

2. Wednesday, Jan. 23, at Rex Putnam High School in the Commons/Student Center, 4950 S.E. Roethe Road, Oak Grove.

More information is available at clackamas.us/ncprd/hv.

Thelma Haggenmiller is a resident of Oak Grove.

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