North Clackamas Parks launches proportional representation
Editor's note: Clackamas County has scheduled an informational community meeting from 7–8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 16 to be held over Zoom to raise awareness of, and explain recent changes to, the bylaws of the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District.
This is an opportunity for all interested parties to come learn about the five sub-areas of equal population within the district, through which residents in the unincorporated sub-areas will nominate their own area representatives to serve on the NCPRD District Advisory Committee (in the future, not at this meeting). Clackamas County Commissioner Paul Savas will attend this community-led meeting with other involved community members. All are welcome to come learn and ask questions.
Zoom registration info: HYPERLINK "https://northclackamasparksandrecreationdistrict.cmail19.com/t/d-l-ckrjjid-viryhlkyd-r/"https://clackamascounty.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_gWLpIbQrSTqML1BlD2mGzgWebinar ID: 815 5519 5373Telephone: 669-900-6833; 253-215-8782; 346-248-7799
"A love story between people and nature."
That's how a park in Turkey is described by its design team. Here in North Clackamas County, it's clearly a sentiment shared by many with regard to our parks.
During the pandemic, when many parks and green spaces were temporarily closed, people flocked in droves to the parks that remained open, especially during the warm season. Without a doubt, our parks and recreation programs serve a vital function and provide valued enrichment for our community.
Clackamas County recognizes that the unincorporated areas of NCPRD are park-deficient — by county standards and national standards. What is needed to remedy this is active participation by, and increased representation for, the residents of these areas. Now there's an opportunity for a new level of citizen engagement with our parks district, North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District (NCPRD). Residents of the unincorporated areas requested more voice — and the Board of County Commissioners responded.
Thanks to a District Advisory Committee (DAC) bylaws revision, there is increased representation for the unincorporated area's 83,000 residents to the District Advisory Committee (formerly the DAB). The DAC is the citizen body that makes NCPRD recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners in their role as the governing board of NCPRD. In addition, the new bylaws provide the option for residents to choose their own local representatives to the DAC, rather than have county staff choose them. This system hinges on the creative design of five district sub-areas, proportional in population using census tract data within NCPRD boundaries (this is similar to the way proportional legislative districts are created). The sub-areas are four unincorporated sections of North Clackamas County, plus the city of Milwaukie. NCPRD community centers — currently just the Milwaukie Center — also have a DAC representative. To maintain balance or reflect changes in the district, sub-area boundaries will be revisited on a regular basis.
In mid-December, the new system of DAC representation will be unveiled at a special Zoom town hall meeting to familiarize unincorporated area residents with the latest bylaw changes. It will also spotlight the citizens' role in partnering with our parks district to serve the community as a whole. At this kickoff meeting, a Sub-Areas Coalition will be launched to ramp up the unincorporated participation. Given the changes in the DAC representatives role, additional residents may consider applying to represent their sub-area on the DAC, if they have not already submitted applications to the county.
(Check for the DAC application period at web3.clackamas.us/abc/index.jsp.)
In early January, the first session of the Unincorporated Sub-Areas Coalition will put our new level of resident involvement into action. At this session, interested residents will meet and vote for candidates from their particular unincorporated sub-areas.
Once selected by their sub-area (and by appointed the Board of County Commissioners), DAC representatives will convey the needs and desires of the residents they serve to the NCPRD Governing Board. They will advocate for their sub-areas in the context of equitably serving all populations of the district as a whole. At monthly DAC meetings, changes and additions to parks, facilities and programs will be considered. Representatives will also update the annual work plan, evaluate distribution of funds and rework the bylaws as needed. Now that the DAC members can be chosen directly by the constituents they represent, all residents will have a strong voice in NCPRD matters. DAC members will solicit input from their constituents, as well as report on a regular basis to these constituents, effectively establishing a "two-way street" that supports a new level of public engagement.
You are invited to be part of this new collaboration, making North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District truly your parks district.
To be informed of future parks sub-areas opportunities and register your support, visit tinyurl.com/ncprddac.
Stay tuned: dates and times of the upcoming December Informational Update and Kickoff Town Hall meeting will be announced soon via the Clackamas Review, nextdoor.com, Facebook, Clackamas County website and email, and Citizens Informed & Aware email.
To keep up with your parks, sign up for the mailing list and we will send you an invite for these two meetings via your email address.
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