Paul Savas: NCPRD making progress on several exciting projects
It is a very exciting time for the North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District! Founded over 30 years ago and serving over 100,000 residents in unincorporated communities and the city of Milwaukie, NCPRD has had many important developments over the past 12 months.
As a Clackamas County service district, NCPRD needs autonomy to better insulate it from county politics. Yet, over its 30-year history, the district has always been a division of another department. The county administrator has initiated a process that is putting the district on a path toward more autonomy.
We have hired a new director for NCPRD. His name is Michael Bork and he brings substantial parks and recreation experience and much more.
NCPRD's Advisory Committee has now reformed with new bylaws and equitable geographic representation. Each subarea has independently selected two representatives to help assure both local representation and district-wide attention, with one member representing community centers rather than a geographic area. The new Advisory Committee now has 11 members who held their first business meeting on Aug. 11, when they elected new chair and vice-chair.
We have made considerable progress and I applaud everyone who has been a part of these exciting changes. That includes all volunteers, the dedicated public, and the former District Advisory Board members, as well as district, county, and city of Milwaukie staff and elected leadership.
I also want to share exciting news on several projects within the district.
The Jennings Lodge Nature Park held a soft opening late last year! Thank you, Oak Lodge Water Services, for your leadership and partnership with NCPRD.
The Concord Library/Park and Gladstone Library are in the design and development phases and are both making progress with substantial engagement of local residents.
Lastly, the Milwaukie Bay Park Phase 3 design and development continues to advance. As recently as Aug. 12, NCPRD and city representatives had a very productive meeting to craft intergovernmental agreements that will move this project forward. This is a fabulous facility on the Willamette River and we are all very excited to see the project advance to completion of this next phase!
As the liaison to NCPRD, my responsibility is to provide accurate and timely updates to my district-board colleagues and to district residents. As one of the elected members of the Board of Directors of NCPRD, I and my fellow colleagues also bear substantial responsibility to follow all the legal requirements and statutes that affect the district, and ensure it is in statutory compliance. I hope all district residents will support these efforts while recognizing we rely heavily upon our staff to meet technical and financial requirements. It is unfortunate when technical difficulties lead to misunderstandings and misinformation.
Your patience and support is appreciated as we navigate funding challenges on all these park projects. Each has faced funding uncertainties from the beginning and recent escalations in construction costs has added another challenge. With the support of the community and the cooperation and goodwill of our elected leaders we can make strategic investments that best serve the residents of the entire district, especially the underserved.
Paul Savas is a Clackamas County commissioner who has lived within the boundaries of the North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District since its inception in 1990.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.