Sign petition to build parks in unincorporated Clackamas
Update: NCPRD Board of Directors (Board of County Commissioners) will meet to review the District Advisory Board's by-laws at 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 17. Tentative plans to hold this meeting in person at the Clackamas County Public Safety Training Center, 12700 S.E. 82nd Ave., given the governor's COVID-19 related directives regarding holding public gatherings, may give way to meeting virtually via Zoom.
It's time for the unincorporated residents to speak up for our investment as the 80% of the district residents in the North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District.
Over the last 30 years, I have been paying property taxes and watching our NCPRD revenues being diverted to other areas while local opportunities are lost. I just want to stop our losses and get our NCPRD's focus realigned as the "one district for all" with the local residents' advisory board we voted for.
Thirty years ago, Jennings Lodge — in unincorporated Clackamas County — was determined to be "park deficient" according to national standards and by Clackamas County. And, we the voters approved a ballot measure calling for the creation of a parks district to rectify this.
Today, other areas in NCPRD have great parks, but we are still "park deficient." Why did we lose out? How did we get off track? And more importantly, how can we get back on track?
One core issue: The ballot measure called for an advisory board of local citizens. Then, through a series of added inter-government agreements (IGA), many things have changed:
1. The composition of the citizen's advisory board became saturated by elected officials and special jurisdiction representatives.
2. The NCPRD changed from being "one district for all" to three separate "zones."
3. Instead of sharing district costs and funding, funds were withheld from eligible communities
4. Most importantly, the mantra became "No subsidizing areas of lower growth," instead of meeting the existing needs of the vast majority, unincorporated communities like Jennings Lodge, Oak Grove, Oatfield and Clackamas.
Don't forget, the original purpose of the Parks District Ballot Measure was to fix the problem of park deficient areas, i.e., Jennings Lodge! We don't fault the people in the other areas of the district who have gotten parks.
But essentially thus far, Jennings Lodge hasn't gotten the parks we were promised and have paid for.
So, where are our parks?
At our May 28 Jennings Lodge Community Planning Organization (CPO) meeting, we discussed how we went from the ballot measure's promises in 1990 which was to address the park deficiencies of Jennings Lodge.
It's time to remind the Clackamas County commissioners and the North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District (NCPRD) that we want our proportional representation and our promised parks.
An online petition has been created to let the county know the importance of:
1. Fairly representing the interests and needs of the 80% of the population in the NCPRD area who live in the under-served unincorporated areas and have paid $90 million in parks taxes over the last 30 years (73% of the total parks taxes collected); and
2. Fulfilling the originally stated intent in the approved Ballot Measure and ensuring that voting membership in the NCPRD Local-Control District Advisory Board is limited to local district residents, who are not representatives of governmental agencies.
You can help by reading, and if you agree- signing the petition at https://cutt.ly/nyX8NQh then clicking the green submit button. If you have friends, family and/or neighbors in the NCPRD district, please share this information and petition opportunity with them.
Don't forget. If you want to get back to what was promised to the people of unincorporated Clackamas County — what we voted on over 30 years ago — go to the Jennings Lodge CPO Facebook page to click and sign our parks petition.
Looking ahead, I am hopeful NCPRD, and the BCC, will continue moving in the right direction, building public trust through good government. They are poised with opportunities to step up for parks, and libraries, and transportation and housing. They could be the heroes for 80,000 unincorporated urban residents.
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